Sunday, August 07, 2005

DAY 09 - fiords, blueberries and a waterfall

the weather has definitely improved - it even looks as if the sun might, just might, come out - if not now, then maybe, just maybe, later. we strike the tent and - go shopping. there's a shopping centre nearby, and i am lucky, they do sell fleece jackets, and i find one that fits and suits at least me, if not exactly my purse. *grumbles something about norwegian prices* but still, the promise of not ever being cold again in my entire life is too strong to resist!

we look for and eventually find the path up gangsåstoppen, the local midnight sun lookout point. along the path i am distracted by blueberries - loads of them! free food in such an expensive country, who am i to say no to such an offer? so the whole walk takes a little longer, but hey, who cares. the view from the hill is excellent - and the sun actually does peep out occasionally, the water sparkles, and harstad looks lovely with its snug, colourful houses. the girl at the tourist information the previous day told us that it does not really get that cold in the winter, only very, very dark.

a local i talk to on gangsåstoppen - who, of course, speaks "a little" (ie practically fluent) german - confirms that; apparently the temperatures hardly drop below -5°C (around 23F). the harbour is ice free.

after this walk, we drive down to trondenes kirke, norway's oldest stone church. a young couple are about to get married, they are having pictures taken around the church. poor girl, she's wearing a strapless dress - beautiful, but definitely not adequate clothing on a day like this! but at least the sun has come out for a while, which makes everything seem friendlier, and lifts the spirits!

roof garden?!

we walk around the cemetery for a while - and, well, some of the names make us smile and grin.

always been strange, that olsen ...

instead of driving the same road back to the E6, we opt for the scenic route along the water once we are back on the mainland. and that's definitely the right decision. it is simply stunning. with every bend in the road, the scenery changes, new mountains rise out of the water, new little bays, fiords, inlets sparkle in the sunshine, mist covers mountain tops, clouds hang low - or disappear. we stop several times just to look at the landscape.

light through clouds

near laberg we stop a little longer. while sepp's having a sandwich, i'm off down a little path, and find myself in blueberry paradise! more free food! (if there is a tractor gene in men, is there a gatherer gene in women?) then, as i am happily picking and eating away, i hear an odd sound, like snorting, and i cannot quite place the sound. i look around, but there's nobody there, and no animals either - there's only blueberries, a few crippled trees and bushes, and, of course, the fiord. the fiord ...

so i look down and - something comes up for air, and snorts! i stand transfixed for a little bit, and there it is again! and then i run to get sepp. together we watch our mysterious animal circling below, snorting now and again, barely visible. must be a dolphin, too small for a whale. seeing its dorsal fin peep out confirms our suspicion. a dolphin! not only blueberries, but a dolphin too! it comes back up a few more times, but doesn't jump out of the water or anything. (and i just checked - the sound is apparently called 'chuffing', and several websites say they do it when they are irritated or annoyed - not enough food? bad fin day?)

picking blueberries

we drive on, get back onto the E6 and head north. we stop at målselvfossen, a waterfall near andselv and walk around for a bit. it's quite beautiful and it'd be nice to stay there for the night, but the camground is crowded, there are mainly mobile homes, and when they tell us that there will be a party that night with live music, and there is no kitchen either, we decide to drive on.


we go as far as nordkjosbotn where the owner of the small campground makes an offer we cannot reufse - the basic cabins are available at a discount rate, so we decide to sleep in a real "house" that night - and i could do with some sleep!

as we settle in and cook dinner, it begins to rain. the area still looks great - the village seems to be tucked in among high, stern, rugged mountains, right at the end of balsfjorden. i go for a walk in the rain after dinner, and am once again amazed how light it is, even when the weather isn't particularly good and the clouds are hanging rather low!

day 09 photos

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