Thursday, 26 August 2010

back to Kiruna

Woke up around seven again. Had breakfast and started descending. The way back to Nikkaloukta was easier than the other way. Maybe because I knew the distance and the trail. Reached Nikkaloukata and caught a bus to go back to Kiruna. The hostel I stayed at before was full so I stayed in another hostel called Yellow house. Guess what, it's yellow.
I walked 70kilometers or so in three days. For me, it's quite amazing. Like I said before, there are people who does this for much longer term in a harsher condition.
It was definitely unforgettable three days in my trip.

picture: reindeer, snow. taken yesterday

Wednesday, 25 August 2010


Woke up around seven. The night wasn't unbearably cold, but it was cold enough to wake me up a few times. Had breakfast at the hostel and started the hike to climb Kebnekaise. It was snowing since I got out of the tent…it's August… I checked the route on the map at the hostel. It showed some trails and what I had to do was to go west. There were a few hikers at the start but soon I was alone. Snow, reindeer and massive mountains. After walking for couple of hours, two guys were walking toward me. I said "hi" as usual, and he first said something in Swedish. I said "Sorry, I don't understand". Then he said something very very strange. A bit philosophical, he said "where, tomorrow". hmm… what did he mean. It was really tough for me to guess what he wanted to ask. I said I'm staying at the hostel, it doesn't make sense but I thought I have to say something. Anyway, I think it was the wrong answer, he started walking again. Maybe I should have said "be patient my friend, tomorrow will come, be patient". Communication breakdown.
After walking for three hours, I started to wonder whether I was going the right way or not. Still, I believed that there would be a sign which showed the way to the mountain. Four hours past, a sign! It said Kebnekaise 14kilometers… it meant the hostel. I knew it, I walked around the mountain I wanted to climb. BUT, I wasn't disappointed at all. The nature surrounded me was magnificent. Snowcapped mountains, reindeers staring at me as I walked around them, cold wind, lakes, snow. It was so WILD. And that was what I wanted to see. Superb.
I walked for 30to35 kilometers. I admire the people who does this everyday for a week or sometimes a month. Must be super fit.
Checked in at the hostel and slept in a warm and comfortable bed where there are no wind or sound of rain.

picture: taken near the sign said 14km to kebnekaise

Tuesday, 24 August 2010


I stayed in Kiruna for two days. Thought about leaving on the 23rd, but at the hostel, I heard that the highest mountain in Sweden is near Kiruna. So I did some research and decided to climb "Kebnekaise", the highest mountain in Sweden on the 24th.
Took the bus to Nikkaluokta from Kiruna. From there I had to walk about 20 kilometers to the hostel. With my backpack, which has many stuff I don't need for hiking or climbing mountain. Anyway, I started the hike around half eleven and reached the hostel at Kebnekaise almost five hours later. The track led me to the hostel wasn't too bad. Sometimes rocky but much better than what I imagined. I couldn't book a night at the hostel so I had to sleep outside in my tent. It is free to camp outside but I preferred sleeping inside in a warm bed. The weather forecast at the hostel said it's going to be somewhere around -4degrees. I wore everything I had.

picture: taken the next day during the hike. it's snowing!

Sunday, 22 August 2010


After changing buses for four times, we reached Nervik around nine on Friday. We took the last beds in the hostel for the night. I had to do some research for the whale watch, how to go to the point and when it's open and stuff. But the internet at the hostel was super slow. So I decided to go to the information center the following morning. So, after having breakfast, we went to the center but it was shut…not again. Everything is shut on Saturdays too. Got back to the hostel. Tried the super slow internet to check the bus timetable. I found out that it is possible to go by bus. But I realized the timetable I was looking at was for Sunday. So, final option, car hire. The car hire place was next door so I walked there to check but it was shut. I thought about hitchhiking to the whale place but I simply decided to change my destination. To Abisko. Hour and a half ride on the train from Narvik.
Took the 14:50 train which goes all the way to Stockholm. Crossed the border during the train ride. I couldn't spot an obvious difference. Few minutes past four, the train arrived at Abisko. There I departed with my friend. He's going to Stockholm, eighteen hours on train. Gone around Norway with him, more fun to have a company to travel with. Also good to have a friend around so that I can speak Japanese as a first option. Now I'm back in the Englishness.
Abisko was more civilized than I imagined. Hotel and a tourist canter just by the station. I was going to camp near the station but they said I can't, unless I got out of the national park. So I camped at the campsite they offered. I was worried whether my sleeping bag was warm enough in this area. The result was, it was the limit. I wasn't too cold but I didn't feel warm and comfortable.
I went for a short hike in the morning and came back to the station to catch the train. Which was canceled for the day. Why! But there was a bus coming to pick us up, and I didn't have to pay for the ride. So, it turned out to be a good news. The bus took me to Kiruna. I'm staying here for a night and head east on the train tomorrow.
picture: taken at Abisko

Thursday, 19 August 2010


We visited Nordkapp a few days ago. Too late to see the midnight sun but the arctic sea, the freezing wind and the symbol of Nordkapp welcomed us to the most northern point of Europe (I'm not sure but they said so). Couldn't believe it's still summer, we were shivering from the cold. It was somewhere around one degree centigrade. Got back to the hostel after walking around the place. We planned to come back in the evening to see the late sunset but the weather wasn't doing good so we stayed in. Came back to Alta again to return our car. On the way back to Alta, there was a guy on the road with his thumb up… of course we gave him a lift.
We returned the car this morning and going to leave Alta tomorrow morning. Going to Narvik. We can catch a train to Sweden from there. Before entering Sweden, I'll go bit more west to the Norwegian sea to see some wild life. There is a point to see some whales and if I'm lucky enough, I might be able to see some Killer whales.
picture: above, Nordkapp. below, Reindeer

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Arctic Circle

We left Stryn on Saturday afternoon and moved to Oslo airport by bus. It took almost nine hours. Reached the airport before midnight. Slept for a bit on the airport bench, which was surprisingly quite full. Woke up around five this morning and did the check in and luggage drop and other flying stuff. Flight from Oslo to Alta was two hours. Sleep for a bit and we were already there. Cold air. This ain't no summer, it's like winter in Japan. I forgot, we entered the Arctic. We missed it but up here in July, the sun stays up all night long. The midnight sun…nifty name.
Our aim up here is to go up to Nordkapp, or North cape in English. And to see some world heritages. Everything is far apart so we decided to rent a car. The nearest hostel is 15km from the airport. No thank you with my backpack on my back. Luckily, there was a car available, super small Toyota. Since we were starving, we decided to go shopping as soon as the check in was done. Again, it's Sunday!! Nothing is open. Only gas stand was open so we bought pasta and sauce for tonight. Still not use to the "Sunday, impossible to shop."
Now that we have a car, we have the freedom to go anywhere we want. For a kick off, we'll go up north to Nordkapp tomorrow. I bet it's going to be cold. The natives says it's warm today… if this is warm for them, I don't want to know what cold is like.

picture: Iris, taken back in Bristol.

Friday, 13 August 2010

The walk

Two weeks has passed in Norway.
We are now staying at Stryn, six hours to the north from Bergen. We visited two famous fjords from here. Geirangerfjord and Nordfjord. We cruised through the Geirangerfjord and walked up to the glacier of Nordfjord. Both were amazing but looking up the glacier and waterfalls were Super! My top two fjords would be Lysefjord where we hiked up to preikestolen and Nordfjord where the glacier is.

But before we left the last hostel(Mjolfjell), something we'll never forget happened…
That day, we went to Sognefjord. From hostel, we took a train and rode to the ferry port which cruises through the fjord. Descending almost 800m on train and the view from ferry was absolutely stunning. After the ferry trip, we hopped on a bus and got back to Voss, located about one hour on train from hostel. But the last train had already departed. We knew this but came to Voss anyway. We thought that there should be some way to go back to hostel. Our next option was to hire a car for a day, so we went to a information center and asked for a car hire place. But the information he gave us was an address of a kayak hire company. So, with "?" in our head, we asked for a real address for the car hire company at the kayak place and walked there. Shut. Sunday, nothing is open on Sunday. phew… now what. no train, no car, we asked how about rent a cycle but no. Only option was to walk. If it was like ten km or so we would start walking with no hesitation but the distance we had to walk was more than 40km. yikes! After a short rest with coke in our hand, we started the walk. First three hours of the walk we wasted by walking the wrong direction. We were walking with our thumbs up but no one stopped. We got back to Voss again. Maybe it was nine or eight o'clock by then but I'm not sure. We made another short mistake but finally got on the correct road. By then, the sun was almost behind the mountains. After that, we walked and walked. Sometimes stop at the station to rest. A car stopped but his destination was very near so he drove off. Thanks anyway. We passed a "26km to hostel" sign. Oh, boy we walked. We reached a station called Urdland around midnight. We were short on water so we thought there might be a tap. But more than that, there was a house with light on. I think it was station manager's house. I saw a guy from the window but I think he went to bed soon. No luck. We were exhausted by then. No way we could continue. We thought maybe the next station is better so we started walking again. Pitch black. The night has come. We walked another hour and reached a station. There was a small hut with light and bench so we decided to rest and wait for the first train next morning. The time was somewhere around two or three. It was cold but we caught the train next morning and walked six km and got back to hostel around ten. Although we couldn't make it all the way, we walked 40 km or more all together. Never walked such distance and maybe there was other option but we had fun time and we'll never forget those road we walked.

We are going to Oslo next to fly up to Notdkapp.
picture: above, glacier. below, at Urdland station

Saturday, 7 August 2010


Nature in Norway is amazing!
I met my friend from Japan in Bergen. We moved to Stavanger from Bergen and went to Lysefjord. The hike was about three to four hours round trip and it was super view all the time. Our destination was
preikestolen, rock with flat top about 600m above the sea level. No fence or rope around it so some nutters would sit on the edge and look down… rumbling stomach just looking at this action. Quite a sight though. I felt dizzy but it was definitely worth the hike and the height. One of the greatest seen in my trip so far.
We moved to a place called Mjolfjell yesterday. Planning to visit two famous fjords from here. Love the nature in Norway! Hope we'll see more of the greatness.

picture: from preikestolen. difficult to tell the height from it but it was breathtaking.

Sunday, 1 August 2010


I walked around the city of Bergen today. Visited Bryggen, the old wharf of Bergen and now a world heritage. Very nice town with colors and mountains around but it rained heavily.

a guy started talking to me when I was writing this. he suddenly sat beside me and started talking. he isn't a bad guy but I'm very bad at writing and listening at same time, hard to concentrate. so it's a short post. "so you like whale meat?" that's how he starts a sentence. my brain is about to pop, his accent is hard and he hums.

picture: Bryggen