Nordic Nanas North of Narvik – Norway

Why do we love these wild, cold places of the north so much?  We both feel drawn in by the landscape and people of this country that feels opposite to Australia in so many ways.  But both have vast horizons, extreme temperatures and wide open skies.

We took the SL night train to the end of the line – as far north as we go go via rail.

Why does this landscape make our hearts race?

Canadian writer Margaret Atwood expresses it best:

BECAUSE WE LOVE BARE HILLS AND STUNTED TREES
by Margaret Atwood

Because we love bare hills and stunted trees
we head north when we can,
past taiga, tundra, rocky shoreline, ice.

Where does it come from, this sparse taste
of ours? How long
did we roam this hardscape, learning by heart
all that we used to know:
turn skin fur side in,
partner with wolves, eat fat, hate waste,
carve spirit, respect the snow,
build and guard flame?

Everything once had a soul,
even this clam, this pebble.
Each had a secret name.
Everything listened.
Everything was real,
but didn’t always love you.
You needed to take care.

We long to go back there,
or so we like to feel
when it’s not too cold.
We long to pay that much attention.
But we’ve lost the knack;
also there’s other music.
All we hear in the wind’s plainsong
is the wind.

(Originally published in the Irish Times, September 2015, in a project asking poets to respond to the work of WB Yeats.)

 

Travelling up through the north of Norway into Swedish Lapland  and then back into Norwegian Lapland – Troms County – was such a magical, dreamlike experience our eyes were hurting from being on their stalks so much and our mouths dry from being open in awe.

Superlatives are not enough – you have to save your pennies, beg, borrow or steal and get over here…

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Sweden by rail – Scan Rail Pass is a great deal if you like train journeys…

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our sleeper cabin – 16 hours Sundsvall to Narvik
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iron ore mine at Kiruna
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monument to the workers
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sunset 3.45pm
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beautiful train
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end of the line
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Abisko National Park Sweden

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caravan park on the edge of the world
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ice skaters appear as moving dots on the frozen lake

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more caravans
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morning time on the SJ Night Train
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Lapland
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roads across the mountains
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bridge over frozen waters
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all waterfalls now frozen
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the deep valley below

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At the end of our 16 hour overnight train journey from Sundsvall Sweden to Narvik – we were met by the lovely Torunn who kindly drove us the hour to our accommodation in Grosnes on the edge of a fjord….check out the listing on airbnb – highly recommended and it is managed beautifully by the local village. They are so generous and happy to share their time – even leaving a leg of wild lamb and organic home grown vegetables – thank you Magnus!

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4614586

 


Captains Cabin

Gratangen, Troms, Norway

In Captain’s Cabin you will be a part of great architecture, art ,dreams, future, history, adventure and magic. Situated by the wooden sculpture of Morgans Skip, close to the fjord and under the “B…

 

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Torunn introduced as to Captain’s Cabin
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we can’t believe our luck!
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Nettie waiting for the Northern Lights – that ‘tricky lady’

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we could watch the lights from our bed in warmth and comfort – outside temps have been between -3 and -7 celsius!
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Morgan’s Skip – art installation commemorating Caption Morgan pirate of the Caribbean read all about how this art work that was meant for Jamaica ended up in the Arctic Circle…

https://translate.google.no/translate?hl=en&sl=no&u=http://www.morgansskip.no/&prev=search

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small whales live in this fjord called ‘Nise’ after the Norwegian word for ‘sneeze’ as this is the sound they make through their spouts
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Captain’s Cabin is the “Rasta Fjords Summer Cafe” in ‘Little Jamaica’  in the warmer months -and accommodation in the cooler ones –  an innovative community project by the local enterprising Norwegians

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frozen dandelions
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Troms is known as troll country – this is not one of their homes…people believe that many rocks and stones are actually trolls who cannot exist in the daylight…

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ice crystals
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a village in the distance
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lots of ducks

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the photographer finally gets photographed!

 

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here she comes again…

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morning light

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Nettie modelling her Nordic scarf which she knitted with yarn bought along the way…baby alpaca and silk – so soft and warm
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