This is probably the toughest time to live in the north. It feels like the spring will never arrive. We’re in May. My feeds on social media are filled with green grass, bare toes and balcony beers that belong to people living outside the Arctic Circle.
Meanwhile up north:
Last Friday I woke up to a white world. On the previous day, I was wearing sneakers, for the first time in six-seven months, celebrating the winter finally being over. Hah!
Looking at the bright side: The sun is back. Next photo was shot at 11 PM.
This weekend we finally got to see two digit numbers on the thermometer – Saturday was 16 °C. People were actually walking around in t-shirts and I have a strong feeling that we will see the trees covered with green leafs very soon.
This entry ended up being all about weather…
We talk a lot about the weather around here and during one of these regular daily conversations, only that this one happened with a foreigner at the scene and therefore in English, I was told this joke: “You know why they call it May. Because it may, you know. It may snow, it may rain, blizzards may be, may be sunny, it may May”.
Somewhere in between sleep and reality last night, I remembered a cow. Nice thoughts followed. I couldn’t convince myself that I would remember them in the morning, although I really tried, and so I wrote them down:
Writing, documenting, publishing. It’s a nice method to process life and an excellent way to remember the important things.
It’s funny how one of the scenes I remember most clearly from Haiti is the skinny cow from this post:
This cow was shared because I encountered her while being absolutely high on happiness. I get closer to that space just from remembering that overwhelming grateful feeling. I love you cow, I felt. And feel.
The essence of this entry?
When you realize that your spiritual cow guide probably is a bull, don’t miss the point. If you can find one reason to smile right now, don’t overthink it – just do it.
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.
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…
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.
For years now I have watched footage filmed using drones, musing about how cool it is to be able to get a bird’s view of the world, to see your neighborhood from a totally new angle – What a time to be alive for a photographer, I thought.
And so, I decided to buy a DJI Air, because it’s tiny and therefore very portable. #instantlove. Deciding turned out to be much easier than buying.
Far up north, where I live, it takes a while to get your hands on a drone. I did consider ordering online, but I happen to be one of those people who need to touch expensive technology before making a purchase.
Weeks went by before I found an electro shop that actually had the Air in store. They couldn’t sell it me though. Their model was only for display… #thenorth
In the end, I found a drone to grope and buy on a journey to the Capitol (read: Oslo, where northerners should never-ever shop, because we need to support our local businesses or risk a ban from the community).
After finally-FINALLY flying my drone for the first time, I realized one thing:
I’m a shitty pilot.
I’ve watched tutorials on YouTube. I’ve learned the joysticks. But my brain refuses to understand how all that connects to flying.
Have a visual on your drone, they say. I get that. But I never get what’s the front and the back of the thing. And how do I keep a visual on the controls at the same time as watching the drone?
I wish I had played more video games as kid, but it was not considered to be a productive activity back then. I’m pretty sure it still isn’t in many circles. My drone problems however, remind me of those frustrating times when I actually got to play video games while visiting friends. I remember feeling like a retard. Let all kids play with technology, I say.
Moving on. What I lack in flying skills, I hide with skillful editing.
!!! DON’T watch this if you are in danger of suffering an epileptic seizure !!!:
Oh, how I hate not being instantly good at stuff. I’ve given up on a lot of things because they didn’t come easy, especially when I was younger. Fortunately, I’ve learned that the pleasure of mastering a challenging skill through hard work brings more satisfaction than being a natural tal is awarding as well.
The clue is figuring out which areas you want to conquer and then work toward that. That’s way better than spending time on useless activities where you happen to excel. I’m very good at building homes for my Sims, for instance, but I’ll prioritize flying my drone instead.
You’ll hopefully see the results. Eventually.
PS. In case you wonder what I did instead of gaming: Handball. I also often play-pretended to be on a disco with my BFFs on top of a roof next to school, smoking stolen cigarettes and arguing about who’s turn it was to play «the boys».
Feel free to share embarrassing stories from your childhood in the comments below 😉
Honestly, I thought I might faint climbing up and down hills to get to this place.
But the struggles were worth it.
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 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!
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).
As the Norwegian saying goes: Everybody agreed it had been a nice trip.