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Norwegian Countryside

by Tara

We woke up this chilly morning to the interminable call of seagulls and other goofy birds circling around the bay. While packing up camp, Tyler and I took turns photographing some of them. Here are the results:

Seagull Sea Bird

Having reached the easternmost point of Norway (Vardø), we turned around for a bit of backtracking. Our next destination: Nordkapp, the northernmost point in mainland Europe. On our way out of town, we stopped to talk to this man tending to his ship. Sadly, the language barrier was too great, and after lots of confusing charades, we settled on a handshake.

Norwegian Boats Norwegian Sailor

The first order of business was to stop at a gas station to fill up. The prices looked a little odd, but we didn't think anything of it. Until we tried to pay and we realized they use Norwegian Krones! We had just assumed Norway was on the Euro. Yikes! A very nice lady working at the counter was kind enough to let us pay for our gas with euro, making change in enough Norwegian Krone to get us through a day or two.

Prepared for another day of driving, we headed west, back along the coastal route we'd taken yesterday. We cranked the stereo and sang along loudly while we drove through the foggy landscape.

LRC in Foggy Norway LRC in Norway

On the outskirts of town, we stopped so Tyler could talk to one of the many fly-fishers we've seen lately. He reported that river was "hopeless" today, and happily agreed to a photo!

Norwegian Fly Fisher

Then, we continued, motoring along through lush green hills on cozy, mostly traffic-free country roads.

Norwegian Country Road

Just as we completed our back-tracking, the sun came out, and the Norwegian landscape shined in all its fjordy glory. It is hard to describe the sheer intensity of it all: the bright green hills sloping into crystal blue lakes, with picturesque red cottages nestled here and there… it was incredible.

Norwegian Landscape Norwegian Landscape

It reminded us of Scotland, only bigger and craggier and even more beautiful. Around every turn there were jaw-dropping views that easily rated among the most beautiful of our trip!

Norwegian Landscape Norwegian House

As we sped up and down steep hills with ease, we looked at each other and grinned sheepishly—this would be really tiring on a bicycle. We hoped Janka was faring well, wherever she was!

LRC in Norway (HDR) Norwegian Landscape

We stopped to take loads of photos, of course:

Tyler & His Belfoca in Norway

During the day, we passed many campervans, motorhomes and cars with tents parked in secluded areas. Norway is a free-camping haven! If you look very closely, you can see a single car of campers parked by this lake:

Norwegian Landscape

When we found our own spot nestled in the hills, we decided to call it a night. There, we started on our next photography project! A few weeks ago I posed the idea of doing a time lapse series of the midnight sun. We agreed that this evening's camp was just right to give it a go.

Since we don't have a tripod, we put our camera in a plastic bag and taped it to a heavy rock, which we in turn taped to the top of our car, under a book. Confident the camera wouldn't move in a strong breeze, or if slight adjustments needed to be made, we started it up with excitement, and retired to the tent.

Listening to the sound of our camera firing, we read and journaled until it was time to go to bed. Unfortunately, with the sun shining at full blast, our bodies weren't ready to settle down. Restless, we watched a few episodes of X-Files, and came to the realization that we are about done with this 24-hour sun business.

We both miss the routine so ingrained in our psyches: day is light, night is dark. Forever and always until the sun dies. Sleep eluded us for some hours until we finally dozed off, counting the hundreds of mosquitoes alight on our tent, their wispy legs delicately poised on the fine mesh, patiently lying in wait until we would emerge in the morning.