I came for summer home to Finland. I had also decided to go and explore Norway, finally! It takes only a car trip to go there. And I was amazed how there opens a whole new world in Norway! Norway is amazing, pure, beautiful, dramatic and drastic! It feels like the Vikings have cut the borders just in front of Sweden and Finland: “We’ll take the mountains!” Because it felt a slightly boring in a way but as soon as we got to Norway it was just “sights and sighs” – almost for two weeks! There’s a lot to see. This time, we concentrated on the north part of Norway.
We drove to Norway through Tornio/Haaparanta and Sweden’s Lapland, then moved from Kiruna to Narvik. It took some time to drive in Sweden, so we had a night over and tried how it feels being in Sweden’s Lapland. We had a good time! We found a really nice lake to stay at – a place called Camp Alta which is just before Kiruna. We went to sauna “to bada bastu” – Swedes just had to steal sauna and make it bastu, I don’t get it! And of course, I swam even the lake was quite freezing. I decided to swim in every swimming spot during the trip no matter how cold it was! The night was very light; we were so up in the north already.
Before hitting the road to Norway, we did some grocery shopping in Sweden to serve our purpose which was to do some camping. Of course, we had heard how expensive it was in Norway. I think it was in the grocery stores – but I thought some prices were quite ok – for example, diesel – you could find a rate close to Swe/Fin there. And we didn’t need to do camping in a tent all the time because we found relatively good cottage/hotel prices. So it was nice to stay warm when it was chillier. Food in the restaurants was quite pricey, though, and beer was yummy but very expensive! We were wondering what kind of salaries do average cashiers get there in Norway. Unless they’re great they can’t have any nights out…
Our route was this: Lofoten, Andoya, Senja, Tromso, Alta, Hammerfest – before heading from “Finnish Maiden’s ear” to Finland’s Lapland to Inari area
So we started by exploring idyllic Lofoten, which is such a sympathetic set of archipelago villages by the sea and countryside with mountains/fjords. There are amazing sceneries when you drive there – all the way to the furthest spot, sweet village of Å, and back. You are driving through very long tunnels to get forward – they must have had a lot of work and money to build all those. The longest tunnels we passed was 6,4 kilometers, but I’ve heard there are more than 20 km tunnels in Norway! Lofoten is full of red wooden cottages in beautiful settings, sheep and flowers are everywhere – both natural and those planted nicely in the villages. Nature smells so fresh and so clean clean! And the chilly water of the small lakes and creeks is drinkable. Big beaches by the Norwegian Sea are fantastic with fine white sand, but air and water is a bit too chilly for sunbathing/swimming! Still people are surfing, and there are actual surfing spots in Lofoten – Unstad is famous for that! And to be honest, it looked like a Norwegian version of Hawaii. There are even the beautiful lush green mountains around. But if you go there, remember the thickest wetsuit you have!
In Lofoten, we visited a Viking museum in the old Viking town Borg. It was a good experience and in a beautiful spot too – on a hill with views. We also visited the oldest fishing village in the world – Njusfjord. Such a charming place, but it was a cold windy night when we went there. That’s why I’m packed with clothes in the pics and look like a terrorist haha! I love the small little adventures in life: it felt like that when, after having an ice cold beer in Njusfjord, we went and found a little-hidden treasure where to camp! It was the most beautiful camping spot, and there was no one there! We could start sleeping and hear the little stream next to us and start fishing right in the morning. Still no one there. We had good timing in Norway in general because there weren’t many people and tourists. Even it was July. Is it always like that? I was talking about “peace, rap and just us” when we could drive around on the quiet roads in the evening and listen to the national rap show on channel P3! Awesome. Norway is seriously some peaceful travelling!
Andoya – the whale spotting island
From Lofoten, we drove to Andoya Island, which is very sweet too but we stayed only one night in Bleik near Andenes. On a way driving there, it was interesting how the landscape kept changing. The mountains only got bigger and bigger, there were huge mountains but open country too, wide rocky strand with lighthouses but sand beaches as well. There was some real swag with this scenery! Fairly soon we then took the ferry from Andenes to Senja, because the sea was rough that we couldn’t go and see the whales on the cruise. In Senja, we saw a lot of porpoises, though – the small tiny whales, looking like dolphins but darker. Their face looks funnier, though. They look like baby whales. I could adopt some!
Extremely beautiful Senja
Senja is so crazily beautiful! I have never visited a place like that. I saw the most amazing sunset in my life there. The whole sky was just like a colorful painting, and there was like a god’s hand painting it! I did high five him. It’s always a pity to leave that kind of place like Senja behind. No matter where you went on that island, everything was WOW. There were all the natural attractions there; fresh lakes, the sea around, mountains, forests, fields, creeks, lights and shadows… I can’t express it. You must see it yourself!
Tromso, Alta and Hammerfest
The only proper city we visited was 72 000 people Tromso – the most northern university city in the world that also has the northest brewery. I named Tromso a feather city because there were really like feathers flying there – just everywhere. I don’t know if it was some summer pollen season, but it felt special. I liked Tromso; there’s a good atmosphere in this trendy city. And a lot of small cozy pubs and cafes decorated in a nice way. I did some expensive sale shopping. We ate good sushi made of Norwegian salmon and whale – I didn’t like the whale and the thought of it! And then we continued to smaller Alta and Hammerfest. Alta was quite beautiful historic 20 000 people town with some ancient rock carvings – people had drawn them 6000 years ago! Themes were hunting, fishing, picking berries and quite simple things like that, haha! But very relevant things; I wanna go back to that era and cut this modern bullshit! I’d rather have Whattawowworld on the rock carvings! From Alta, we decided to go and see Hammerfest, but we could have skipped that. At least on a shitty weather, there was nothing to see. Kareinen didn’t even allow me to swim in the Arctic sea. Boring.
Easy ride from Norway back to Finland
What I loved in North Norway is that there are so many great different things to see in a relatively narrow area. And that there is grass growing on the roofs or the mailboxes everywhere! Soooo cute! People are very friendly and helpful – and the same goes with people in North Sweden. I was amazed how good vibes you got from them. They are very tourist friendly folks. In general, tourism was very well handled – there were good signs for the scenic routes, a lot of stopping spots on the ways and security was in good control (bicycling people could, for example, get a yellow vest before the tunnel). What was friendly as well was that you could camp free anywhere – there weren’t forbidding signs like in Finland. What they could advice more, would be marking the walking paths, etc. so that it would be easier to do some random hikes. We didn’t do long walks because there was so much to see and too little time. What I was wondering in Norway, is that how they have so many different places with the same name? Many Å.s, Bo.s, Borgs etc. Confusing.
Without getting an answer to this mystery we then arrived back to Finland’s side and spent the last two days hiking in Inari. Visited town Inari and stayed in a hotel in Saariselkä where we did the Kiilopää hike in the Urho Kekkonen National Park. Finland’s scenery looked quite even after royal Norway, but of course, home is home, and you have this attachment no matter how crippled it gets. As rugged is nature are is its folk. You have to be tough in Finland.