Monday, September 29, 2014

Film from Norway

I just got a roll of film developed from a couple of different trips over the past year and I'm really pleased with the results. I find the photos I take with a film camera have more meaning and purpose, as I know they are expensive to develop and I have to trust my alignment, film speed, etc. are all in order. It takes more work and I find it more rewarding.

Anyway, the first set of photos I will post and discuss are from my trip to Norway early this year. I went towards the beginning of January and returned in late February. I split that time between Paris as well, so no, I wasn't in Norway for a month but rather 2 weeks. I didn't see the actual sun until my second week there and it felt so strange and wonderful to see it again. I got to visit my friend Annika, bum around her grandmother's adorable farm house, sleep in freezing temperatures (my favorite) (no really), visit said grandmother (who is in her 90's), knit, visit towns, and participate in many other adventures.

This is the frontyard. No, really, it is! You cross the street and this is what is there. You look out the window in the morning (yes this is the morning and also a few hours before the light would disappear) with your feet in hand-knit chunky socks and your cup of warm herbal tea and look out to this. It is as dreamy and unreal as it sounds. I want to relive this moment over and over again. 

At night, and until the early hours of the morning, you can look out the window and hopefully catch an incredible aurora borealis show. I was so lucky with the one I saw. It moved all across the sky, was bright green and swirled in the most unbelievable way. We also got some red in there, as you can see from this photo. I feel really lucky to have captured this moment. Annika and I were running all over the yard like madmen. This night was truly magical because my fingers were frozen, the moon was so bright, and the wind was pretty fierce so the northern lights were moving rapidly across the sky and I was worried I wouldn't capture all the incredible moments. Visiting Scandenavia is expensive but as you can see it's so worth it. 

This is a pretty awesome picture which shows 1) how insanely bright the moon was (bright enough that you could see around you pretty well in the middle of the night) and 2) how full of stars the sky is there! The area we stayed in (roughly) is called Andøy. I say roughly because honestly I have no idea. The area is so small and hardly anything is labeled. We were near a really cute town called Sortland which was full of wonderful people, including the sweet Camilla who knitted a sweater for me at my request! It was a sleepy, dreamy little town and I really hope I can go back again someday. 

The best thing about all of this is the older generation doesn't really get tired of seeing the northern lights. When I met with Annika's grandmother, who we call "farmor" (meaning grandmother from her father's side and is pronounced far-moore), we talked about this incredible light show. I'm glad the locals don't ever take this beauty for granted. Farmor also taught me how to knit, let me shower in her awesome shower, and knitted me a few pairs of socks. She made us waffles to eat with cloudberry jam (so good, let's not think about it or I'll cry) and she also had a coffee break what felt like every hour. She also is probably more active than I am, which is saying something because she's like 95. I feel spoiled having known her for only a few weeks, everyone should have a farmor in their lives.

After a week of being there we went on a whale safari. This was totally cool though I warn anyone who doesn't like roller coasters or who has neck or back problems to NOT SIT AT THE FRONT OF THE BOAT. Phew, that was tough. We used Sea Safari Andenes which I highly recommend. Maarten is awesome and knows the landscape really well. He's also amazingly caricatured. He would guide the boat with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth, he has curly grey floppy wavy hair, his outdoorsy coat. He's just a nature guy from the Netherlands and it's great. He's very nice and takes excellent nature photos, particularly of animals. You can buy prints from him of past photos, as well as photos + a USB of your whale safari adventures. 

If you want to see puffins, go in the summer. If you want to see whales, go in the winter. 

I met a British nature enthusiast who was on the other boat (two go out) who took photos of us. He e-mailed me those as well as some bonus whale pictures. The photo above is his work, thanks David! 

I know I took more photos of the whales but that might be on another camera roll. Also, the picture above the whale photos was taken in Andenes, which is at the top of Andøy. You will eat the freshest and bestest fish there. Annika's brother Jeremy lives their and he is a fisherman. I never ate fish before but I ate the fish Jeremy caught and cooked! It also helps he's an amazing chef :) That town had one great cafe with free wifi, you should go there. It was called Jul Nilsens Bakeri & Konditori as. They have some delicious baked goods and hot drinks. Around the corner from that are some good clothing stores and an excellent knitting store. 

The last photo I'll share is one of this town. This was the first time I had seen the sun since I'd been to Norway, and this is the effect of the sunlight hitting the side of the mountain. This was on our four hour drive down the Lofoten Islands, to the very end of the islands, to a little place called Å (pronounced oh-uh). We got to stay in the fisherman's cabins which I highly recommend! Very cool and cozy and right by the water. My goal is to come back to the Lofotens in the summertime because they are truly breathtaking. Then I'll be able to hike and be more outdoorsy because in the wintertime poor Annika wanted to hike but I was so grumpy and only wanted to stay indoors.

That's all the photos I'll share for now. If you are ever in the area, send me a message if you want to know anything or if you have any comments to make! Listen to Radio Bø for me (you can also listen to it online if you want, which I highly recommend), go get soaps and AMAZING treats from Alveland, which is also a bed and breakfast and would be an incredible experience for anyone, and enjoy the Fjords and beauty that Norway offers! 

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