Norwegian summer journey I

This article is part of the series “2021-08: Northern Norway”.

Annika and I have two weeks holiday and are travelling through Northern Norway. Our southernmost point: Lofoten, right now we are in Hammerfest.

Ten images looking back:

10 – We are on the high plateau Sennalandet. There are hardly any trees and the road E6 crosses the plateau in a straight line. I can imagine how rough and lonely this place may be in winter.

9 + 8 – The Øksfjordjøkelen is definitely worth the 16 km detour. The parking place and the small path leading through the sparse birch forest grant impressive views on this glacier. When the weather is clear.

7 – It’s grey on our passage from Andenes, Vesterålen to Gryllefjord, Senja. I stand on the top deck of the ferry and wonder how many tourists may have rung this bell and what had happened then.

6 – We just left Andenes by ferry. The razor sharp mountain line of Bleik will soon transform into a whitish grey scheme slowly vanishing in the drizzle.

5 + 4 – It is grey on our short ferry passage from Fiskebøl, Lofoten to Melbu, Vesterålen, too.

3 – One of the typical features of the Norwegian landscapes is the presence of high summits and fjords. Sometimes the mountains are reflected in the water surface of the sea.

2 – Hauklandstranda is one of these incredible beaches on the Lofoten islands with white sand and turquoise water. The sun is shining – time for a bath. Air temperature 11 °C, water 12 °C. Not as cold as expected.

1 – We pass Sildpollnes kapell on the Lofoten twice. Once on our way south and once when heading back again. There’s a parking place by the road where stairs and ways lead up to some hills that present a view over the landscapes around.

0 – On Saturday I leave Tromsø to fetch Annika from Riksgränsen train station in Sweden. It’s still not possible to travel further to Narvik by train. Our destination today: a room in Tjeldsundbrua.

A Saturday road trip

This article is part of the series “2021-07: Back in Tromsø”.

A new used car and a sunny Saturday – off I go for a road trip.

km 29.5 – Isaksens Kiosk

In Fagernes I leave the E8 and take the 91 through a valley between the mountains. Before that I stop at Isaksens Kiosk and buy something to drink. Some other cars park here, too. Mostly it’s families that stop to have some ice cream.

km 41.1 – road 91

The mountains in Northern Norway are impressively massive and sometimes you cannot imagine that the road continues somehow. But some do …

km 51.9 – view on the Lyngen Alps

… and so does the road 91. A small part of the rugged Lyngen Alps comes into view.

km 53.5 – Breivikeidet Fergekai

I continue the 91 but soon the road ends. Not because of the mountains, but the fjord Ullsfjorden. The weather is warm and sunny and I am waiting for the ferry to Svensby.

On the ferry

For me even a short boat trip makes a single day to a holiday. I just love standing outside (in every whether), look at the waves and watch the slowly changing landscape.

km 60.7 – Nyheim

Just a Norwegian house and a barn. And a pasture. And a fjord in the background. And mountains behind. Beautiful even without the sun, that has been covered by a layer of clouds.

Would I want to live here? No, it’s too far away from Tromsø and other towns.

km 75.3 – Lyngseidet

It already half past two – time for a late lunch break. When you travel through Northern Norway and want to eat something warm it will be pizza or burgers in most of the cases. It you are not Norwegian you will find it incredible expensive, but so is food, cars, housing and almost everything else.

The burger costed 189 NOK (18 Euro) and was really tasty.

Here the road 91 continues – as another ferry to Olderdalen. I however take the road 868 heading south.

km 83.5 – low tide

The Lyngen Alps are more impressive as seen from the west but I like the shallow waters of the fjord Lyngen, too, especially in low tide.

km 113.9 – Badjánanluokta

Another tidal flat, more reflections. There are few things that I consider as relaxing as strolling along the shore of the sea.

Anyhow, it’s already 5 o’clock in the afternoon and I have at least another 100 km to go until being back. So no more photos until …

km 203 (or so) – Extra Tromsdalen

At the Extra supermarket I buy some food for the evening and the next day. In opposite to Sweden the supermarkets in Norway are closed un Sundays. Then I cross the road E8 by foot and soon stand by the shore of the Tromsøysundet where I have a look on Tromsø (including my workplace) and the large bridge crossing the sound.

Round 15 minutes later I arrive at my temporary home in Tromsø.

In Norway it takes time to go by car. I should have learned that by now but still I underestimate how many hours it takes to travel when you want to take some stops. Next time I hopefully will start earlier – this day I didn’t start before 11 o’clock.

 

Afterwork car trip

This article is part of the series “2021-07: Back in Tromsø”.

Yesterday after work I started the weekend with a “scouting expedition” by car. I drove over the bridge Tromsøbrua and took the way to Oldervik. On the way I stopped several times to get to know Tromsø’s surroundings and to look for photo motives.

Some photos from yesterday: Common cotton grass and some mountains from the Lyngen Alps.

Back in Tromsø

This article is part of the series “2021-07: Back in Tromsø”.

After eight months of home office home I travelled back to Tromsø last Saturday to continue working at the Norwegian Polar Institute. My wife Annika has joined me for a week and I took some days off. Yesterday she travelled back to our home to Obbola. Tomorrow my Tromsø everyday life starts –at least for three weeks, then Annika and I will meet again for a two week vacation.

Sunday, 25 July

A grey day, a foggy day. Good for relaxing after a long journey from Sweden with train car and bus, that took eighteen hours.

Monday, 26 July

My first working day onsite since 20 November 2020. My boss has bought suksessterte (success cake) to celebrate my return. The seagulls have occupied my windowsill.

Tuesday, 27 July

Annika and I planned to hire a car for a trip, but none of the car rentals have free cars. Instead we are looking for a 2nd hand car for me. We find an old Subaru XV and may test drive it for 24 hours! Road trip to Sommarøya. Lunch at the hotel, watching private kayak lessons at one of the many beaches. Realising that the car fits onto my small parking place.

Thursday, 29 July

After work (well, after lunch) Annika and I take the bus to Tromsdalen on the other side of the sound Tromsøysundet. Here we use Sherpatrappa to hike up the mountain Storsteinen. Sherpatrappa is a stone staircase with 1203 steps built by Nepalese mountain road workers and finished in 2019. Then we hike to the summit of the mountain Fløya (671 m a.s.l.). After a break we return to the mountain station and enjoy our dinner in the sun. Then we walk down the stairs again. My knees are sulky, but that’s worth it.

Friday, 30 July

After lunch we fetch my car that I bought on Wednesday. Not the Subaru XV, but a three year old Suzuki S-Cross. After that we take a road trip to Tromvik and Rekvik on the island Kvaløya. And – oh – it’s so beautiful at many places here! Personal highlight: the two relaxed reindeer at the beach.

Saturday, 31 July

Farewell Annika! Now we are separated by at least 930 kilometres but fortunately for only three weeks. After I farewell Annika at the airport I drive to a parking place on the island Kvaløya and take two promenades. One at the beach, one over the bogs. The variety of landscapes is so impressive.

Sunday, 1 August

After a more or less lazy a short trip by bus to the center of Tromsø. The Indian restaurant is fully booked, but the sushi restaurant has place. 12 bits 189 NOK. Regular Norwegian prices. On the way there I find this narrow shortcut. Old dustbins, but a photo exhibition.

Three summer days in Råneå

(Oops, I’ve become lazy with blogging. This happened already a week ago!)

Last week Annika and I used our one-week holiday to visit friends in Råneå – 300 km from home, 100 from the Finnish border. Three days – three sections.

Thursday – getting wet

After a sunny morning a large cloud front approached Råneå, bringing thunderstorms, heavy rain and hail. It was short-lived and probably only some strawberries were harmed. (Or was it a snail that tasted them?). In the afternoon it cleared up and we spent some time by (and in) a bathing lake.

Friday – kayaking

We had booked the day before. Four kayaks (three single, one double) and a canoe. On tour: four children between 5 and 13 and five (more or less) grown-ups. We have booked for three hours and decided to paddle through a small creek and then take the Råneå river back to the boat rental by the sea. I have paddled quite a lot on the sea but hardly on rivers, streams or creeks. A great experience!

Saturday – open air concert

Annika and I had heard Daniel Wikslund before. On this day he played two open-air concerts in Överkalix – the first one on a large wooden raft on the river Råneälven. It was wonderful to listen to his folk-inspired music from the a small jetty, the water or even from the raft. It was his first concert since February 2020 due to the covid  restrictions. Hard times for musicians!

You see the wooden keyboard instrument? That’s a pump-organ (Swedish: tramporgel). We’re lucky to have such an instrument in our house soon. Today we’ll meet friends that will help us with the transport from the previous owner’s summer cottage by the sea up the hill to the gravel road and then to our house. Wish us look, that the transport succeeds.

A short promenade to a near swamp

Spåret is a fantastic motion trail just some 100 metres from here. It is 3.6 km long and good for skiing (if not too much snow), running and going for a walk. It leads through forests, over large granite rocks, over sandy bottoms and passes some small swamps. When I walked there with Annika last weekend I spotted some beautiful pond-lilies. Today I took a hike there to take some pictures.

The mosquitos and horse flies appreciated that.

From top to bottom, from left to right:

  • Sundew, a carnivorous plant. Can grow directly on mud.
  • Heath spotted orchid. Protected in Sweden and other countries.
  • Cloudberry, a berry growing on wet ground. Rich in vitamin C. Guarded by mosquitoes …
  • Sphagnum (or peat moss), the main building bog of peat bogs.
  • Cotton-Grass, a sedge that looks like wool. Loves wet ground.
  •  European white water lily, an aquatic plant with blossoms of great beauty.

The flower thread II – June 2021

This is post number  two of ny little hobby project: Looking for new flowers on bloom.

The most photos I made through a cheap magnifier because my macro lens is in Tromsø – out of reach for me here in Sweden. This explains the colour fringes, reflections and other artefacts on many of the photos.

I used the website Pl@ntNet identify for the most flowers for identification. Some classifications were done manually, so there is no guarantee that the names are correct.

The rules:

  • I check only flowers on our property and the marshland between our property and the sea.
  • I do not differentiate between wild and domestic flowers.
  • I do not wait for the most beautiful blossom. I just make a photo of the first occurrence.

The statistics:

New flowers in April: 1 — New flowers in May: 19 — New flowers in June: 39

The flowers in June

4. June: Globeflower | Trollblume | Smörbollar | Ballblom – small wildflower meadow by the house
4. June: Buttercup | Hahnenfuß | Ranunkel | Soleie – amidst the strawberry field
4. June: Iris (Dwarf iris?) | Schwertlilie | Iris | Sverdlilje – on top of the left stone wall

7. June: (Common) Sorrel | Sauerampfer | Ängssyra | Engsyre – by the house
7. June: Moss phlox¹ | Polster-Phlox | Mossflox | Vårfloks
7. June: Wood crane’s-bill | Wald-Storchschnabel | Midsommarblomster | Skogstorkenebb – behind right stone wall

8. June: White clover | Weißklee | Vitklöver | Hvitkløver – between the grass on the lawn
8. June: Garden strawberry | Gartenerdbeere | Jordgubbe | Hagejordbær – strawberry field
8. June: ? – behind the sauna

8. June: Small cow-wheat² |Wald-Wachtelweizen |Skogskovall | ? – behind the sauna
8. June: Cow parsley | Wiesen-Kerbel | Hundkäx | Hundekjeks – behind the left stone wall
8. June: Moss phlox¹ | Polster-Phlox | Mossflox | Vårfloks

8. June: Lesser spearwort(?) | Brennender Hahnenfuß | Ältranunkel | ? – small wildflower meadow by the house
9. June: Ashy cranesbill | Grauer Storchschnabel | Silkesnäva | ? – by the guest cottage
9. June: Field forget-me-not³ | Acker-Vergissmeinnicht | Åkerförgätmigej | ? – behind the sauna

11. June: ?
12. June: Alpine knotweed | Alpen-Knöterich | Alpslide | ? – by the stone/greenhouse
12. June: Lupin | Lupine | Lupin | Lupin – by the stone/greenhouse (destroyed, since it is an invasive weed)

12. June: Columbine | Akelei | Aklej | Akeleie – by the stone/greenhouse
13. June: Marsh Pea | Sumpf-Platterbse | Kärrvial | Myrflatbelg – behind stone wall
13. June: Germander speedwell |Gamander-Ehrenpreis | Teveronika | Tveskjeggveronika – in front of left stone wall

13. June: Red clover | Wiesenklee | Rödklöver | Rødkløver – by the bbq place
13. June: Thyme-leaved Speedwell | Quendel-Ehrenpreis | Majveronika | ? – in front of left stone wall
15. June: May lily | Zweiblättrige Schattenblume | Ekorrbär | Maiblom – behind the sauna

15. June: Lily of the valley | Maiglöckchen | Liljekonvalj | Liljekonvall – in front of left stone wall
15. June: Common yarrow | Gemeine Schafgarbe | Röllika | Ryllik – between the grass on the lawn
19. June: Bird vetch | Vogel-Wicke | Kråkvicke | Fuglevikke – by the bbq place

19. June: Bloody crane’s-bill | Blutroter Storchschnabel | Blodnäva | Blodstorkenebb – between the grass on the lawn
19. June: Hawkweed | Habichtskraut | Hökfibbla | Sveve – gravel by the garage
19. June: Norwegian cinquefoil⁴| Norwegisches Fingerkraut | Norsk fingerört | ? – behind the sauna

19. June: Grasslike Starwort | Gras-Sternmiere | Grässtjärnblomma | Gresstjerneblom – miscellaneous places
19. June:  Meadow vetchling | Wiesen-Platterbse | Gulvial | Gulflatbelg – behind stone wall
23. June: Common speedwell | Echter Ehrenpreis | Ärenpris | Legeveronika – between the grass by the house

24. June: Cuckoo flower | Kuckucks-Lichtnelke | Gökblomster | ? – wetland by the sea
24. June: Marsh-bedstraw | Sumpf-Labkraut | Vattenmåra | ? – wetland by the sea
24. June: Tufted Loosestrife | Straußblütiger Gilbweiderich | Topplösa | Gulldusk – wetland by the sea

24. June: Poppy | Mohn | Vallmo | Valmue – by the garage
24. June: Valerian | Baldrian | Vänderot | Vendelrot – by the bbq place
26. June: Biting stonecrop/Wallpepper | Scharfer Mauerpfeffer | Gul fetknopp | Bitterbergknapp – by the garage

___

Names are in English, German, Swedish, Norwegian. The name can be the species, family or genus. Especially in English there are many different names.

¹ or another phlox
² or common cow-wheat
³ or another forget-me-not
⁴ or another cinquefoil

Different ways of kayaking

Since Annika doesn’t have a kayak yet I use to paddle alone. Mostly it’s short tours as for example the day before yesterday. I paddled to the beach Bredviks havsbad to join the yoga group at 8:30. To my surprise it’s shorter to paddle than to take the bicycle or car and so I was 20 minutes early.

After yoga I took a small tour – first north and then along the coast of Obbola.

Then I took an early lunch at the boat harbour since I didn’t had any breakfast. The kiosk there has not only hamburgers but tasty dishes as hummus or ćevapčići and Annika and I eat there quite often. After lunch I slowly paddled home. Slowly, because (a) being stuffed with food, (b) being lazy and (c) the increasing wind from the front.

Yesterday afternoon Annika and I got guests. Corry and Mark from Germany have written on Facebook about the difficulty of finding good tenting places at Västerbottens coast. They have been on a long kayak tour that they started in Haparanda four weeks ago. A common friend commented on the post asking us whether we wouldn’t have a nice meadow for tenting in our garden. Well, we have, and we even have our own little guest house, that Mark and Corry gladly accepted after they had arrived here yesterday afternoon. Last weekend Svitlanda and Ebbe (almost) came by sailing yacht, now we got our first guests that landed by sea directly at our house. It’s fun to live by the sea!

We had a nice evening together with outdoor cooking over open fire and inspiring conversations yesterday. This morning Corry and Mark continued their sea kayak tour. I had the honour to join them a bit.

At 8:15 we started by setting in the kayaks and paddling south. Since they have inflatable kayaks they have to be more careful of rocks and shallows. So we paddled further away from the coast than I use to do. I got some technique tipps about paddling more effortlessly and I really enjoyed the company.

Anyhow I decided to say farewell after an hour. Mark and Corry started crossing more open water and I wouldn’t dare to return the same route alone. Thanks a lot, Corry and Mark for nice company!

While the adventurers headed for the horizon I circled the island Tarv and slowly headed back. To my amazement the whole tour took only 2½ hours; I’ve miscalculated.

Now I know, that there are many destinations to be discovered by kayak and that they are not far away. It’s fun to live by the sea!

Splendid Sunday sailing

It was last winter that Annika and I met Svitlana and Ebbe first. They were the wardens of the Gåsen mountain cabin in the mountains of Jämtland where we went on a ski tour. When they heard that Annika lived in Umeå they told us of their sailing trips and that they know the boat harbour in Obbola near Umeå.

Five months later. Annika and I have been living together in our freshly bought house in Obbola for three months. We already knew, that Svitlana and Ebbe have been sailing north for some weeks and last Saturday they arrived in the boat harbour Bredvik, just 3½ km away. We could even see their sailing yacht passing by from our house.

We hadn’t any time on Saturday but on Sunday we invited them for breakfast. At the same time, they invited us on a sailing tour which we eagerly accepted. The weather forecast was so-so but in the beginning the sun was shining. As soon Svitlana had motored the yacht out of the harbour Ebbe set the sails and gently we sailed southwards and soon passed our house. I had seen the house from sea before while paddling but it was the first time Annika could see if from this perspective. (And again we agreed in living in an extraordinary beautiful place.)

Then we turned left and sailed a large triangle on the open sea. As a matter of fact it was Svitlana and Ebbe who sailed. We did nothing beside of enjoying.

Already two and a half hours later we arrived at the harbour again but sailing with Svitlana and Ebbe was so fun that it felt like a complete holiday.

Already the day before we had learned a new Swedish verb: att bryggsegla. Literally translated to “to jetty-sail” it means to enjoy being on the moored yacht in the harbour. And we did enjoy both food and company.

Большое спасибо Svitlana, tack så mycket Ebbe for a wonderful day! We’ll meet again!

Photos in the rain

This morning it drizzled and rained and the summer colours seem to have vanished. So I took it a step further and started to take black and white photos today. I was not the only one outside in this weather. Two professional fishermen cruised in the mouth of the river Umeälven in their open boat followed by a flock of seagulls.

This is the beginning of a “rainy weather” black and white series. Let’s see how often I’ll go out and take photos in rain or storm.

And you? Do you like to take photos in bad weather or do you prefer the sun?