North Norway 2005

This is a picture diary of a trip into the north of Norway, into the Arctic Circle (or Polar Circle as they call it here). The offer of a trip here was more than I could ever hope for, having dreamed of a visit to this part of the world for many years. The cost of getting there is a little high, but it is an offer that cannot be refused, so I intended to make the most of the opportunity, and joined Jonny, Moose and Claudio on a holiday to Hamarøy.

These series of 279 pictures (1001 before weeding and combining) will unashamedly concentrate on mountains and fjords. My Heaven. They will also contain many panoramas. When you look at the fullsized pictures, remember to scroll to the right if needed, so you can see the rest of the picture. Also, if you use one of those annoying browsers that likes to resize pictures, you will want to either disable that feature, or manually reset each panorama to normal size (usually you are offered a button to do that when you hold your mouse over the picture).

Before I begin, I offer my thanks to Jonny for providing the opportunity, to Claudio for being a patient driver, and to both of them for putting up with the repeated shouts of "Oh! Stop, stop! Please can you stop here? Must get a picture!". Also, I offer my thanks to our hosts, for their more-than-generous hospitality.

The area we were staying in was Hamarøy Kommune, nestled in under the immense chained island mountain ranges of Vesterålen and Lofoten. The trips consisted of visits to various parts of Hamarøy, and the neighbouring Steigen, Tysfjorden and Lofoten Kommunes. Here, the sun never sets for 2 months of the year, and never rises for another two months.

Don't let the Arctic Circle fool you. We left Oslo's unpleasant 36°C temperatures, hoping for something cooler. And it was cooler. 12°C at most. But it was just recovering from rainstorms, and now the endless sunlight was busy warming things up again. During the day, it is a little too hot for comfortable walking, and it is best if you can convince yourself to walk at night when the sun is lower. No matter what time you walk, you will want sunglasses, and sun protection. And you must convince yourself to sleep as often as normal, it is very easy to lose track of time.

You will have to forgive any pictures taken toward the sun, some are intentional, but often it is just a simple matter of that was where the sun was at that time of day. Since the sunlight can come from any angle, there will always be some mountains that are in the wrong direction. But it creates some beautiful colours. The evening glow can last for several hours; the alchemist that turns the mountains from granite into gold.

I have a logical mind (or so I like to think). Everything is based on rules. Rules that my mind must put together in an appropriate order to achieve an answer. I love to see artistic minds. They do not follow rules. They follow what they want to, think what they want to. They intrigue me. Children are the most proficient at this. Their world is as limitless as their imagination, and has not yet been broken down into rules.

For me, nature is a child at play. It builds mountains that it cuts into irrational shapes with ice. It builds lakes and rivers that take the most inconvenient routes to their destination. It rolls clouds over them, hurls light and storms at them, just to see what will happen. "Look at me", it says. "Look at me - see what I have done". And I look.

Look, enjoy, and treasure these pictures, from the Land of the Midnight Sun.