Monday, October 3, 2011

Trophies from Troms

Summer is long gone, especially in Northern Norway. It lives on only as memories and photographs. In July I spent ten days discovering a new national park and an old island society. Rohkunborri and Senja. That's right. Even in Norway there are places where even just their names make you want to go and see them for yourself.
The first part of the journey I did with my father. He wanted to revisit a number of mountains he last saw up-close fifty years ago, and he needed someone to go with him. "Someone" turned out to be me, and we accomplished everything we planned on. We made it to the top of Stor-Ala, we hiked the Sørdalen canyon all the way to Sweden and back, and we stood on the top of Istinden. I don't know if it was better in any way fifty years ago, but looking at my photos from this year's trip, I doubt it.
While my father stayed in his childhood town and showed off his blisters and bruises, I went by myself to the island of Senja, a mountainous place surrounded by the ice-cold Arctic sea. Although it's close to a statistic impossibility, I got two days in a row reaching more than 30 degrees Celsius there. It was so beautiful that I almost didn't let myself sleep. Day and night I explored the island, enchanted by the local nature. Crazy tooth-like mountain peaks, intensely green hillsides, porpoises playing in the sea, eagles just sitting around, smiling fishermen and locals that clearly were not used to tropical temperatures, dressing in military boots and underwear to go to the beach.
I couldn't get enough of it. I will have to go back and continue my trip eventually. Senja is just as mesmerizing as the more famous Lofoten islands, but it gets dramatically fewer tourists. Do give it a try if you ever get the chance. Bring a tent, so that you can sleep wherever you like and whenever you need it. It's quite easy to get there. Just fly to Tromsø or Bardufoss (cheap flights from Oslo), rent a car and get going!
All right. Done with Troms. Who's next? Oh, hi there, Morocco! (I'll be back shortly with more.)
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