Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology


17.4.11
  The Farthest North

Here's the second of the three 'glimpse into my photo collection' posts (the first is below this one), with pictures from north of the Arctic Circle. It was really still winter there, but since it's past the equinox, the days are already long and there's an extended period of twilight, the blue hour. But due to the west coast weather, there often was a lot of fog and haze.

Snow covered mountains near Tromsø

There was a neverending array of those in all shapes and sizes. Long stretches of the route go between islands and the mainland, and that way you often get mountains on both sides. It made the Hurtigruten possible in the first place, since the Arctic Sea can be very rough and dangerous in winter, albeit the navigation in the sometimes small passages is tricky as well (at least it was in times before GPS).

Gisund Bridge

Gisund Bridge is a 1147 metres long cantilever bridge that crosses the Sound of Gisund and connects the island of Senja with the mainland. There are several bridges, both cantilever and suspension, that are part of the road system these days, but the Gisund bridge is one of the largest. Its main span is 143 metres at a height of 41 metres above sea level.

Ishavskatedralen in Tromsø

The Arctic Cathedral is one of the landmarks of Tromsø, the largest town north of the Arctic Circle. It was built in 1965 by Jan Inge Hovig. The eleven aluminium-coated concrete panels resemble the shape of ice shoals, and the large windows at the east and west sides allow for lots of light to come in during summer time (though the east window had to be replaced by a coloured mosaic because there was just too much light).

'Blue hour' on a surprisingly calm Barent Sea

I had expected the Barent Sea to be stormy and was a bit surprised I caught it at a very calm time, but thus it gave me that beautiful blue twilight instead of storm grey. At that point of the journey we were further east than Istanbul - it doesn't look like it on most maps, but a globe may show you how much that upper hook of Norway tilts eastward. Norway keeps one time, though the time zone of that area is technically Moscow time which made for the odd experience of daylight at 2.30 am in April.

Dog sleighing near Kirkenes

This was a really fun excursion. I had booked it in advance which was a good thing because there are limited slots. You got to sit in a sled that was guided by a musher and drawn by eight tail-wiggling Huskies with goofy grins who just wanted to run and didn't like to stop, which we had to do several times because our team was faster than the one ahead of us. I can't blame the dogs; I liked it fast, too.

Ice sculptures in the snow hotel near Kirkenes

There are several snow hotels in northern Scandinavia, the most famours is the one of Kiruna in Sweden, but the Kirkenes hotel is very pretty, too. It has 20 rooms that are all decorated differently, and an ice bar. The beds are shaped of snow and ice, but the coverings looked comfortable enough. Though you proabably have to stick your nose under the pillow if you don't want to look like Rudolph the Reindeer.

Vardøhus fortress

Vardøhus is the world's northernmost fortress. The first fortification can be traced back to the early 14th century and was built by Håkon V Magnusson during the conflict with Novgorod. The present buildings meanwhile date to 1738 - 1825. The fortress is still used by the army, though there has never been any fight during its long history. It's actually a quite charming place due to the style of the houses with their rustic grass roofs.

Impressions from a bus tour through the Vesterålen

A bus tour through Hinnøya, the largest island of the Vesterålen archipelago, provided a good chance to get a different perspective of a little bit of the country. The bus did stop a few times, but I managed to get a few decent photos out of the running vehicle (I'm getting better at that, it seems) like the above.
 
Comments:
Some great images, thank you.
http://woodsrunnersdiary.blogspot.com/
 
Wow wow wow! Great pics! So glad you had a good time!
 
Thank you. Yes, I had a great time - and there were no birch pollen around, either. ;)
 
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Miscellaneous musings of an aspiring Historical Fiction and Fantasy author. Illustrated essays on Roman, Dark Age and Mediaeval history, Mediaeval literature, and Geology. Some poetry translations and writing stuff. And lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes from Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and the Baltic States.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.

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Location: Germany

I'm a writer of Historical Fiction and Fantasy living in Germany. I got a MA in Literature, Scandinavian Studies, Linguistics and History, I'm interested in Archaeology and everything Roman and Mediaeval, an avid reader, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, and photographer.


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