Norway, The Far North

 
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Awesome and unspoilt

 

The British Airways captain was a jovial sort. “It seems there’s quite a bit of snow in Oslo this morning. But not to worry, we’ll just have to circle for a bit while they send the bulldozers up the runway. They know how to ‘do’ snow in Norway..” And sure enough, after a few minutes of cruising in a wide circle above the clouds, the cabin crew were asked to make ready for landing.

If the cloud layer was anything to go by, there would be a lot of snow. The landing gear had lowered with still no sign of the cloud bottoming out. I tried to think positive thoughts about modern automatic landing technology and not about a plane that (I read) had skidded straight off the tarmac at Stornoway, Scotland just last winter. The world re-emerged as a forest of snowy conifers about 50 feet from the end of the runway, almost stroking the underside of the fuselage.

And then, what looked like ants. Yellow ants, hordes of them, swarming over the taxi ways, the aircraft stands and heading in sinuous convoys back toward the runway. Each with a yellow light atop, bodies segmented into three clear parts for ploughing, sweeping and blowing snow away from the tarmac. It’s been described as a ballet and it’s clearly a well choreographed operation. There are even videos on the internet but to see the performance for real is quite incredible. As we approached our stand after a perfect landing the pilot turned the intercom back on. “All this snow and only ten minutes late.. this lot would have shut Heathrow for weeks.”

 
 

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Several of the photographs in this post appear to be shot in black and white.

They’re not. It’s the perpetual twilight at this time of year.

 

Landing in Oslo was only the start of our journey. We were booked on a connection to Tromsø, another 1 hr 40 minutes farther north. I’d insisted to Mike that it be a ‘proper’ plane, sometimes the means of transport to far flung destinations can be on the small side and with those whirring crisscross things where a modern jet engine ought to be. He’s a bit of a geek is Mike when it comes to planes and having done the necessary research assured me that it not only met my specification but in addition came with ‘winglets’. A fully matured set of wings would have been my preferred option but there you go. Still, plenty of time yet before the flight, a spot of airport shopping maybe and then a leisurely coffee in the lounge. I do love it when travel can be conducted in such a relaxed fashion, don’t you? We’d just check in our suitcases first and get them out of the way.

“Ah, but..” the helpful SAS clerk swung round her screen so we could see.. “there’s an earlier flight, would you rather go on that?” At Tromsø we still had in front of us a three hour drive to the hotel. Unknown roads, in the snow and in the dark. It was a no-brainer.

“OK. Departure 11.45. Boarding 11.20.”

Mike looked at his watch. “11.20. As in… now, this minute?”

“Yes, of course.” Not the slightest hint of urgency.

We hurtled across the departure hall toward security. There was a queue. Of course there was. And everyone was having a problem of some sort with their luggage. Perhaps it was our already frazzled look or the frantic waving of boarding cards, but we were ushered into a shorter line, the ‘family’ queue. And what do families with young children carry with them in abundance? Bottles. Bottles full of liquid. Each was having to be scanned and rescanned, taking twice as long per person as the queue we’d just left. And was the plane’s allotted departure gate the nearest one to where we then were or the farthest one away? Yep, you’ve guessed.

 
 

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The snow capped peaks near the Lofoten Islands at sunset (lunchtime). And plane, with winglets.

I may have partaken of a glass of wine.

 
 

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The following morning we set out to explore. The scenery is just so incredible up there. Words cannot properly describe it. These are the Lyngen Alps.

 
 

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Alongside the roads, waterfalls..

 
 

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..frozen in time

 
 

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Mike was delighted when we came across this scene..

“There you are.. you wanted a beach?!!”

I took the shot from inside the car, camera lens balanced on the wing mirror, heated seat on max. The temperature on the dashboard display was -7C. It didn’t mention the windchill. The light was rapidly fading. No skinny dipping then but, oh, what a glorious place.

 
 

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Just up the road from the beach, the fjord gives way to open sea. A sea which leads into the Arctic Ocean.

Next stop from here? The North Pole.

 
 

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For somewhere so very remote there were more houses than I’d expected, this one a traditional Norwegian style.

 

The lovely lady who prepared our breakfast every morning was full of fascinating information. She told us that many houses were originally painted this deep red colour. Social climbers then opted for white. A mark of status, it was more expensive and presumably needed repainting more often.

 
 

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As you can see, in more recent years the Farrow and Ball colour chart has arrived in the Arctic Circle.

 
 

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This was Skjervøy, a pretty fishing village

It is reached by a road stretching across a chain of islands linked by tunnels and a bridge.

 
 

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See the bridge in the far distance?

Single track.. start off across it and hope. Although a cunningly concealed passing place does reveal itself half way down. And, it’s fair to say, there isn’t exactly a rush hour in these parts. One of the tunnels passed directly underneath a fjord, the road descending steeply into the bowels of the earth with only the merest hint of a levelling out before ascending at an equally impressive gradient to reach the other side.

 
 

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My next project?

I loved the shed/privy with the heart shape cut in the door.

 

There is little evidence of gardening this far north. Locate field, build house, leave the rest as you find it. At most, a few shrubby things planted to mark a boundary. I guess the winters are just too harsh and summers too short.

 
 

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And when the weather closes in, it really does..

 
 

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..leading to some quite spectacular effects

 
 

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Winter comes to everyone

 
 
 

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Linking to Elena (here) at BlogShareLearn, weekend Linky Party

 
 
 
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2017-02-16T19:46:04+00:00 December 3rd, 2015|Tags: |130 Comments

130 Comments

  1. derrickjknight December 3, 2015 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    Wonderful photographs; and I enjoyed the Farrow and Ball joke

    • Jessica December 3, 2015 at 7:50 pm - Reply

      Thanks Derrick. Reminds me it’ll soon be time to start decorating again 🙁

  2. Backlane Notebook December 3, 2015 at 12:10 pm - Reply

    My goodness what an awesome landscape and captured brilliantly by you through photos and text. Thanks for sharing this stunning holiday.

    • Jessica December 3, 2015 at 7:54 pm - Reply

      I’m so glad we did it (rather than the Caribbean), in spite of the cold and the lack of light I was sorry to leave.

  3. Janet/Plantaliscious December 3, 2015 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    Oh wow. Just, wow. What an experience. What a place. And what fabulous photos. Thank you for sharing, that’s probably as close as I will ever get!

    • Jessica December 3, 2015 at 8:31 pm - Reply

      It’s a lot easier to get to than I thought, flight to Tromsø is much the same as going to Inverness. In fact Tromsø is like Inverness in many ways.

  4. annincumbria December 3, 2015 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    What can I say it looks spectacular thanks for sharing

    • Jessica December 3, 2015 at 8:32 pm - Reply

      It truly was. Thanks Ann.

  5. Brian Skeys December 3, 2015 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    Stunning pictures Jessica. I think you have to be a different breed of person to live in that climate!

    • Jessica December 3, 2015 at 8:34 pm - Reply

      Agreed. Although the midnight sun must be something. Payback time.

  6. Vera December 3, 2015 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    Lovely photos, but all I could do was shiver at the coldness which you captured so very well and which seemed to leap off the computer screen at me! Glad you got there and back safely.

    • Jessica December 3, 2015 at 8:36 pm - Reply

      It seemed a lot colder than it actually was at times too. I felt like the Michelin man I had so many layers.

  7. CJ December 3, 2015 at 2:23 pm - Reply

    WOW! That is utterly, breathtakingly beautiful. Stunning. I don’t have enough superlatives. And you made me laugh as well with the winglets and Farrow & Ball colour chart. I’m glad you had such an amazing time. Your photography is fabulous. Again, WOW! CJ xx

    • Jessica December 3, 2015 at 8:40 pm - Reply

      I have now added winglets to my list of a plane’s must haves. Can’t say I noticed any aerodynamic benefit, but they look the part don’t they? Thanks CJ.

  8. SmallP December 3, 2015 at 2:48 pm - Reply

    Beautiful photos as always. And what an amazing place; so picturesque. It must be such a totally different way of life when sunset is at lunchtime….must make wine o’ clock very early in the day with all that darkness 😉 xx

    • Jessica December 3, 2015 at 8:47 pm - Reply

      In a bid to prevent liver damage I did try to stick to my normal schedule! So strange though to have it getting dark by lunchtime. We went out straight after breakfast and drove somewhere until it started to get dark before making our way back, that way we made the best of it and still had a very long, relaxing afternoon and evening. A very different way of life indeed.

  9. Anne Wheaton December 3, 2015 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    Makes me want to go there! I’ve only ventured to Bergen and surrounding area but this looks stunning. I rather like the idea of a just building a house and not having a garden – think of the freedom, not only in time but of having no boundaries and being part of the landscape.
    Another place to add to my wishlist.

    • Jessica December 3, 2015 at 8:58 pm - Reply

      It does add to the unspoilt feeling of the landscape I must admit. There are places where they are building new tunnels and that’s all a bit messy but overall the footprint seems light.

  10. Em December 3, 2015 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    I’m SO jealous! Fabulous photos and we must get together before Christmas……or possibly afterwards looking at the depressingly full calendar. So pleased you’ve had such a fantastic break. I’ll email you….x

    • Jessica December 3, 2015 at 9:01 pm - Reply

      Thanks Em, it would be great to meet up! Let me know.

  11. Chloris December 3, 2015 at 4:51 pm - Reply

    What stunning photos, I ‘ ve never seen a landscape quite like this before, it is so beautiful. But I do hope you took your wooly underwear.

    • Jessica December 3, 2015 at 9:03 pm - Reply

      On one particular day I was wearing leggings under ski pants, two pairs of socks and about four different layers under a coat. And it was still cold. To live out there I’d need a whole new wardrobe.

  12. Denise December 3, 2015 at 5:12 pm - Reply

    I bet the air smelled fresher than fresh. Love the frozen waterfalls. Reminds me of Narnia.

    • Jessica December 3, 2015 at 9:06 pm - Reply

      There’s a mother of all frozen waterfalls coming up in the next post. Not quite Narnia though.

  13. Julie December 3, 2015 at 5:19 pm - Reply

    Oh my goodness, such utter beauty, your photographs are stunning too. I spend a lot of time showing my husband your project and trying to persuade him thats the life for us, I will now be showing him your holiday too! You and Mike must really feel like you’ve had a proper grown up holiday. Just lovely!

    • Jessica December 3, 2015 at 9:12 pm - Reply

      It did feel a lot like that. Met some interesting people too. The hotel was very small and with everyone eating together round the same table we couldn’t help but get to know our fellow guests.

  14. Charlie@Seattle Trekker December 3, 2015 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    I can so totally relate, I grew up in Minnesota here in the states. It is said that when Norway had problems and a portion of the population chose to emigrate that they searched the earth looking for someplace as cold and “God Forsaken” and they chose Minnesota…The joke is that when people from Norway choose to vacation they come to Minnesota because of the familiar cold snowy winters and that in some way they are related to almost everyone they meet.

    • Jessica December 3, 2015 at 9:18 pm - Reply

      Lovely story Charlie! I didn’t know Minnesota was so cold. Having just looked it up on the map I can now see why. But I envy you in the States and Canada. You have proper snowy winters. With blue skies in between the snow showers. It’s the eternal grey, wet miserable stuff that the UK serves up that I just can’t stand.

  15. kate@barnhouse December 3, 2015 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    Stunning, crisp images, thank you. The way the colours pop in the fishing village photo is incredible, lots to be said for prolonged twilight and the contrast/reflection snow provides?

    • Jessica December 3, 2015 at 9:26 pm - Reply

      On our last day sunrise and sunset joined up and the sky was pink all day, or what equates to a day in daylight terms. It was amazing how the light changed, especially as there had been snow overnight which reflected the sky. Every afternoon when we got back we loaded a few of the photos on to the iPad to take a closer look. I still have them and the snapshot of each day in the thumbnails is incredible.. a totally different colour palette.

  16. Tahoe girl December 3, 2015 at 6:16 pm - Reply

    So amazing to see these pictures. thank you. I’ll never see Norway in person so this is really a wonderful thing. Is it that darkish all day??

    • Jessica December 3, 2015 at 9:55 pm - Reply

      Thanks, and welcome!
      Around the summer solstice it doesn’t get properly dark at all there, the land of the midnight sun.. but for 7 weeks in mid winter they don’t see the sun at all. A couple of hours of deep twilight and the rest is totally dark. It would take a hardier soul than me.

  17. Freda December 3, 2015 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    I love it when it gets (a bit) like this here in Scotland in winter but that’s because it only lasts a few weeks at most. They must be hardy and so resilient to take that all winter long. Thanks for sharing your brilliant photographs.

    • Jessica December 3, 2015 at 10:12 pm - Reply

      It’s a different way of life for sure. It has a sort of romantic charm to an outsider, but I think the novelty would wear off pretty quick.

  18. Sarah Shoesmith December 3, 2015 at 6:37 pm - Reply

    Quite right too on the wine front. If anything demands wine, it’s flying on a plane with winglets. But wasn’t it worth all that travelling? Isn’t it beautiful!? I love the bright colours of the fishing village in contrast to the landscape and light. What a holiday!

    • Jessica December 3, 2015 at 10:14 pm - Reply

      It was worth it and it is beautiful. Such a surprise to come across the fishing village after a long drive through such a remote landscape. I bet the community spirit there is fantastic.

  19. Sue. December 3, 2015 at 6:56 pm - Reply

    Lovely. lived in Norway for 3 years in Oslo. Had a cruise up to the Lofoten Isle about 10 years ago and going again next year for the 50th! all the way to the top this time.

    Yours.
    Sue.

    • Jessica December 3, 2015 at 10:20 pm - Reply

      Oh wow! I really envy you, I’d definitely want to go back. For the midnight sun next time maybe, although the northern lights were a real highlight of this trip. We also spent a day (only a day 🙁 ) in Oslo on the way back which I’ll post about soon.

  20. wherefivevalleysmeet December 3, 2015 at 7:29 pm - Reply

    We fell in love with Norway when my son and his family lived there for 5 years. I don’t ever remember him not being able to get to work because of snow, they have all the right equipment to deal with it instantly and everyone has snow tyres on their cars by law.
    They don’t have great potholes in their roads either caused by the snow because they use the more expensive asphalt instead of tarmac.
    Lovely photos even though the light was low.

    • Jessica December 3, 2015 at 10:29 pm - Reply

      The roads were a bit hairy at times, especially when it started snowing very heavily, but we were advised to get studded tyres and that was such a good call. I don’t think we skidded once. Mike will say it was his excellent driving (of course) and credit where it’s due. In all the times I’ve driven around Scotland I’ve looked at the snow poles and wondered how effective they would be. Now I know. Driving back to Tromsø from the hotel we started out with perhaps four inches of snow.. by the time we reached the airport the snow poles were the only means of knowing where the road actually was.

  21. pagedogs December 3, 2015 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    I have not made it to Norway, but again was struck by how much it looks like Alaska. You captured the winter light and the feel of the low hanging clouds really wonderfully. It transported me back to Anchorage winters, which alternated between spectacular beauty and long stretches of gray and gloom. I have to say, after many years of living in far North, I came to find the winters too long and dark. Your photos illustrate how starved for color and scent people in the far north become after months on end of winter. Time to head to Hawaii or Spain. Or maybe time to paint the house.

    • Jessica December 3, 2015 at 10:33 pm - Reply

      Our lovely breakfast lady did say that winter is the time most people travel. And at Tromsø airport there were two charter flights to the Canary Islands in the space of an hour. I can’t say I blame them! I must go to Alaska though.

      • pagedogs December 5, 2015 at 1:32 pm - Reply

        In Alaska, we had inexpensive winter flights to Hawaii and Mexico. There was an annual migration. What a feeling to step out of the plane in Hawaii after months of monochromatic winter, to vivid colors, warm moist air, and fragrant plumeria. Still, Alaska is an amazing place and definitely worth a visit (or several).

        • Jessica December 5, 2015 at 8:27 pm - Reply

          I can just imagine that. Hawaii would be a mighty relief from the British winter as well!

  22. M. L. Kappa December 3, 2015 at 7:53 pm - Reply

    Are you sure this was a privy? They must freeze their butt in there 🙂 Unless they have those Japanese heated toilets? And I could not possibly take the cold and lack of light. But it is extremely beautiful, and quite wild still. Lovely photos!

    • Jessica December 3, 2015 at 10:39 pm - Reply

      Hey, they’re hardy up there right? Isn’t this the land where they spend an hour in the sauna and then fling themselves in the snow? After that a frozen loo seat is nothing. 🙂

  23. Amy at love made my home December 3, 2015 at 8:36 pm - Reply

    Absolutely stunning!!!! It is so very beautiful isn’t it, but it looks incredibly cold. I also would have wanted great big wing wings, not winglets! Glad that you had a great time and that you could share it with us. xx

    • Jessica December 3, 2015 at 10:42 pm - Reply

      Thanks Amy. It was certainly an experience. A good one.

  24. woolythymes December 3, 2015 at 10:00 pm - Reply

    oh thank you thank you thank you for sharing these incredible photos. I’ve been checking every day since you said more were coming! …No wonder you got out your knitting needles and yarn. That’s mighty COLD country up there!!!! Glad you were inspired.

    • Jessica December 3, 2015 at 10:52 pm - Reply

      The needles have arrived today.. aren’t they pretty? Can’t wait to try them out. There are HUGE yarn shops up there. Well, what else is a girl to do if it’s dark all day? More posts coming up. Thanks Steph.

  25. sustainablemum December 3, 2015 at 10:37 pm - Reply

    I guess you would get used to the lack of light if that is all you have known. It has been twilight here all day for the past few days so I can relate! Your photos are stunning, what a truly beautiful and unspoilt place.

    • Jessica December 3, 2015 at 10:55 pm - Reply

      Very dark here today too, reckon I’m acclimatised now. Made me think how high the energy bill must be in the north of Norway. At least they’ve got oil.. for now.

  26. AnnetteM December 3, 2015 at 10:39 pm - Reply

    Wow – it looks stunning. It was lovely to see something so different and photographed so brilliantly.

    • Jessica December 3, 2015 at 10:57 pm - Reply

      Thanks Annette. Certainly different, holidays may never be the same again.

  27. Linda B. December 3, 2015 at 11:55 pm - Reply

    Really stunning scenery. I live in an area that is heavily Norwegian. Every May 17 Norwegian Independence day is celebrated. We don”t get quite so cold and no mts.

    • Jessica December 4, 2015 at 5:10 pm - Reply

      I hadn’t realised quite how Norwegian the northern States are until reading Charlie’s comment above. Isn’t it fascinating how people migrate around the planet.

  28. annamadeit December 4, 2015 at 2:04 am - Reply

    That was a wonderful post, Jessica – I love the dramatic landscape of Norway. Granted, I’m a Swede, and it’s not quite as dramatic there ( just as dark, mind you), but I really miss the white winters. Here in winter-gray Portland, OR, I get my snow kicks on Mt Hood, but even there, the sky is usually blue, and not that frosty pink. Lovely photos – you actually made me a little homesick!

    • Jessica December 4, 2015 at 5:18 pm - Reply

      Portland sounds very similar to here. Going back a few weeks the forecast was for a snowy winter in the UK so we’ll have to wait and see. I love all the light from the freshly fallen snow, but it never lasts very long. Before we know it we just have a lot of dirty mush.

  29. Kris P December 4, 2015 at 2:05 am - Reply

    Absolutely gorgeous scenery and your photos are incredible. Although I’m Scandinavian (Finnish and Swedish) by ancestry, I’m a Southern California native and can’t even begin to imagine navigating that environment, fairy tale beautiful as it is. Accompanying you on a photographic journey is enough for me. Thanks for sharing your trip!

    • Jessica December 4, 2015 at 5:20 pm - Reply

      We were up near the Finnish border at one point (next post). Away from the coast and at a higher elevation it was seriously cold!

  30. Beth @ PlantPostings December 4, 2015 at 4:36 am - Reply

    It is incredibly beautiful, and your photos are stunning! Sounds like it was a very rewarding trip. I’m told that Scandinavian winters are similar to our colder winters here in the northern Midwest, but our summers are much warmer. Thanks for sharing highlights from your adventures!

    • Jessica December 4, 2015 at 5:26 pm - Reply

      It was a different kind of holiday, well away from the usual tourist hotspots and chosen as much for safety as anything else in these unpredictable times. But very rewarding indeed to see such a stunning part of the natural world.

  31. Peter/Outlaw December 4, 2015 at 5:27 am - Reply

    I love the beauty of the far north which you’ve captured so well in your photos! I’ve never been to that part of the world but am from Alaska and your post made me a little homesick. What an interesting place to visit at this time of the year. It does look very cold but as the salt water harbor is still clear, I’d imagine it’ll get much colder later in the season. Thank you for taking us along of your adventure!

    • Jessica December 4, 2015 at 5:29 pm - Reply

      Down to -40C I believe which would definitely be too cold for me! The fjords were starting to freeze over at the far reaches where presumably there’s less tidal influence.

  32. jannaschreier December 4, 2015 at 6:59 am - Reply

    Wow, wow, wow. Just amazing. I was wondering if the first two photos were in black and white or not; couldn’t decide. Your photos are incredible and (as always) you have written in such an evocative way that I actually, nervously, feel I want to go there. But I do need to check, from one cold-hater to another, are you just tricking me or is it really, really worth the temperatures to experience the rest? I was also talking to Paul earlier in the week about a trip to northern Scotland to see puffins in March. The things you make me do, Jessica!

    • Jessica December 4, 2015 at 5:44 pm - Reply

      It was definitely worth it, but winter hadn’t really got a grip late November and it’s still just about bearable with the right clothing, especially if you stay close to the coast. Jan/Feb it will be down to -40C. I think I’ll pass.. I would like to go back in summer, but as it never really gets dark then it wouldn’t be possible to see the northern lights and that would be a shame. Puffins, unmissable. They return in March, so maybe not too early in the month to be sure of seeing them.

  33. bumbleandme December 4, 2015 at 7:40 am - Reply

    What an amazing trip you had, by the looks of it. Hopefully your feeling refreshed and energised by all the fresh air, ready for the next project! Some fantastic photography, as always. X

    • Jessica December 4, 2015 at 5:46 pm - Reply

      No shortage of fresh air for sure. The wind and rain here has pretty well scuppered doing much in the garden since we’ve been back and cabin fever is looming! Thanks Hannah.

  34. rachel December 4, 2015 at 10:45 am - Reply

    Superb photos, heart-stoppingly lovely scenery, thank you. And it does put our cold winters into perspective, doesn’t it?

    • Jessica December 4, 2015 at 5:48 pm - Reply

      It does. But after a fresh fall of snow it did look very pretty. I miss that down here.

  35. Marian St.Clair December 4, 2015 at 10:51 am - Reply

    Simply stunning. You must be very brave, Jessica, to take on an adventure such as this.

    • Jessica December 4, 2015 at 5:53 pm - Reply

      To be honest I expected it to feel more remote than it was. Quite a few people live up there which means the roads are regularly ploughed and it’s relatively easy to get around. But it isn’t proper winter yet. I did see gated roads, there must be plenty of communities cut off when the weather gets really bad.

  36. Rick Nelson December 4, 2015 at 11:08 am - Reply

    Fantastic rd, what scenery, I would love to see it just after the spring thaw when all the flowers should emerge. Who needs a beach!

    • Jessica December 4, 2015 at 5:58 pm - Reply

      That would be quite a sight wouldn’t it. I thought the same visiting Switzerland in late summer, we were just a little too late even though the scenery was spectacular.

  37. Linda December 4, 2015 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    Absolutely gorgeous!!! I love the winter (this may get some moans), but I try to enjoy and appreciate all the seasons given to me, and thankfully, living in Montreal, Canada, we have 4. 🙂

    • Jessica December 4, 2015 at 4:27 pm - Reply

      Hi Linda and welcome.
      If our winters were more like yours, proper light reflective snowy ones, there might be fewer moans from us Brits at least. But having seen how it’s done in Norway I must try harder this year and accept winter as time for a bit of a break, more relaxing in front of the fire and less grumbling about the wind and rain!

  38. Sam December 4, 2015 at 4:44 pm - Reply

    I’m probably reiterating everything that everyone else has said (haven’t read all the comments yet) but WOW – what absolutely beautiful photos. That first shot is a corker. It looks an unbelievably awe-inspiring place. I hope you feel completely invigorated after your holiday.

    • Jessica December 4, 2015 at 6:02 pm - Reply

      That first shot is our favourite. Mike stopped the car in the middle of the road when he saw it and got out complete with tripod. It’s lucky there isn’t much traffic up there! It wasn’t the only time either. We felt quite cheated when we got back to main roads and had to look for places to pull over.

  39. Island Threads December 4, 2015 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    beautiful photos Jessica, interesting to hear of somewhere getting less hours of light than here, but, did that mean you didn’t have much time to see things, or, was there wonderful full moon and no light pollution, a full moon here is almost like daylight and with the snow reflecting it there, it would be daylight, see any northern lights? I like your future project and I was thinking I love the loo with a heart then read your comment, I always think old houses have stories too, glad you had a great holiday despite the lack of hot sun kissed beaches, Frances

    • Jessica December 4, 2015 at 6:15 pm - Reply

      The moon was about half full but I don’t remember seeing much of it. There were only two clear nights, on both of which we saw the northern lights (for which the moon would have been an encumbrance). That old house is beautiful isn’t it? Fjord view as well. If only Norway wasn’t so incredibly expensive.

  40. hoehoegrow December 4, 2015 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    What a fabulous place ! And your photos are fantastic too Jessica. Looking forward to hearing more of your adventures

    • Jessica December 5, 2015 at 8:04 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jane.

  41. Sarah December 4, 2015 at 8:19 pm - Reply

    Wow that looks absolutely amazing and that light just adds to the atmosphere. I also wondered how you got on with the roads but see you mentioned it in Rosemary’s comment. Those red buildings look stunning against the snow. Would a cut out door allow some friends of yours inside? Sarah x

    • Jessica December 5, 2015 at 8:05 pm - Reply

      Any cut outs would need triple glazing as a minimum!

  42. CherryPie December 4, 2015 at 8:41 pm - Reply

    The place looks stunning.The thought of all that snow has made me feel chilly.

    • Jessica December 5, 2015 at 8:07 pm - Reply

      It was pretty cold. Not sure I’d cope with it in the depths of winter, we have it easy in comparison.

  43. Spade & Dagger December 4, 2015 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    There was nothing for it – I had to look up ‘gardening in Norway’. There’s a surprising quantity of Norwegian agriculture, albeit of limited variety and horticulture under cover is increasing. I guess in northern Norway you don’t feel the need to enclose an area of garden which will only grow the same type of plants that already surround your dwelling. Did you get to visit the Botanic Garden in Tromso?

    • Jessica December 5, 2015 at 8:12 pm - Reply

      We didn’t have any time at all in Tromsø which was a shame. I toyed fleetingly with the idea of the Oslo Botanic Garden, which was actually open, but it wouldn’t have been a long visit with us only being in the city for a day. Next time!

  44. Anna December 4, 2015 at 9:59 pm - Reply

    Wow – what breathtaking beauty! We’ve had heart shaped window envy since we saw a camper van parked next to ours with yes …. heart shaped windows:)

    • Jessica December 5, 2015 at 8:18 pm - Reply

      I presumed the cut out was to let light in, I can’t think of any other reason why anyone would want a hole in a door in that climate, especially if it was indeed a privy!

  45. Christina December 4, 2015 at 10:15 pm - Reply

    Dear Jessica, breathtaking photos, simply stunning! Norway is indeed incredible beautiful, but wouldn’t be for me at this time of the year just because of the cold and the short days in the winter. So I prefer to sit back, relax and enjoy it through your photos ;-).
    Warm regards,
    Christina

    • Jessica December 5, 2015 at 8:20 pm - Reply

      The novelty would wear off for me pretty quickly too. I think I’d have to hibernate through it all. Or travel, which is what a lot of north Norwegians do.

  46. elaine December 4, 2015 at 10:45 pm - Reply

    The beauty of the place just takes your breath away.

    • Jessica December 5, 2015 at 8:20 pm - Reply

      It does. The beauty and the cold!

  47. Linda P. December 5, 2015 at 10:46 am - Reply

    What a wonderful trip! The journey to get to see such incredible scenery was worth it and I’m sure you met some interesting people; Norwegians and other travellers. I like the idea of being in the far north where you can take in just mountains and water with the odd dwelling dotted here and there. Stunning photos! Then the drive across the bridge roadway, under the fjord to the islands and the fishing village sounds fascinating. Looking forward to more.

    • Jessica December 5, 2015 at 8:25 pm - Reply

      Travelling around was quite time consuming. As the crow flies, places are not so far apart, it’s the circuitous routes to get around the fjords which takes the time.

  48. Pauline December 5, 2015 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    Your photos are stunning, the scenery is absolutely amazing, love the waterfalls! Last time we went we travelled by plane,train, boat, and bus to Tromso, but my suitcase went right up to Kirkiness only 10 miles from the Russian border. I had to make do with wearing the undergardener’s shirts until mine caught up with me 3 days later! I would love to go back, maybe we will one day.

    • Jessica December 5, 2015 at 8:32 pm - Reply

      Oh crikey! I’d have liked to drive further north but the limited daylight hours didn’t really make it practical. The chap I sat next to on the plane was getting a further connection from Tromsø to the far north to join an oil rig and then be towed with it out to sea. Thanks Pauline.

  49. bittster December 5, 2015 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    What an adventure with some fantastic pictures. I also love watching the winter weather, but always nicer to be inside and watchign through the glass!
    Love the colors of the village, but I can’t imagine fishing in that weather.

    • Jessica December 5, 2015 at 8:34 pm - Reply

      No, being out on a fishing boat would be bleak. I know I complain about the British weather but I’m not sure I could cope with that sort of cold.

  50. Corinne Rodrigues December 5, 2015 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    Stunningly beautiful pictures. I love the little insights you provided too.
    #blogsharelearn

    • Jessica December 5, 2015 at 8:49 pm - Reply

      Hi Corinne, thanks and welcome!

  51. FlowerAlley December 5, 2015 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    Ohhhhh my! This is a dream. I am so glad I found your blog. Once again my mouth flew open and nothing came out. Speechless awe. You are a Lucky Duck.

    • Jessica December 5, 2015 at 8:51 pm - Reply

      Well, a holiday was six years in the waiting. We thought we’d treat ourselves, just in case it’s another six years..

  52. snowbird December 5, 2015 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    Winglets????EEEK!!! I would have hammered the wine! What a stunningly beautiful place. I love how calming and peaceful it is. I must visit!xxx

    • Jessica December 5, 2015 at 8:52 pm - Reply

      I think you’d love it, it’s certainly peaceful. Take thermals!

  53. Amy December 5, 2015 at 11:48 pm - Reply

    Absolutely fantastic!! So glad you and Mike got to take such a marvelous vacation – must have been incredible….! I’d love to be able to get lost in a place like that for a bit, but, sadly, I can’t deal with much cold… So much better to dream and admire from your descriptions and fab pictures 🙂

    • Jessica December 6, 2015 at 10:56 pm - Reply

      Cold is not something I’m good at either Amy, in the car it was fine (especially with heated seats!) but then getting out is even more of a shock to the system. And every building we went into was always very warm. Perhaps too warm actually.

  54. Virginia December 6, 2015 at 4:12 am - Reply

    Oh My Goodness! That was Spectacular! Actually, totally Spectacular! Thank you for taking us somewhere most of us would never get to on our own. The bleakness, the frozen waterfalls! Oh My! What a hardly, and patient person you would have to be to live there – and how resourceful.
    Jessica, thank you

    • Jessica December 6, 2015 at 10:59 pm - Reply

      Thanks Virginia. If you like bleakness and frozen waterfalls come back tomorrow, I haven’t finished yet 🙂

  55. Sheila December 6, 2015 at 4:12 am - Reply

    Your photos are excellent. I’m not looking forward to our (Canadian) winter. We try and go to the Caribbean and shorten our exposure to it! We have met many Norwegians there over the years, all escaping the cold like us. The light looks beautiful in Norway, I’m sure there is less pollution and that must make a huge difference. Looking forward to more photos..xx

    • Jessica December 6, 2015 at 11:04 pm - Reply

      Yes, the air does feel very fresh and the water is just so clear. The Caribbean sounds a perfect choice for avoiding winter! Thanks Sheila.

  56. Ruth Daly December 6, 2015 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    Gorgeous photos and so beautifully written – I really enjoyed the read!

    • Jessica December 6, 2015 at 11:08 pm - Reply

      Hi Ruth and welcome.
      Thank you for your kind words, even better coming from an author!

  57. Terry Tyler December 6, 2015 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    These pictures make me whimper with envy 🙂

    • Jessica December 6, 2015 at 11:12 pm - Reply

      Hi Terry, thank you and welcome.
      I was whimpering with cold! ????

  58. Helene December 6, 2015 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    Hi Jennifer, funny you have been visiting my home country – in the dead of winter! Lovely photos you present and so familiar to me – as a child I lived even further north than Tromsø – in Kirkenes, but moved south when I was 16 to go to college and later on Uni – and stayed down south, never moved up north.

    Funny you picked up on the heart on the door to the outside toilet, the heart is the symbol for privy or toilet and if you come to a home and want to use their bathroom, just look for the door with the heart on – usually just a heart shaped figure of some sort. I am sure the people in that photo only use the privy in the summer when they are working in that barn, shorter than go all the way into their house.

    To offset the lack of daylight you experienced you should probably visit again in June, you will then have 24 hours of daylight and can get a suntan at 4 am 🙂

    It’s a shame you didn’t get to visit the Botanical Garden in Oslo, it is a treat, even in December. Oh, and it really gets to below minus 40 degrees C in the winter for a few week ever year, late January or February usually, but somehow it doesn’t feel as cold as you would think. Life goes on, children go to school and adults go to work, life goes on!
    Thanks for this post, really enjoyed it 🙂

    • Jessica December 6, 2015 at 11:27 pm - Reply

      Well that’s interesting to hear about the heart. I couldn’t decide whether the building was a house or a barn, with the windows and a chimney. Either way, with a bit of work it would make a lovely dwelling complete with stunning view. The Botanic Gardens in Oslo is a must for next time then! If we’d stayed one day longer we’d have done it. It must be hard living in the north but as you say, life must go on. In the fishing village we saw a lovely lady pushing what looked like a shopping basket/sled combo. It would have made a lovely photo but we thought too intrusive.

      • Helene December 7, 2015 at 1:41 am - Reply

        I wonder if what you saw was a kicksled, like this:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kicksled

        Very common in Norway, with up to 5 months of snow on the ground it is very handy for pushing your groceries or your children – or just to go faster, you can get quite a speed on them! I used to have one when I lived in Norway.
        As an adult I have lived in many parts of Norway, 6 years in Oslo and before coming to London I lived 9 years in a place 3 hours north of Oslo (Gol) in the mountains where people often go on skiing holiday. There we had temperature records for both the lowest in the winter and the highest in the summer. I often think of that when people were whinge about -2 degrees…. 🙂

        • Jessica December 7, 2015 at 7:33 am - Reply

          That’s the one! In spite of the cold it is a stunningly beautiful country Helene, from the small bit that we saw of it. I’d love to go back one day. Next post later today if I can get my act together.

  59. Helene December 6, 2015 at 7:29 pm - Reply

    Sorry – I didn’t mean to re-name you – not sure where that came from – Jessica!!

    • Jessica December 6, 2015 at 11:28 pm - Reply

      No worries!

  60. Julieanne December 7, 2015 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    Wow, just stunning. What an amazing set of pictures, and very good story telling to. Onto your next post.

    • Jessica December 7, 2015 at 8:00 pm - Reply

      Thanks Julieanne.

  61. Wendy December 8, 2015 at 7:43 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful pics, Jessica. Norway is number one on my bucket list of places still to go. My house looks a lot like the ones in your pics too, except that it’s not painted in these lovely rich colours, thanks to our stupid local planning laws. Your Farrow & Ball comment made me chuckle. Took a lot of inspiration from the Norwegian landscape, culture & Norse mythology for the fantasy book I’m currently working on, but it’s not quite the same as being there in person. Very envious 🙂

    • Jessica December 8, 2015 at 11:37 pm - Reply

      Hi Wendy and welcome.
      If you can, you must go. Having never been before and knowing very little about it beforehand I really loved the place. Not the cold.. but that’s just me!

  62. Laura December 9, 2015 at 5:21 pm - Reply

    Did you notice, in the picture with all the houses, that the upstairs window was open? I’ve heard Norwegians like their fresh air!

    • Jessica December 9, 2015 at 11:00 pm - Reply

      Every building I went into in Norway was very warm indeed, I can quite understand how windows might be opened a little. Either heating systems and insulation are extremely efficient (most likely) or they spend an absolute fortune on energy!

  63. Donna@Gardens Eye View December 19, 2015 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    Jessica what an adventure. I love the story of why they used red paint…beautiful primary colors against the black and white background….many of my winter pictures look black and white too. I am missing these scenes here with no snow, but somehow it is even prettier there.

    • Jessica December 19, 2015 at 8:41 pm - Reply

      The landscape is so dramatic, it really suits the greyscale. I’d love to go back and see how it changes in summer.

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