5 × 5 images from a Hurtigruten cruise

Two weeks ago I took the plane from Tromsø to Bergen. From there I would travel back to Tromsø by Hurtigruten together with my sister, my brother-in-law and my mother. My wife Annika would join us in Trondheim two days later.

22 May

There is still a lot of snow in the mountains on Tromsøya, Kvaløya, Senja and other islands I do not recognise from the plane. But in the lowland it is springtime.

I travelled with the Hurtigruten several times, but never south from Trondheim. We were not the only one’s boarding in Bergen. A lot of people use the Hurtigruten as a cruise ship, not as a possibility to travel from A to B. And there it lies, the vessel Kong Harald.

We have boarded round 18:00. At 20:30 we are departing and leave the town Bergen behind.

We are in sheltered waters and you hardly notice the ship moving beside of the motor’s vibrations. Even though Bergen is nine degrees south from Tromsø is does not get dark anymore.

The weather is cloudy but when the sun peeks through a holes in the clouds it looks beautiful.

23 May

One breakfast later: We arrive in Ålesund where the Hurtigruten will stay for ten hours. Time to explore this town which looks so different from the towns in the north. Ålesund has many Art Nouveau houses and “exotic” plants like azaleas are blooming everywhere. Together with my sister I climb the four hundred and something steps up the Aksla where we have an awesome view on the town.

We have also a view on the cruise ship AIDA prima. And beside of that – our Hurtigruten ship Kong Harald. It looks so tiny in comparison. I definitely prefer the small one.

I take a short stroll through town before I met the others. First I admire all the small Art Nouveau details on the houses, then I almost get a culture shock when I find this tunnel:

In the evening we circumnavigate the island Hessa, because the ship is “reparked” on the other side of Ålesund. After a very warm and sunny day clouds have been gathering. But the sun manages to send beams through the clouds.

Is this one of the life boats? I mean – a photo of one of the life boats? No, it is a photo of a reflection of one of the life boats. It is reflected in the glass facade of an office building by the port.

24 May

Where are we? In Trondheim. Yay! I was so looking forward to meet Annika there. She checks in, then we take a short stroll in town along the channel with the groundbreaking name Kanalen – the channel.

As in Tromsø there are Kittiwakes in Trondheim. They use to screech a lot – often to each other – but these two fellows seem to be a bit shy, at least in the minute where I took the photo.

At lunchtime we leave Trondheim behind. The shimmering sunlight is reflected by zillions of tiny waves. We meet commercial ships, fishing boats, two kayaks and sometimes a sailing boat.

On the port side there is the open sea. Blue sky, blue sea, a small skerry and a house. Wait, a house? Yes, it is erected on a floating raft. What you cannot see – it is part of one of the countless salmon farms located in coastal Norway.

I have moved into Annikas cabin. It has no regular window but two portholes. It is five to eleven in the evening and the sun peeks into our small but practical cabin.

And that’s the night where I get sick. That really wouldn’t have been necessary at all.

25 May

I am feeling ill and I sleep, I sleep and I sleep. I do not leave the cabin before 17:45 to take some photos while we are approaching the Lofoten islands. They look like mirages at the hazy horizon.

Round half past seven we are approaching Stamsund, passing rocky skerries and rocky mountains. Northern Norway, here we come!

At the harbour a graffito was sprayed or painted on the outer wall of the waiting room. Free high fives! For me however it was time to continue sleeping …

… but I got up at 23:15 again to see more from the Lofoten islands. Some of the mountains look like not being from this world.

The light got dim but it didn’t get dark. It’s the first day of midnight sun on the Lofoten. And it is almost midnight.

26 May

The reason for being up so late is that Kong Harald sails into the quite famous and very narrow fjord Trollfjorden. The landscape is impressive because the Hurtigruten is so near to land. – especially the mighty dark rock face in the north.

On our way back I spot a beautiful wave pattern. I really wonder how it was created.

Then it is time for me to sleep. And I sleep long. At lunch time I take some more photos. Now the landscape looks very familiar. No wonder, in an hour we will be in Tromsø, where I’ve been working for three years now. To my relief there is still snow on the mountain tops. It looks so nice.

The sky is still blue and the sea has been calm more or less the whole journey. There is hardly any wind but the flag is flattering in the airstream.

Round two o’clock we pass the southern tip of the island Tromsøya and then the new buildings on the eastern sea side.

After round 93 hours we are leaving the ship. My family checks into their hotel, Annika and I take the bus to my apartment which has become on of my two homes.

Cold drizzle and snow on the weekend

After a summer day on Sommarøya on Friday, the weather got colder again on the weekend and it started drizzling and raining. Both on Saturday and Sunday I took walks in the forest near my apartment. Ten days ago I still saw some cross country skiers, but now the season is definitely over, I think while I’m walking along the wet paths.

Yesterday it got colder and colder and drizzle became sleet. In the evening it started snowing and this morning at least five centimetres of fresh snow had fallen at temperatures round 1 °C. I took a small walk through the forest again – it looked quite different.

Today the wintry weather may continue and I won’t drive through the mountain valleys since my car has already summer tyres. Tomorrow warmer weather and sun will melt the snow  away.

Summer weather in Tromsø

10:30. I am sitting in my car on my way to Sommarøya – “The summer island”. The sun is shining and it is warm already. Today it is supposed to be 19 °C, much warmer than the last weeks (or months). The first photo stop, a parking place by the sea. Tussilago is blooming everywhere.

The road leaves the sea and leads through the valley Kattfjordeidet. The lake Kattfjordvatnet lies on 149 metres of altitude. Does not sound much, nevertheless it is high enough that most parts of it are still covered with ice. I like the open areas – small waterfalls and beautiful reflections.

The valley is 12 km long. I leave it behind and meet the sea again. And two locals – reindeer that know the traffic rules and walk on the other side of the street (or better said in the ditch).

Just before the tunnel Oterviktunnelen there is a parking place and shortly after a beautiful sandy beach. It looks so warm, but I didn’t measure the water temperature …

I am lucky, I find a nice shell, a “pelican’s foot”. Then I continue my ride and enter the tunnel. It is not long, just 607 m.

Almost wherever you stop there are nice places to explore, for example this tiny beach, less than ten metres wide. It is not far away from the bridge to Sommarøya.

From the bridge you can see a lot of small islands, many of them with sandy beaches. A kayakers paradise, although the weather can be pretty rough. But if you like challenges, take your boat, head west and after 1600 km you are in Greenland. ;-)

The last weeks I have seen three kinds of wild flowers blooming in and around Tromsø. (1) Tussilago – 17 April (always the first). (2) Dandelion – 26 April. (3) Oxlip (or another primula) – 8 May. Today I discovered two others. According to Pl@ntNet, which I use for identification a Goldilocks buttercup (91.2%) and a Purple mountain saxifrage (94.6%).

Would I find one of my favourites flowers as well – the Marsh marigold, which loves wet places and has an incredibly beautiful hue of yellow. Yes? I found some of them beside a small pond.

On Sommarøya I hardly took any picture, on the outer island Hillesøya I took a photo of one of the boat harbours. In my back an open door, a dark room and in there a man cleaning fish.

After taking lunch in the snack restaurant Havfrua (“The mermaid”) it was time to drive back. I chose the way round the south of the island Kvaløya and made some small stops. One at the ponds and puddles in a boggy area, which now are free of ice. Another by the church Hillesøy kirke, which is by the way not on the island Hillesøya.

And then the time came: 20 °C according to the car thermometer! Last time it was so warm here was last August.

I took another stop to take a photo of one of the mighty mountains on the other side of the strait Straumsfjorden. When I looked down into the deep water I spotted a shoal of fish. It was hundreds, probably thousands of fish resting in the shadow. The photo is heavily edited to make the fish more visible.

After a while I came back to more known areas – less than 30 minutes away from my “work flat” in Tromsø. I stopped at a small grave yard. Most tomb stones were free of snow, but those located in the snow drifts will have to wait a bit longer. Anyhow snow in the lowlands has become the exception. Even the bogs that tend to be cold are hardly frozen any more. And so I had to be quite cautious to avoid wet feet, when I looked for a good place to take a picture of that beautiful pine tree other there – the last photo for today.

Those of you that are not so familiar with Norway as a country may ask yourselves: Why did Olaf make an excursion on a Friday? That’s because today it is Constitution Day. On 17 May 1814 the Constitution of Norway was signed and this is the most important day of the year. Even through our street a marching band walked by and all people have their best clothes on – many of them the traditional bunad which shows, from which part of Norway they come from.

And so I shout out: “Gratulerer med dagen, Norge!” – Happy birthday, Norway!

Here is an article from 10 years ago: Syttende mai (German text).

Tromsøya between the seasons

Today I took a promenade on Tromsøya. In the beginning of May the island is between the seasons. Partly late winter, partly early spring. Some areas are free of snow while on others still a lot of snow covers the ground. Now it is time to look carefully not to break through the snow and fall into the next ditch.

Walking off the tracks can be exhausting, because the snow is often knee to thigh deep. Therefore I mostly followed the ski trails. They are not prepared anymore and get narrower and wetter …

… but as long as there is snow there are people to ski. At least a few.

Spring winter in Obbola

I’m sitting in the train travelling from Obbola, my “home home” to Tromsø, my “work home”. Normally the journey would have taken 18 to 19 hours but this train is four hours late. That will probably extend my journey to 37 hours including an overnight stay in Narvik.

The last days we had full vårvinter (literally “spring winter”) which is the transition period between winter and spring. Not only in my opinion this is an own season. And so it can look like:

Tuesday, 9 April

The weather is fine and calm. The drift ice that I paddled through the day before is mostly gone. I take another kayak tour to the islands Obbolstenarna and now also the sea is calm enough to circumnavigate the islands and the ice cap on the rocky shallow.

After the tour I continue my work in home office.

Wednesday, 10 April

It is raining at lunch time and the fog hides the horizon of the Baltic Sea.

Thursday, 11 April

The drift ice has come back over night. The day is sunny.

Friday, 12 April

In the village at lunchtime I spot the first Tussilago which always has been the first flower to bloom in vårvinter. And in front of a house I see some crocuses. It is +7.5 °C.

Some hours later I take a short and icy “farewell kayak tour”. It gets harder to find a good place to set in the kayak. And on the way back I was right when I doubted that the small ice floe would carry my weight. It didn’t. The ice has started to rot and then it’s not stable anymore even when 10 cm thick. So – be prepared.

We still have 50 cm of snow in the garden but round our rowan tree the snow has melted. The birds love to be there picking for food.

Saturday, 13 April

That’s today. I’m sitting in the heavily delayed train heading north. The forest ground and the bogs are covered with snow but the first patches of blueberry twigs are visible, too. It’s nice to see the landscape, but I’ll have a long journey ahead and I’m going to take a nap now.

The right timing for a small winter kayak tour

Friday afternoon

Yesterday Annika and I took a winter bath in the ice free bay Vitskärsudden, now it is snowing and the wind has blown back a lot of ice floes. Too unstable too walk on, too thick to paddle through. How shall we paddle kayak tomorrow under these conditions?

Saturday

In the morning the sun is shining and the ice floes are gone. I walk to the ice edge that is round about 200 metres from shore. The ice is stable. After breakfast Annika and I dress properly (warm clothes, dry suit, life jacket) and drag our kayaks to the ice edge.

We get into our kayaks on the ice and then hop into the water. Then we turn right and are calmly paddling following the coastal line to the bay Vitskärsudden. First we navigate through some larger ice floes and the usual rocks (our “underwater archipelago”). When we enter the bay a layer of fresh ice is in front of us. It is so thin, that we can paddle through it effortlessly. The sounds of the braking ice are fascinating.

We are not alone. Three other kayakers are further out while other people are taking a walk ashore. One of them took a photo that we found on Facebook:

After we paddle back we build up momentum and paddle right onto the shallow ice shield. We already can see our house – shortly later we are there, longing for a shower.

In the evening the wind has turned and ice floes are drifting back ashore.

Sunday (today)

Did we have calm weather yesterday? Well, not today. The wind is pretty strong and wet snow and sleet is falling from a white-grey sky. The horizon is hidden in the fog.

I take a promenade to Vitskärsudden again. The wind has filled the whole bay with small and large ice floes that wobble in the waves.

I am walking along the ice covered coastal line until I come to the open sea. Here the waves are throwing water, slush and ice ashore so that the shore is covered by metre high ice walls. This view is impressive, pretty arctic and also a bit frightening.

The waves are high and break early. It’s hardly imaginable that Annika and I had a fine and calm kayak tour yesterday. Good timing!

I have five other days in Obbola before I’ll head back to Tromsø. I’m quite curious whether I’m able to take another kayak tour. But today the weather looks quite promising.

Ski tour in Sweden – from Vistas to Lisas Stuga to Civilisation

This article is part of the series “2024-02: Ski tour Sweden”.

Day 12 – 9 March – Vistas—Lisas Stuga

Today is the last day of Annika’s and my ski tour. From Vistas we will follow the valley Visttasvággi to Nikkaluokta, where I have parked my car eleven days ago. We will however only ski part of it because the distance is round about 35 km. Too long for us on a single day.

After breakfast and cleaning we say farewell to our friend Dirk who is warden at Vistas for a month and follow the snowmobile track that turns left right after we have crossed the river. I’m glad that we can follow it since it crosses the river Visttasjohka many times and I feel saver to follow the track than to find our own way.

At one place there are two tracks in parallel. One track leads into an open patch of water, we wisely choose the other one.

We head to a small, old hut called Lisas Stuga. We were told that it lies by the scooter track and so we do not really have so seek it but just continue following the snowmobile track. After 11.7 km of skiing we arrive there at 12:30. We are half an hour early and so is the snowmobile driver that is here to fetch us.

We have never been here before and we take a look into Lisas Stuga which is tiny. The beds are definitely not my size at all.

Then we pack pulka, skis and Annika’s backpack on the back and hop ourselves into the front of the snowmobile trailer. Off we go. Although it is quite warm – perhaps round zero – it is nice to have the down parka to warm us, because the trip takes a while.

It is more than 20 kilometres and even if we had the fitness to ski this on a single day we think it would be pretty boring. The mountains get rounder, the valley broader and then there is a large lake to cross. And another one. And another one. Annika recognises a cabin by one of lakes and she is right. It is the last lake and we are there. Nikkaluokta.

While Annika pays for the snowmobile transport I check that my car is still there (it is). And then we enjoy the features of civilisation. And it’s not only about ordering lunch in a restaurant. It is also about washing your hands under running water. Hot running water. With soap! And dry them with paper towels.

Thank you Annika for a wonderful ski tour – our longest so far. I enjoyed every single hour.

Some days later …

I am back in Tromsø for work. It is the Friday after our ski tour. In the night it started snowing and round about five cm of new powder snow cover the street, where I live. That’s round about twice as much snow fall as we had on our whole ski tour ;-)

Now it is the week before Easter holidays. What will it bring? Rain and the first flowers? Or more snow?

Ski tour in Sweden – side trip to Nallo

This article is part of the series “2024-02: Ski tour Sweden”.

Day 10 – 7 March – Vistas—Nallo

After our break day in Vistas we have planned to go for a side trip to Nallo, a small STF cabin embedded in high mountains just nine or ten kilometres away. We will stay there overnight. The weather forecast looks great for today (sunny and calm) and ok for tomorrow (overcast but also calm). In the morning it was -13 °C but temperatures are rising quickly.

After breakfast we pack our things, but leave some items behind. We’ll be back tomorrow. Our friend Dirk who is stugvärd here accompanies us a bit then we start our ski tour. Then we continue alone up the valley Stuor Reaiddávággi.

We arrive at lunch time and make something warm to eat. This time no packet soup as usual, but trekking food (mostly powder). Quite ok, if you ask me. I manage to take a photo of the cabin in the sun, that shines here for less than an hour this season because of the high mountains in the south.

The cabin is an Abrahamssonsstuga (or Fjällstuga 65). This type of cabin has 21 places and was built a lot in the mountains between 1965 and 1973. It can happen that you hike the whole day to arrive at a cabin that looks exactly alike the one you left in the morning. However, I like them if there are not too crowded and this night we will be only six people (plus the stugvärd) sleeping there.

At dinner we eat trekking food again, this time another brand. That pulp was the most disgusting stuff I have eaten for ages and neither of us manages to finish the meal. Good, that we have chocolate left to cover the bad taste. After dinner another polar light is building up. First just a thin stripe like a spotlight, then it broadens. At the same time the first clouds have started gathering but are held back by the mountains.

Day 11 – 8 March – Nallo—Vistas

Oh, the weather forecast was correct. It is cloudy today. However we have an easy job today: Just skiing back the 9 (or is it 10?) km and loose 220 metres of altitude. Breakfast, packing, doing our cabin duties and off we go.

While Nallo was above the tree line Vistas isn’t. First there are single birth trees than birch forests. Back with the trees comes the animal life, mostly the ptarmigans that sometimes sit on a branch of a birch looking like big, fluffy snowballs. Not the best camouflage … . What we however do not see are the four moose. We will see them later from the cabin using a binocular.

And then we are at Vistas and the Sauna is almost ready.

After sauna Annika is preparing the farewell dinner. Dirk already had watered the dried potatoes, feta cheese and vegetable in the morning, now she is making frittata with porcini mushrooms. Delicious! Dirk contributes the dessert and we have a “gemütlich” evening together. It’s Annika’s and my last day in the mountains. Today we will reach civilisation again.

 

 

 

Ski tour in Sweden – Tjäktja—Alesjaure—Vistas

This article is part of the series “2024-02: Ski tour Sweden”.

Day 7 – 4 March – Tjäktja—Alesjaure

I may repeat myself but again we have sunny weather and blue sky at -6 °C. The only difference, it is windy today. It started last night when we were out to watch the Northern Lights and now the wind is blowing snow over the mountains and through the valley. While we are starting our tour we are having an impressive parhelion and a piece of halo right of the sun. I’m pretty sure that it isn’t created by stratospheric clouds but by the blowing snow.

We descend into the valley Alisvággi and leave the blowing wind behind us. Now sun feels warm but on the ice of the river system Aliseatnu the cold air still wins.

It takes some time until we can spot some of the cabins of Alesjaure. I can see them behind the rocky hill. No, they are on the rocky hill. I remember having tried to climb this turtle shell-like hill with skis and pulka years ago. I have learned my lesson, we walk up. And then we are welcomed by the warden with a hot and very sweet juice. We chat for a while (we have met once years before) and then Annika and I sit on the reindeer skin lying on the bench by the table and take an outdoor picnic. We may choose a room because we are first. We enjoy the weather, inside and outside. Later, after dinner we will head for the sauna.

I thought it would be extremely crowded here but we arrived on the right day. Yesterday: 40 guests. Tomorrow: 50 pre-booked guests. Today: 11 :-)

Day 8 – 5 March – Alesjaure—Vistas

Today is a special day. We do not take a break day, we continue to Vistas where our friend Dirk is currently warden. With 18 kilometres it is the longest distance on our ski tour this year and I was a bit afraid that it could get tough. Is there a track? How is the snow? Therefore I have urged Annika into raising up ridiculously early. We have the large kitchen for us while ptarmigans are hopping and clucking outside of the windows.

The sun starts to illuminate the highest mountain peaks, soon we will have sun as well. 7:05 (sic!) we start our tour.

… and get a little lost. We navigate by eye and sync the stones marked in red with the summer trail on our map. Anyhow it doesn’t fit. The GPS helps and now we know where we are. While finding a good route to get more north were we assume the correct route to be we realise that the summer markers are all over the place. Not helpful! Our assumption was correct, there is the unmarked winter trail. It is obvious, because now we see snow mobile tracks, ski tracks, pulka tracks, boot tracks, snowshoe tracks. I guess we won’t have any navigation challenges anymore today.

We cross the first lake Bajip Čazajávri and the second lake Vuolip Čazajávri, then we stand at the “abyss”. The steepest part of this declining slope falls 50 metres on 200 metres and we both decide to unmount the skis. Beside of a patch of soft snow the snow is good to walk on.

Now we are in the beginning of the valley Visttasvággi which will gently descend for the rest of today’s tour. And since it descend we leave the barren kalfjäll and meet the first birch trees, the first ones since a week.

The next hours we will ski in the sun. The hot sun. First I take off my jacket, then cap and gloves, then I roll up my sleeves. Finally I put on the shirt’s hood again, not for cold but for sun protection. Some photos from the tour:

Moose droppings are not the only animal tracks we see. There are the typical deep moose tracks, the smaller reindeer tracks, countless ptarmigan tracks (both feet and feathers) and a special track – like a fox on snow shoes. This was the description of the Sami on Sälka when he described wolverine tracks. The wolverine track follows the trail for a long time and watching it is pretty exciting.

The wolverine tracks are special, since these animals are rare. Only round about a thousand wolverines live in Scandinavia. But I love the ptarmigan prints as well. They often seem to tell stories.

My titles: 1. Zen garden / 2. Hieroglyphs / 3. Salsa party

After some hours of sun we finally come into the shadow. Almost a relief. Now it is not far anymore to the Vistas cabin, which is not part of the famous Kungsleden trail since it lies in a side valley. Skiing there was much easier then I expected and we had a faster pace then on the preceding shorter distances.

Dirk has seen us already and welcomes us outside with two cups of hot juice. Later we get an incredible five star afternoon snack. It consists of two surprises. First surprise: We found cookies in the leftover food in the kitchen cupboard! Two sorts, one of them with chocolate. That has never ever happened to me before and I hardly can imagine why people should leave cookies behind. I won’t! Anyhow I’m grateful. Second surprise: Dirk does not only invites us to coffee but also to Christmas stollen, a traditional German Christmas cake. It is never too late to eat stollen. Thanks, Dirk, for sharing it with us!

After dinner – Dirk invited us again – I just walk around to take photos. A faint polar light can be seen but it is nothing compared with the last days, especially the night in Tjäktja.

Day 9 – 6 March – Vistas

Today is the fourth and last break day we take on this tour. Are we lazy? Yes and no. Annika is sawing logs, I am chopping the wood (not my best day though). I fetch water from the river by lowering a bucket from the bridge into a patch of open water. The ice on the river is not save. But we also sit outside reading and I am using the short period where the sun shines on the cabins (yes, another fine day) to take some photos.

Tomorrow we will ski to Nallo and stay there over night, then we will come back to Vistas.

Ski tour in Sweden – Sälka—Tjäktja

This article is part of the series “2024-02: Ski tour Sweden”.

Day 5 – 2 March – Sälka—Tjäktja

It is our second morning in Sälka. The night was quiet – no storm, no snow. That’s quite a bit of luck for the travel group that left pulkas and skis on the ground without even thinking about finding shelter for their equipment.

Today Annika and I will have a short distance to ski. It’s only twelve kilometres to Tjäktja but we have to cross the Tjäktjapasset which is pretty steep. 8:15 – we say goodbye to the warden and his friend and follow the undulating terrain north. We can already see the pass in the distance. It is still 8 km away.

The terrain is still undulating but it slowly changes. First we skied up and down, now we ski up or straight ahead, a sign that the terrain starts to rise.

Ah, I love my pulka. Most of the time I can pull it effortlessly over the hard snow, although there is a lot of food in it and a tripod and safety equipment and two down jackets and other clothes two sleeping backs and more. But when I have to climb steeper passages I realise that both my fitness and my strength could be better. So at the pass I have to take small breaks to catch my breath. The next photo is taken by Annika and long before the steep passage where we were too occupied to take any pictures.

Each of us climbs up in his/her own pace.

But then we are on the edge of a platform where I just must look back. 19 years ago on my very first ski tour I stood there and was completely flabbergasted when I looked into this valley Tjäktjavagge. And so it still is today. We stand there for a while before we continue skiing further up the pass.

Whew, that was exhausting, but now we are on 1100 m, the highest altitude on our tour. Time to take a rest at the shelter. No photos, just some tea and nuts before we continue. Now it only goes down, down, down and we remove our climbing skins. Soon Tjäktja comes into view. It is smaller then the other cabins on the Kungsleden. To our surprise we are the only guests tonight.

Day 6 – 3 March – Tjäktja

The weather on this tour has been extraordinary well and today we have another sunny day with blue sky. We are staying at Tjäktja and after breakfast we start our “duties”. The stugvärd (warden) is sawing logs, I am chopping wood. And then Annika and I take two empty canisters to fetch water. This means we have to go down to the frozen river where there is a hole and some tools to crush the ice. We have heard that the ice was very slippery and so we put on our spikes. Good choice.

The first container I pull up the snowy slope. Yes, it works but it is pretty exhausting. The other container Annika drags over the ice. I fetch the first container and we pull both back to the cabin. Well – pull … . It is a bit like walking puppy dogs. Twenty kilo puppy dogs. The containers stay behind, hurry ahead, bump into each other and then leave the path again. But finally we “walked” them home and have 40 litres of fresh and ice cold water from the river Čeavččanjira.

I go down to the river again to take some photos. I like the bridge and the icy area beneath.

But what I really love is the huge snow drift hanging there near the now frozen and invisible waterfall. I crawl in more and more until I can make the last of the three photos from my private “snow cave”.

Resting days are made for – well – resting. We are reading and taking a nap while other guests arrive. Slowly the sun is setting and the colours on the mountains go pink.

Time to cook and eat something. Right after dinner a beautiful polar lights have formed, although the sky is still kind of blue and not black yet. What a luxury to see it so early.

The northern lights are lasting for hours and are everywhere. Annika and I are standing there for a long time together with two people from Switzerland. Every now and then I leave to take photos. And more photos. It is an incredible experience to see the aurora far away from the light pollution of the cities. This is an extremely beautiful moment and this evening which marks the first half of our ski tour is a perfect end of the day.

Yes. The northern light continues, but the photographer has to catch some sleep. God natt. Good night.