After few days spent in the ghostly wilderness of Vesterålen and an incredibly long drive, we crossed the majestic bridge that links the mainland to the island of Tromsø and drove uphill through blocks of old wooden houses to reach our straight-off-the Ikea catalogue Airbnb accomodation. 400 km north of the Arctic circle, home to polar nights and midnight sun, Tromsø was like an energising breath of fresh air. We walked down the harbour in time to witness the sunset’s reflection in the calm fjord’s waters and to stroll around the city centre and discover an unexpected amount of pubs and clubs (it is an university city, after all). The night went on with fancy Arctic/Spanish fusion tapas at the locals favourite Presis (http://presistapas.no/) and with homemade Norwegian waffles with cream and strawberry jam (God bless our host for providing us with a waffle maker and all the ingredients).
Brightened up by the first sunny morning in about a week, we went straight to Fjellheisen (http://fjellheisen.no/en/), a cable car whose upper station offers the best panoramic view of Tromsø. Totally worth it.
We decided to spend the rest of the day driving west through the mountainous island of Kvaløya. We followed a scenic road which crossed uninhabited valleys and bordered small fjords, and eventually led us to the small and peaceful island of Sommarøy.
A bit of sadness was in the air: the time to say goodbye to our friends, Polly and Jacopo, who had planned a backwards journey to Helsinki through Finnish Lapland, had almost come. We celebrated the Norwegian adventure we shared with more salmon and with a ridiculously expensive can of beer.
Back to Oslo and to a decent end of summer temperature, me and Isa got immediately rid of the extra layers of clothes we had worn for days to keep ourselves warm. We had a whole sunny day on our hands before flying back to London in the evening and we were determined to make the most of it.
Following a Norwegian friend’s advice we visited the hip handicraft second-hand market at Blå, grabbed a bite at Mathallen, a beautiful food court in Scandinavian style, and chilled out in the bordering park. We then marveled at Munch’s “Madonna” and “The Scream” at the Nasjonalgalleriet and walked down the harbour and feel the festive sunday vibes while on its promenade, from the avant guard architecture of Astrup Fearnley Museet to the Akershus fortress. Cherry on top of our 15 km walk around Oslo: the Opera House at sunset.
My only regret was not having enough time to show Vigeland park and its unique statues to Isa. Well, I guess it gives us a reason to go back someday!
Norway lives effortlessly up to your expectations. The cities are clean, relaxed, organised and show some breathtaking and innovative pieces of architecture. The landscapes are to die for: dramatic, unique, powerful and unspoiled.
Just one tip: stopping by at the airport’s duty free for some booze is definitely convenient, the taxes on acohol in Norway are just crazy. Of course you’re free to play your best radical chic and spend your nights partying with hot drinks. Up to you…
Nikon N55, Fuji Superia 200 (35)/Lomochrome Purple 100-400 (35), 2-3-4/09/2016, Tromsø/Sommarøy/Oslo (Norway)