Summer vacation

It’s been a while since I’ve seen my mom. Mom’s scheduled flight to visit me back in April was canceled because of the COVID-19 situation and I myself have travelled nowhere since March. Then came the day when restrictions were lifted, air companies started flying in Norway almost like before the pandemic (way more expensive though)

… and masks are a must wear.

Curious fact: It’s the first time in my life I’m wearing such a mask. They make you sweat around your mouth. But it’s alright, when it grants passage to a much needed vacation.

Some years back my mom moved to the coast of Norway. Since I haven’t lived here myself, coming to visit her almost feels like a vacation abroad. The weather is not at all like I’m used to in Norway. It’s actually HOT. The nature is lush and flowering. Staying at your mom’s as an adult, is kind of like living at a hotel with all inclusive servises, free coaching and an amazing view.

Mom’s home is really a pearl, as we say in Norwegian, overlooking the fjord, with a garden full of roses, peonies, lilies and even strawberries, which we have to compete for with the many birds who live in this area and happen to love red fruit for breakfast.

It’s a bit hard to explain how all this is a balm for my spirit without going into details about the difficulties of the spring. I’m focusing on the moment though. The sun is shining, the birds are singing even though I picked up this day’s harvest of strawberries first, bees are making love to the blooming roses and life feels quite wonderful. It’s summer and vacation time.

I wish you, my reader, wonderful moments wherever you are!

The weirdest Vardø

Vardø is basically located at the end of the world. Even the clouds today have the layout to confirm this statement, they rest like a kettle lock above this arctic fisher town and it’s 2000 and some inhabitants.

It’s like the car passes over from a land bathing in the evening sun beneath distant pink clouds into a shadowy world of brown hills and grey grass. There are no trees. Reindeer run across the road from time to time.

Welcome to Vardø town

You don’t see a lot of people. Urban winds have reached this rural place though. Hidden though town you can spot several murals, graffiti and other displays of creativity.

Pøbel (probably the most famous Norwegian street artist ever) invited several leading street artists from around the world to Vardø back in 2012. They arranged the art festival called «Komafest». I guess the goal was to wake Vardø back to life with graffiti. I hope they come back to repeat it someday.

Vardø’s history is rich and full of dark chapters. Vardøhus fortress was built in the 13th century. The place would witness some of Europe’s biggest witch trials 300 years later.

Almost one hundred people were burned for dancing with the devil under a full moon, learning dark arts from black cats and drinking bewitched beer…

Today you can read their stories at Steilneset Witch Monument where a light shines for every victim of the witch hunt.

Another noteworthy thing about Vardø:

It’s a senter for top secret NATO-activity.

See those balls in the skyline?

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They are radars, Globus I and II.

A third one is being built as you read this. A Russian Bitcoin Factory will soon open it’s doors as one of the closest neighbors to this new radar. American army families are moving into town, according to local media. A lot seems to be going on under the surface here. One of the houses facing the only road leading from the tunnel which connects this arctic island to Norwegian mainland, may very well be recording all comings and goings to town. I have a rich imagination and can’t help feeling watched, although I’m not sure if it’s the spies or the witches who are behind it.

What I am sure about is that Vardø is an inspiring place. It makes you want to think and write and paint.

I’ll be back.

Welcome to Bøkfjord lighthouse

Honestly, I thought I might faint climbing up and down hills to get to this place.

But the struggles were worth it.

Berries!
Also, we found tons of blueberries on the way!

Some facts:

This lighthouse, on the south side of Varangerfjorden, was established in 1910 as a result of growing traffic connected to the mining activities in Kirkenes.

During the 2nd World War, German troops took over the lighthouse, and before they retreated in 1944, the whole station was demolished.

When it was rebuilt after the war, it was given a modern, functionalistic style by the famous architects Blasted and Munthe-Kaas.

Bøkfjord was de-manned in 2006.

The view
Spectacular hike in Northern Norway…

The station is owned by the state and protected as a national monument under the Cultural Heritage Act.

The Coastal Administration is cooperating with local interests to facilitate alternative use of the premises, meaning: You can book it for a night!

Breakfast at Bøkfjord lighthouse
Breakfast at Bøkfjord lighthouse.

And if you don’t have the power to walk to this pearl of a place, you can call for a boat. As we did on the way back (not because of the «power issue» – some of us had to catch a flight in the afternoon, and boating back seemed safer than walking in order to make it to the airport in time).

Boat by Bøkfjord lighthouse
Hoho, got picked up by boat!

As the Norwegian saying goes: Everybody agreed it had been a nice trip.

The vacation galleries

The day has come!

As I left work today, I had this happy feeling in my tummy, called VACATION!

It will only last a week, but this I know: A week of vacation and traveling is worth many weeks of everyday life. My colleagues will barely notice that I’m gone, while I will feel that a lifetime has passed when I see them again.

Yay.

I’m celebrating by packing and looking up my old traveling galleries ❤

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Marked day, Seguin – Haiti

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Freetown Christiania in Copenhagen

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It always rains in Bergen

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Boat-tripping in Turkey

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Russian city-beach, Lipetzk ❤

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Dreamy Havana

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Bye bye, Holland

Where did you fly last time you got on a plane?

Eager. And not so much.

Back to the blog, eh?

Ready to spread my wonderful images and thoughts on the Internet. Or am I?

I’ve been inactive for so long that even uploading a photo seems like a huge task. And writing something is simply too hard.

I shot this photo of these two huskies last month. They are getting ready to race Bergebyløpet (article in Norwegian with my photos). Well, the one who is barking is ready, the one who looks surprised is like me, I guess: Not sure what’s going on or what to feel about it.

My colleague says he wants to print this photo and hang it on a wall. That makes me happy, it gives me hope that not everything I capture and create is crap, even though it often feels that way. That exact feeling makes blogging again difficult too. What do I share with an audience when all I have is cr… -less than great?

Is this winter blues? I look out my window and white is all I see…

End of depressing rant.

Thank you for reading.

Have a lovely Saturday night.

Arctic race

There are times when I am extremely happy with my job.

I’m quite pleased with being a journalist on most days, but some assignments make me think “Hehee, how did I get this lucky?”

Last week has been full of those wonerful moments. Because…..

I got to cover FINNMARKSLØPET!

What is Finnmarksløpet?

Basically, it’s the longest sled dog race in Europe.

Which means…

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1500 huskies

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Lots of really great people (I actually suspect that you must be a really good person to work and race dogs)

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1100 km of ice and snow..

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Petter Karlsson, winning the race >>

I shot all these photos working for NRK. You can find our coverage of the event on the internet and on TV.

Oh yeah, and check out my Flickr gallery if you love cute dogs 😉

BFFs
BFFs