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NORWAY    DIARY  2

Photos   Map & Plan   Diary 1  2  3

From the very north in Diary 1, I now head down the western coast.
8/8.
It is only 113 kilometres to my first sight; Alta and its museum. It start out as a greyish day, but then I get a few glimpses of the sun. This is the area with the small crippled birch, and as I expect the museum to open rather late, I take my time, stopping in many places.

Here are swampy plateaus, covered with grass, mosses and lichen and grassed by reindeer. Where roadsigns normally show the name and altitude of a pass, these show the name and altitude of the plateau - which is way more useful for the Sames.
Besides from the wild reindeer, roaming around, here quite some trapped in huge enclosures and the leaders with bells around their neck.

I reach the now open Alta Museum, and start walking out a trail. Then I realises; it is actually part of the museum, and I head back to the building to pay the entrance fee. Out again, I follow a boardwalk through some fantastic nature. It is in the bay of Alta, and is now a world heritage sight.

In 1970, someone discovered some figures carved into the smooth rocks along the water. It turned out to some of a lot, made from 2.000 to 7.000 years ago. One section is cleaned and the figures are drawn up in red. The other section is just cleaned. I see quite some of the figures, and enjoy the great nature and views over the fjord.

Back at the museum, I enjoy a cup of tea and read the little booklet I was given. Then I see the inside of the museum with little ethnologic exercitation and one with some modern art. The most interesting for me, is the old movie about how they produced tar. What a time consuming process, and a lot of hard labour!

At noon, I have seen enough, and head towards Tromsø, 400 kilometres south. It will take the rest of the day, and I doubt I reach the Botanical Garden before it closes. The first stint is 310 straight out of E6, which sounds a bit boring. It is fare from! It is one of the best stretches I have driven in a long time.

The endless line of fjords, small wooden huts, barren mountains with patches of snow, tiny fishing harbours, waterfalls, green meadows and now, the sun shines through the holes in the sky.  A bit strangely, the mountains are barren down here, where they were green way up north. They are higher, but not that much, I would say. Then again, some do have patches of snow on the southern side.

It feels like I'm driving along a huge river most of the time, but it is the deep fjords. In some areas, huge, round nets are the home for salmon in the fjords.
I see a lot of real tall waterfalls, but always on the other side of the fjord I'm driving along, and most times in the shadow.

The sun break permanently through, and I reach a fjord that is bright turquoise. Along with the dark pink flowers, it make a wicket motive.
Here start to be more and more bigger trees, and the temperature is raising, mainly because of the clear sky. I pass so many funny city names, like Hammerfest and Kjøllefjord.

The road head over an elegant bridge, then climbs over a low mountain range. Up here, there are many small lakes, overlooking the fjord way below. Some parts of the road are lined with four meter tall snow fences.
Many of the barns have a ramp to the second floor. Some are white, some red, some blue, some yellow and some almost black, as they have never been painted. They all have white window- and door frames.

The former signs warning about reindeer is replaced with some with sheep, and I actually see some on the road. Besides from birch, here start to be several other leaf trees. However, at a certain height on the mountains, all tress disappears.

A tunnel is closed due to maintenance, and like any other roadwork that requires a traffic light, there are a additional Follow Me Car. It runs every half hour, and I have 25 minutes to kill. I pull up the kettle and make a cup of tea while I transfer the first 500 photos of the day to the computer.

Then it turns out there are several road works on the detour, including one in a tunnel! They have a strange sense of humour! I stop at two waterfalls, not big ones, but with sun on. Then I turn off E6 and head west towards Tromsø. I look for a camp these last 75 kilometres, but only find the signs for one - but not the camp.

But, I have one lined up: Tromsø Camping. Tromsø seems like a town scattered around a big area, on both sides of the fjord. I find the camp, but it look like a big concrete yard, stuffed with campers. I ask for their prise, and the smiling girl say "350 kroner" - around €35. I say "No, not a cabin, but camping". "Yes, 350 kroner". The Norwegians have a strange sense of humour.

I head out pass the botanical garden, just to see if it is worth waiting for. It is not fenced in, and I make a tour around. It is small, and look most of all like the rock-garden section from another botanical garden. Pretty, but not really interesting to me. I need greenhouses...

I figure out; I can head another way out of town, towards my next sight, and hope I find another camping. I find a tunnel, costing 100 kroner, but here are none to receive the money. I guess they rely on the cameras and a computer, and I an convinced I will be charged.

 I end on a little island without any settlement. It have turned eight o'clock, and when I find a little gravel road behind some bushes, right at the beach, I call it a day. Well, except from the 622 photos of the day, and the diaries.

This wild camp feels so much more remote than Nordkapp! Several species of beach birds pass right next to the car, but here are no humans. Besides from the gentle sound of the waves, it is quiet. Just when I think the day have gone, I get the most incredible sunset, and it last for hours! Actually, until midnight. This is the first clear midnight I experience up north. The others have been cloudy. Northern Highway, Alta Museum, Highway E6.

9/8. Despite the fantastic sunset at midnight, the morning is dark grey. It have been raining earlier, and soon, it will again. I have a bit more than 200 kilometres to the Swedish border, and nothing in particular to see on the way. Well, part of the way is Kong Olavs Veg, but it is just a name.

Right after I leave my "wild-camp", I meet the first small farms. They only farm hay, and I see no animals at all. I get a few glimpse of sun, and everything look so cosy. Here are so many old timber huts, big wooden boats on the shore, meadows with lush green grass, mirror-like fjords and a few crippled forests.

I make a breath stop outside Bardo to see an old watermill and its feeding elf. Besides from the mill, there is a toilet in timber with grass roof and an ancient road sign. Bardu is almost a town, but I don't stop. On the other side, a gathering of old timber huts are found on a lawn.

The terrain get more rough and high, and some barren rocks start to line the road. Some, however, are overgrown with huge clusters of mosses, thriving in the rain. I get close to some of last winter's snow in the heights, and then the fog closes in.

I don't see much of these mountains, but what I see look great: It it true highland with sparse vegetation, tiny huts and on a clear day; Great views. I concentrate on the road a few meters in front of the car. It clears up on the other side, and I reach the Swedish border. It is significantly darker than it was at midnight!
Northern Norway.

From here, I enters Sweden, but I will return in Diary 3.

Photos   Map & Plan   Diary 1  2  3