Crossing into the Arctic and all things in between
Our fast paced world has facilitated our inability to stop and appreciate the world we live in; it is a common trait we are all responsible for. Boundaries become smaller every day and technology is only ever improving, it can be hard to escape from it all.
Starting our cruise up the craggy and dramatic spine of Western Norway, it is here I began to truly escape and appreciate wilderness at its best. Being the outdoorsy type (particularly useful when you work on a sailing yacht) I have forever craved dramatic scenery, fresh air and adventure. Norway has successfully provided me with all of these and much more.
Norway is famously beautiful for a reason and quite literally takes your breath away. Its fruitful collection of iconic fjords and dramatic coastline creates the perfect recipe for breath-taking scenery. These deep, narrow arms of clear water stretch for miles sculpted by glacial ice surrounded by steep rugged mountains covered with sparkling granite, lush greenery and pockets of snow. With a clichéd postcard perfect backdrop, cruising up the West coast of Norway has been none other than jaw dropping. The glossy tourist brochures and iconic photographs do not do any part of the stunning coastline near to enough justice. To really experience these incredible scenes you have to get within its three-dimensional glory and the fresh mountain air that comes as a package deal. There has been inspiring scenery at every turn, full with astounding natural wonders. If the huge promise of adventure wasn’t in place already, the scenery itself is enough just to sit back and admire. Our first leg of the journey was the cruise from Bergen to Bodo crossing into the Arctic Circle where the final part to start from Bodo across to explore the Lofoten Islands. If the scenery up from Bergen wasn’t enough of a visual feast, reaching the realms of the Arctic Circle added a whole new definition to ‘epic views’. As we reached the momentous latitude reading of 63 degrees North the peaks started to become razor-edged and covered in snow. The realms of the Arctic filled our lungs with crisp and clean air and our mind was cleared staring at the great vastness in front of us.
Pictures which tell a thousand words
And how true this saying is when you have the delight of photographing Norway. I could not put my camera down the whole time we were travelling Norway, of my 2000 photos from Norway every single one captures a different edge of its epic scenery. Being an enthusiastic amateur photographer myself I thought it would be a tragedy to visit one of the alleged most beautiful countries without a good camera. With a good camera (carefully) in hand, I was never short of the perfect settings. Sailing up the coast of Norway allows for multiple ‘stop to shoot’ moments, and there wasn’t one of these moments that I wasn’t in awe of its sheer beauty. Although no matter how many perfect shots I have there isn’t one that can capture the extent or the amazing scenery I have seen first hand. With each anchorage and every new village we came across, the photo opportunities were endless. From towering mountains, lush greenery to the reflections of the calm deep water and the pockets of lingering Arctic snow. Traveling throughout Norway in the summer months means that you can also benefit from the midnight sun, with perfect light conditions.
With the sea playing such an important role for Norway it is no wonder that this is reflected in their gastronomy. Our first night anchored in the picturesque Kjeoy was where we got a first taste for authentic Norwegian fare. One experience that will stay with me for a while, following a rough day at sea we were invited to a locals cabin where we gorged on freshly caught crabs and drank the night away with Aquavit (Norway’s national tipple) The fish or fisk theme continued the whole way up the coast, stopping in Bergen we visited the famous fish market where there were vendors selling all sorts of freshly caught produce including some rather large king crabs – which I am sure were genetically modified. From the sea to stable land, gourmet wilderness played a big part in our Norwegian delicacy test tasting. We took every chance to build an open fire within anchorages that had uninhabited islands or picturesque beaches as a base – think reindeer sausages and marshmallows.
A right to roam, everywhere…
With its stunning backdrop it is refreshing to know that you can explore any part of this beautiful country, allowing you to immerse yourself into full wilderness. With this comes the pure fresh air and adventure, which Norway has at every turn. The land and sea together make for a truly adventurous country, hyaking – kayaking to the hike was perhaps my favourite activity.
Cruising by boat has to be the best way to see Norway, getting to places you can only reach by boat and exploring uninhabited islands makes the adventure that bit more magical.
Leave wanting to return
The country by sea has been amazing, now when to pencil in a Norwegian road trip…
August, 2015 (Norway)