Previously: Northern Norway: Whales sightseeing
Windy night, early wake-up. Long day road, heading north, still, first to Andøya. The small west coast road is amazing (one said we could see whale along the road! Not today apparently. But lots of birds again.) Midday in Andenes, not a lot to see. Ferry boat to Gryllefjord, with grand standing fjord at destination. Small pass-by in d, but nothing really spectacular. The road north on the 86 is just amazing, fjords everywhere. Huge cliffs falling into the sea, squared world. We took some pictures, but the really is so much better. Quick stop in Hamn, lovely British high standard harbor for rich sailors. The place is pleasant, but we won’t sleep here. And couple of kilometers away, along the road, there is the tallest troll in the world. Tourist joke. We go on.
Crash plan for tonight, we need a camping, shower and laundry, it starts getting dirty in the car. Lovely camping in a fjord found in Skatvik, after 15 km of dirt road of the 86.
Day hike in Ånderdalen park today. Gray is the day color, cloudy it is. We’ve got no map, but a bad quality mobile phone camera picture taken in a shop yesterday. We’ll do with that. The trail starts between Svanelvmaen and Sifjord, 6km from Sanelvmaen. The Svanfjellet trail, the three swan mountains. The view on the top of the first one is stunning. We can even see the fjords on the west coast. The weather getting worst, the second swan is still a bit further, we’ll stay there, and go back down from where we came. But the view, despite the weather, was worth it.
We’ll hit the road 86/862/861 (yeah yeah, still north). Lots of fjords again, the most amazing being for me Ersfjord and Medjord. Once again, we trusted our guide book (Routard) and went to the small village of Mefjordvaer. Same feeling than all other small villages here, that’s not what we came for. The landscape is much more interesting in this part of Scandinavia. However, the small top north of the village provides a nice overlook of the fjord!
We’ll go to Fjorbotn camping tonight (camping yeah, luxury tastes). Shower is required after the morning hike. Camping with fjord view, what else!
Day 8: Tromsø
Seagulls “singing” all night, morning sun changing the tent into a sauna. 7am, time to get up. Last chance for the Routard, we’ll go to the village of Husøy. Better grade for this one. The road arrives over the fjord down the village, providing and nice overview. Nice spot, with a little lighthouse at land’s end.
Ferry boat from Botnhamn to Kvaløya, 45 minutes ride. Today highlight is Tromsø. First real town of the trip. We’re not used to it anymore… getting lost in all the tunnels and roundabouts, looking for the Tromsø University.
The University museum is really interesting, with a part dedicated to northern lights, and another to the Samis, the historical local population, reindeer hunters. The arctic church on the other side of the bridge is also worth it.
Diner time, looking for a restaurant… woooh! I forgot Norway was so expensive… Ending up with pizza slices from 7-Eleven… Talking about typical food… Hitting the road again, towards Alta to find a place to crash. We’ll find a very nice camping at Sørbotn, at the end of a fjord, dream weather… 10pm, sun still close… The night will be good!
Heading to Alta. We’re in The North. Glaciers are coming very close to the sea level. Passing by Skibotn, micro-paradise, 27°C, on the sea slide, campings everywhere, glaciers falling into the blue sea on the other side of the fjord. Just “Waaaah”, what’s this place!?
We’ll have a “rest” day today, with less ride time than the previous days. Taking some free time close to Burfjord. Evening and night on a dream spot with a perfect view on the Badderfjorden, perfect for sunset.
During the night, we’ll get a guest in our spot, a reindeer having diner five meters from our tent.
Day 10: Alta
Today destination, Alta. On the way, unmissable stop at the Øksfjordjøkelen glacier, that once upon a time was touching the see. Not anymore… Long walk to reach the foot of the glacier. The view of the glacier is impressive all the way.
Road again to Alta, passing by our northern-most point of the trip (Isnestoften, >70°N). Lots of reindeers on the road.
In Alta, we went to the main city attraction, the museum, with its cave paintings, with lots of unknown meaning, leaving free opportunities for mind’s imagination. Also, the museum includes a part on northern lights mythology and present ongoing studies. Good time in this museum (mostly outdoor for the paintings), with good piece of information.
The rest of the town, apart from the shopping center doesn’t looks very attractive. Also, Alta being quite touristic, the camping places are expensive and ugly… We won’t stay long, but the night.
Tomorrow, heading south for the first time… The end is close.
Day 11: Kautokeino:
Routard extract: “Ceux qui font une thèse de 3ème cycle sur la vie des Samis iront y faire un tour, les autres s’y ennuieront un peu”.
Everything is said. But the Canyon… 15km hike in a all-flat place, north of Kautokeino. where is the canyon, it’s all flat… with reindeers really everywhere. Amazing animals, shy, not shy, interested, eager to get closer, then running away, … but look soooo stupid (confirmed by locals). After a hour or so of flat land, it starts getting down to a view point, over the awaited canyon. Nice lunch spot, all alone (but the reindeers).
Heading back to the car, then 25km of dirt road to reach Kautokeino. 3000 inhabitants, 100000 reindeers. Nothing to see, go on. Just spending the night here, in a “wonderful” (sarcastic tone) camping… Maybe just a look to the kind of flee-market-museum-artisanal-shop Juhl’s Silvergallery. Looks like Ali-Baba cave.
Day 12-13-14: Finland/Sweden, the way home
The landscape is changing, getting below the Arctic circle, the forests are back, endless straight roads in sandy forest (looking similar to the French Landes), welcome to Finland. Mosquitoes and reindeers, nothing more! Reindeers are always in the middle of the road, conscientiously following the line, imperturbable by the car honking behind (did I said it was a stupid animal?).
Night in Tornio, close to the Swedish border. 9pm, it’s night, where is this *** headlamp, I forgot what it was used for.
Tomorrow, we’ll give the car back, take the plane from Luleå to Stockholm.
Last good bye to Stockholm. It’s raining all the rain we did not had in Norway (better here). For me, it’s the end of a three years stay in this amazing city (and country). All my life stuff waiting to be carried back to France, A bike, a couple of luggage, … heavy as hell!
Moving on! France, here I come (back)!