Scandinavia 2015

Summer 2015, the yak has set out to explore his new northern territories.

So for our family and friends, here is a bit of photos and text from Sweden, Finland and Norway.

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SWEDEN

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First, we crossed southern Sweden. We drove through nice swedish forests and beautiful midsummer fields of wild flowers, stayed overnight by a nice lake and finally arrived to Stockholm. Here it is Gamla Stan – the old town of Stockholm.IMG_4395_s2

We went to see the Vasa Museum – impressive and scary!DSC04118_s

Then we ate very nice Swedish food under a big chestnut tree.IMG_4397_s2

And then we took the ferry across to Finland in fine weather through the beautiful “Skærgården”.IMG_4409_s

It was possible to stay outside and enjoy the sun setting veeerrryyyy slowly while drinking 3 gin tonics…then it got too cold and we had to go inside. The sun was still shining. IMG_4419_s2

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FINLAND

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We arrived to Turku in pouring rain, had a coffee in a quiet gas station and drove to Helsinki. Helsinki is fantastic! Weather you like architecture, art museums, shopping for vintage finnish design stuff or just to walk the streets randomly to explore a bit, Helsinki is really nice!IMG_4474_s IMG_4470_s copy IMG_4466_s IMG_4460_s IMG_4458_s

The train station is impressive! Just like a proper train station should be. A travellers temple. It makes you want to jump on the night train to somewhere. IMG_4475_s

In Helsinki we ate vorschmack, reindeer steak and small fried fishes, drank a wide selection of finnish beers and enjoyed a lot to cycle around the city while Frida rested a little bit.

Here eating the vorschmack in the famous Sea Horse restaurant.IMG_0578_s IMG_0579_s

And here the small fried fishes with mashed potatos and lingonberries – a summer-time delicacy.IMG_4493_s

From Helsinki we drove north through the lake-land of Finland and further up into Lapland. We were trying to catch the “arctic high pressure weather system” but it seemed that the arctic high pressures had moved much further north for the summer…. It rained and it rained and it rained…IMG_0597_s

As we crossed the arctic circle, traffic got a bit slow…IMG_4501_s

Way up north we found a nice place to sleep. But it was still raining…IMG_4506_s

A bit of blauburgunder and parmesan to cheer things up… Poor…! Why didn’t we go to Spain???

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Here the view just around midnight at a short pause in the rain. IMG_4516_s

The best things about Finland are 1) Helsinki and 2) the Fins. The Fins are very nice people – and not so politically correct as the swedish 😉

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Finland reminded us a bit of both Japan and Russia….! Japan, because Finland is just very Finnish in the same way that Japan is very Japanese. And both countries are very clean, no garbage, public toilets are nice (and for free) and the locals are kind and helpful to strangers like us. Russia, because Finland (outside Helsinki) is full of trees! It is like a small (very small) Siberia without garbage.

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NORWAY

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We drove up through Finnish Lapland, exited Finland at the northeastern corner and entered Norway. First destination Kirkenes, just a few kilometres from the Russian border and Murmansk. It was late in the day but we were eager to stretch our legs a bit so we made a quick walk up to Øretoppen, a small insignificant top in a remote corner of Norway but wow, Norway is just beautiful! Beautiful, wild and rough.

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KIRKENES and THE NORTH COAST

Kirkenes is interesting in its own very quiet way…but there is basically nothing to see. IMG_4543_s  IMG_4540_s IMG_4538_s

Marco tried to have a haircut but after trying all the 3 hairdressers in Kirkenes he was offered an appointment only on 6 July = 10 days later. Makes you think…maybe there is more to Kirkenes than meets the eye? Kirkenes is also a shopping destination for Russians so there were lots of “border shops” selling everything from furniture, clothes and shoes to different kinds of food, beauty products and a lot of home brewing equipment.

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We forgot to show you what Frida looks like when she is packed for a small 3-week road trip like this one……here is the situation after one week, already some inventions had to be made!IMG_0634_s

From Kirkenes we drove west along the coast towards Nordkapp, the North Cape. The views were fantastic and we even had some sunshine! The first since…..well we can’t remember when!IMG_4558_s IMG_4559_s IMG_4597_s IMG_4594_s IMG_4613_s

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THE NORTH CAPE and KNIVSKJELLODDEN

Driving Lucio to the North Cape – he was very excited!IMG_0636_s

North Cape (Nordkapp) is actually not the northernmost point of mainland Europe. It is just the most spectacular. The northernmost point is Knivskjellodden, just west of the North Cape. To reach Knivskjellodden is a 9 km walk from the road. For this reason you are most likely going to be more or less alone once you reach the northernmost point of Europe. Quite a different experience from the North Cape.

Reindeer along the way to Knivskjellodden.                  IMG_4628_s

Off to the end of the world (almost).IMG_4632_s IMG_4648_s

Also here, the gummistøvle! North Cape in the background.        IMG_4635_s

At the tip of everything! Of course it was raining once we made it there but it was still an incredible feeling to be all alone at the northern tip of Europe – and as we were standing there on the rocks in the rain we saw both whales and seals in the waters just off the coast. What a present! It is the North Cape in the distance.IMG_4662_s IMG_4663_s

Making the obligatory photos at the cairn.IMG_4655_sIMG_4659_s

Fortunately we could check into the Scandic hotel in Honningsvåg the same evening. Time to dry some clothes and take a shower…IMG_4664_s

The next morning we drove up to the proper North Cape tourist destination….in the beginning we couldn’t even see where to go from the parking lot! The whole cape was covered in a thick cloud and it was raining aaaaaaa loooooottt!IMG_4670_s

Finally it cleared up enough to see which direction to go and we got the obligatory picture at the North Cape with the globe 😉IMG_4673_s

We are starting to understand why people are speaking about the “white nights” instead of the “midnight sun” because we haven’t seen much of either the midnight or midday sun!!!

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On the way to TROMSØ – MIDNIGHT SUN and PØLSER

From North Cape we drove towards Tromsø on the west coast. The weather was really no surprise…IMG_4693_s

It cleared up a bit as we moved further west and we had some fantastic view along the way. Norway is just beautiful, in rain or in sunshine (but camping is definitely easier in sunshine).IMG_4703_s

We took one of the small ferries across the fjords. Here Marco is checking the situation before departure… IMG_4704_s

…and we had the “pølse” onboard!             IMG_4707_s

We found a really nice place for Frida to sleep.IMG_4726_s

And a nice place for the parents of Frida and Lucio to drink a glass of wine and to watch the colours change as the hours passed and midnight approached. IMG_4732_sIMG_4735_sIMG_4757_sIMG_4771_sIMG_4758_s

Finally a glimpse of the midnight sun!          IMG_4774_s

Panorama view from our camp site – 10 pm at night, midnight and early morning:IMG_0638_s IMG_0644_s IMG_0647_s

First time Lucio experiences the midnight sun!IMG_0645_s

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TROMSØ

We have arrived to Tromsø and found a paradise for mountaineering! Here is Tromsø:DSC04153_s

We chose to climb the Tromsdalstinden, just outside Tromsø, 1238 m high and a beautiful mountain. Here Tromsdalstinden in 1885 and in 2015:DSC04196_s DSC04195_s

It would have been possible to go with the skis – even now on 1 july – but we went just by foot. A very nice trip!

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LOFOTEN ISLANDS

From Tromsø we drove further south to the Lofoten islands. By now our lunch had become very norwegian with extra dark myse-ost (grandmothers recipe), multesyltetøj and potetbrød!IMG_4789_s

When we arrived to Lofoten it was raining (of course) but Lofoten was also beautiful in the rain…IMG_4798_sIMG_4803_sIMG_4810_sIMG_4799_sIMG_4815_s

We found a nice camp site…IMG_4816_s IMG_4834_s

…and the next morning the weather had improved. We went to the Justadalstindan.IMG_4860_sIMG_4867_sIMG_4869_sIMG_4870_sIMG_4872_sIMG_4884_sIMG_4886_s

When we returned back to our beach campsite, the yak had a bath in the sea! It was VERY cold.IMG_4895_s

The evening was beautiful…IMG_4904_s

The next day we went to Himmeltinden, we surprised a small sheep family on the way.IMG_4911_s

We had beautiful views to the islands Flagstadøya and Moskenesøya to the south.IMG_4934_sIMG_4926_sIMG_0688_s

The next day we drove to Moskenesøya, probably the most spectacular of the Lofoten islands.IMG_4960_sIMG_4966_s

They are producing a lot of “tørfisk” – dried fish – and the smell is easy to recognize.IMG_4977_s

Tørfisk ready for shipment.IMG_4993_s

We took off with the tent and sleeping bags to climb the highest mountain in West Lofotoen, the Hermannsdalstinden at 1029 m. It was an unusually beautiful day when we hiked up.IMG_4997_s

Here it is Hermannsdalstinden with the small red Munkebu hut to the far right.IMG_5004_s

The weather was so fantastic that we decided to go all the way to the top immediately.IMG_5011_s

At the top!                             IMG_5031_sIMG_5023_sIMG_5024_sIMG_5032_sIMG_5035_sIMG_5041_sIMG_5047_sIMG_5049_s

On the way down, we could enjoy the views in the early evening light.IMG_5059_sIMG_5068_sIMG_5062_s

Looking back up at the peak Hermannsdalstinden.IMG_5064_s

Finally at 8 o’clock in the night we could set up the tent and drink a nice bottle of rose wine!IMG_5076_s

Hermannsdalstinden with almost midnight sun.IMG_5073_s

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