22 March 2010

In the Arctic

For the second time in my life I'm north of the Arctic Circle. Last time it was in Finland, this time it's Norway.

I arrived in Oslo last Thursday and only stayed until Saturday, as my urge to go north could not be restrained. After the diminutive capital of Iceland, Reykjavik, Oslo was a bustling metropolis of large museums, boulevards, parks, and monuments. Highlights included such things as Viking ships and Edvard Munch's famous painting, "The Scream," not to mention a visit to a karaoke bar with some fellow travelers staying at my hostel. "Yes," is the answer to your likely question.

I flew to the city of Bodø on Saturday morning, boarded a ferry, and arrived to the village of Stamsund and the Lofoten Islands in the evening. After almost two weeks of travel in the north I've finally encountered snow, layers of it. I asked around in Stamsund and found my way to a hostel, where I met a group of international students who study abroad in Norway and who were taking their own trip. They invited me to the dinner they were preparing and shared their stories with me.

On Sunday I discovered that no buses serve Stamsund on that day of the week, but rather than letting me stay stranded in that fishing village, the group of students offered me a ride in their rented car to the nearest town. After hitching the ride and offering a couple dozen thank-you's I took a bus from Leknes to the town where I currently find myself, Svolvær. Here I have a quaint and dockside private room with a view of the harbor, though a sudden snow storm can quickly turn things grey. Indeed, on the Lofoten Islands the weather can change from blue skies to a howling cascade of snow and back to clear skies all within ten minutes. Calling it unpredicatable only begins to describe the weather here.

I will stay until Tuesday evening, when I will board a ferry back to Bodø and then fly out on Wednesday morning. By that afternoon I should be back home in Eichstaett. The only remaining thing I desire with this trip is to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. I missed them in Finland, and hope that this second chance brings better luck.

Once I'm back in Eichstaett I plan to make some extended posts on the stories from this trip and, of course, with photos to help tell the tale.


Natalie said...

So cool that you found some travel friends!

Okay, so what did you sing?

Nick O. said...

Natalie: Check the Norway post to find out.