20 Jul Clouds and Cloudberries
We all generally have expectations of a part of the world we have not visited before, gleaned from our school geography classes, documentaries, postcards received or just simple imaginings. I was absolutely certain about what to expect on the west coast of Norway in July; a bright blue sky, views from the deep fiords of towering mountains capped still with a little snow, gleaming glaciers and of course the midnight sun. On arriving in Geiranger, our first port of call in Norway, I was stunned by the drama of the landscape……yes, here they were, the mountains towering high above the fiords and the diminutive town sitting on the tiny piece of flat land available. We drive to a number of spots in the area navigating many hairpin bends, Mt. Dalsnibba being the highest point and because it was only slightly cloudy, we really did see the Norway we were expecting. After this relatively successful weather day, things took a slight turn for the worse. One of the highlights of Honninsvag in the far north of Norway, is visiting the North Cape and it was definitely a spectacular spot, but boy was I glad to be wearing thermals under my fleecy pants and a hooded down jacket with a wind proof rain jacket on top.
A quick sprint to the edge of the cliff, some hasty photography and then back into the Nordcapp center for the movie and serious troll shopping! I should add that the area reminded me very much of north west Scotland and Honningsvag is a delightful small town, like a tiny Oban.
At this point let me mention the midnight sun or lack thereof. Sure it was light ALL night and at times the vistas were beautiful, especially seeing the North Cape area from the ocean, but we only caught mere glimpses of the odd ray of sun desperately trying to peek from behind the clouds and fog. I had expected to actually see the sun at midnight.
Instead I was treated to days and nights blended as one into many shades of gray which I began to realize had their own special beauty: swirling clouds, wispy strands of mist and fog, dark silhouettes of the tall mountains and cliffs, and the ever changing hues of the choppy ocean and the lake like deep fiords. We visited a number of spots on the coast of Norway, all exhibiting their own special character and landscape: bleak tundra, verdant forest, emerald green pastures, abundant wild flowers, sheer rock faces and waterfalls cascading from precipitous heights.
As we sailed we could see colorful homes scattered by the fiords on flatter land cocooned between the deep waters and the steep mountain sides.
The towns here mostly dominated by the fishing industry and to some extent, tourism, are wonderful to stroll around and enjoy, with their colorful houses and quaint streets.
I loved the way many people decorate their windows with a hanging lamp, flowers and other pretty items. From seeing the splendid views in the Geiranger area when the clouds had just cleared, to spotting some bright cloudberries nestled in the grass we certainly obtained a good overview of this part of the world.
If the skies had been clearer I would have seen that famous midnight sun but would I have observed so much? Perhaps I would have been so absorbed by the immense views and high peaks that I might have missed the subtle details of my surroundings and instead of spotting the cloudberries I might have squished them beneath my unsuspecting feet.