In May 2016, when we were asked to renew the contract of the studio flat we live in, me and Isa sat down and had a talk. None of our routines was exactly as we pictured it when we moved to London, but, in general, we were not happy with the quality of our lives in this city. Hence we said out loud something that has been on both our heads for months: we wanted to leave London behind and move back to Berlin. It immediately felt like our heavy shoulders got slightly lighter.
We spent years talking about how hard we both wanted to spend some time traveling before trying to settle down somewhere. It was obvious that the time had come. And South America seemed to be the perfect choice.
Aware of the 4 months of summer ahead of us in the South American backpack adventure, we thought we could spend the week we had booked off in August somewhere cold. We invited Polly and Jacopo, our Helsinki based friends and creative minds behind Lintustudio (www.lintustudio.com), to join us in what was supposed to be a journey to the Faroe Island, which soon became a much more doable trip to the Lofoten Islands in Northern Norway.
That’s how the Norwegian adventure started!
Jumped on a plane for Oslo on a Friday night and walked under a starry sky from the central station to our Airbnb accommodation, a quite stereotypical Scandinavian OCD paradise, while deeply breathing the pine tree scented chilly night air. For the first time in months we fell asleep and woke up completely immersed in the sound of silence. Such an awesome and completely forgotten feeling! With only half day on our hands to explore the city before taking a plane to Bodø, we decided to take advantage of a beautiful sunny late summer morning to stroll around the city centre. We left the off the beaten track spots for the last day of holiday, before our inward flight. I visited Oslo already in 2005 with my father and I remember not being particularly impressed with it. This time around I couldn’t help but appreciate the livable, slow paced and avant-garde vibes it emanates. Funny how your daily routine and habits play a leading role in the way things and places are perceived and experienced.
If you happen to be in Oslo, walk few blocks away from the touristy bits to taste yummy cinnamon buns and butter and jam on freshly baked bread at the locals favourite Åpent Bakeri til Inkognito Terrasse (http://www.apentbakeri.no/inkognito-terrasse/).
Landed in Bodø, located just north of the Arctic Circle, didn’t take long for me and Isa to realise that, once again, clothes-wise, we did it all wrong. Especially when Polly and Jacopo, who have travelled by car from Helsinki, greeted us at the airport entrance in technical gear! We never learn… In the 4 hours journey on the ferry to Moskenes, near the southern end of the Lofoten archipelago, we had enough time to catch up with each other’s lives. Luckily for Polly the crossing turned out to be not as rough as predicted by her Airbnb hosts. The fierce silhouettes of the crooked peaks towering over a bunch of black clouds were the first thing we saw on the horizon while we were getting closer to our destination. The dimmed dusk light didn’t stop us from greedily watching out of the window to get a first taste of the Lofoten’s legendary wild beauty. We reached our rorbu, Norwegian for fishermen’s cabin, when it was already pitch dark and spent the first of a long series of cozy evenings feasting and chilling out on the couch.
When you pick a place like the Lofoten islands you have a very specific kind of holiday in mind. Mainly characterized by silence, isolation and jaw dropping views. Our first day lived up to the expectations. We hopped from one picture perfect fishing village to the other (Å, Reine, Hamnøy…) and stopped by stockfish racks and awe-inspiring dramatic scenic points around the southern west islands of the archipelago. A perk of picking the off peak season was the lack of tourists around and the even more exclusive interaction we experienced with the surroundings. One of the highlights of the day was the traditional village of Nusfjord, properly defined by many the pure essence of Lofoten. We got also charmed by the melancholic ghostly atmosphere you breathe while walking around the derelict cabins and warehouses in the small harbours of the isolated fishing villages. We asked ourselves many times how it should feel to live a life in such places but we weren’t lucky enough to find a soul to ask.
Nikon N55, Petzval 58 Bokeh Art Lens, Kodak Portra 160/Fuji Superia 200/Fuji Velvia 50 (35, expired), 27-28/08/2016, Oslo/Lofoten Islands (Norway)