Week 8: Goodbye Scandinavia (Norway)

It’s hard to believe June has ended already. Time and distance have stopped meaning anything to me. Every day is something new and it’s getting hard to keep track of things. After the peace and quiet of the farm, city-hopping is another world.

My last full day in Norway was spent walking on a glacier. The whole experience was surreal and amazing but the main thing I took away from it all was how FAST climate change is affecting the planet. The Glacier I was on shrunk by 80m last year alone. It’s a terrifying thought to think that one day there might not be any left at all.

The next day I headed to Oslo, after the price of the bus to get to my hostel I decided not to bother and to try to hitchhike all the way. Now people who know me will know that I like plans and order. I’m habitually early for everything and hate not knowing what’s going on. Hitchhike small distances is one thing, this was the biggest leap into the unknown I’d taken.

Leaving the hostel I get a lift with a French couple to the local town, Sogndal. It’s raining and the wind is a little cold. Not the best weather to hang about by the side of the road. The thing about Norway is that even in the rain it is an easy place to wait for things, the constant changing of the scenery and the beauty that surrounds me is enough to make waiting for an hour by the side of the road is almost pleasant. An old Norweigan man picks me up and takes me over the ferry to about 20 minutes from the main road. I wait for over an hour by the ferry until I’m picked up again and dropped off on the main road between Bergan and Oslo.

I’m not there long when a van stops and the man driving offers me a lift… All the way to Oslo. It’s a 5-hour ride over the highest mountains in Norway. Kjell, my lift is one of those people who genuinely cares about people and we talk easily as we drive. At every turning point and stop, he tells me what the plan is so I always feel safe and enjoy the ride.

I basically skip Oslo and the next day take a train to Stockholm. I arrive at the hostel past midnight and sneak into the room.

I enjoy Stockholm as a city but find it hard to get to know anyone in the hostel. I meet a Ukrainian girl on a walking tour who I get along with and we spend an evening and a day together. The medieval and historical town is interesting. I enjoy walking around and seeing it in the sun. But I feel a bit isolated. After my time in Norway, it’s like the happy bubble I have lived in burst. Norway I felt totally free. Everything was easy and fun. Stockholm feels more limiting. It’s not so much because it’s a city but I don’t have the easy confidence I’m used to when traveling.

I miss Norway and the mountains, I find it easier to be alone when in nature. I wonder if I did the best bit first and the rest if my trip won’t be able to hold up to the experiences I’ve already had. I tell myself to remain positive, Sunday I board a ferry and head to Poland. I’m glad to be leaving and moving on. I’ll miss Norway but I’ve had enough of Stockholm. I just hope Gdansk will help me feel free again.

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Hope you enjoyed,

With love,

The girl with the braid in her hair xxx

Week 7: To the Fjords

When I was getting ready for this trip I indulged in many google maps and hostel world sessions trying to find places to go and stay. Normally I would get excited at about half 9 in the evening when I got home from work and then forget to go to bed as I was too busy looking up hostels and cities. When planning the Norwegian leg I knew I wanted to go to the Fjords after I left Lofoten, I didn’t really look into how to get from one to the other I simply set my heart on doing so and then stumbled across a perfect looking hostel, Eplet, in the village of Solvorn a mere 1300km away, 1700km by public transport.

I had given myself a few days to get from Lofoten to the Fjords. I left the farm on the 16th and hitchhiked to the town of Å, the end of the road in Lofoten. (Literally, the road doesn’t go any further.) I camp out overnight by the side of a lake and wake up to watch the clouds pour over the mountains at the other end. I spend a day exploring the town then hitchhike to the ferry terminal only to discover I got my timings wrong and have 5 hours to wait for the boat.

It’s cold and there’s nowhere inside to wait, just some picknick benches and a slowly growing line of cars and campervans. There is a woman with a bike waiting as well and we chat a bit but she leaves to get warm and see if she can find alternative accommodation, I pace up and down in an effort to keep warm, tiredness seeping into me. I want to sleep and be warm, I envy the campervans and the cars the ability to choose whether to be outside or in. It’s too cold to sit down and read or knit but pacing makes the time seem to drag by. Thankful kindness comes to my rescue in the form of a German lady in a camper van offering me coffee, it’s the kindness more than the coffee that makes the difference and the time seems to speed up.

I stay in a hostel overnight. creeping into my room at gone midnight and leaving the next day to board a train to Oslo. From Bodø it is an 18-hour train journey to Oslo. The scenery is amazing so the time moves quite well considering I’m cooped up on a train and I get a little break to stretch my legs at Trondheim where I change trains. I manage to sleep a bit on the overnight stint to Oslo and get into the city at about 7 in the morning.

Oslo doesn’t hold too much appeal for me so I skip it and head to the bus station after breakfast. I almost have a heart attack at the price of the bus ticket, I thought I had got used to Norweigain pricing but this one hit me. I enjoy the trip over the mountains and the bus is comfy enough. At the change point, I choose not to wait for the second bus and instead hitch a lift with a truck driver the rest of the way. By this point, hitchhiking has become my prefered way of getting about partly because it’s free but also it’s more interesting. The truck driver drops me at the end of the road the hostel is on and I got coffee and a chocolate biscuit during the ride.

My overnight stop is in the village of Flåm, the town itself looks like it was once a nice place. small wooden houses and a marina but it’s now a stopping point for cruise ships and as such is flooded with slow-moving tourists and souvenir shops. My hostel is quiet and out of the way, there is only two of us in the dorm and so it’s a perfectly good stopping off point. In the morning I walk to a local waterfall and then find a less busy spot on the marina to read my book and have lunch before getting a boat across the fjord.

The boat is really busy and it seems everyone wants to be out on the small deck to watch the mountains fly by. During the boat trip, I came to the important realization that I had fucked up my planning and had left myself with a night with nowhere to stay. The hostel I choose several months ago looks like paradise and I had wanted to stay longer anyway so I just hope they have room for me for another night.

I’m glad I’m only the boat for an hour before disembarking it’s too busy to enjoy it properly. At the small village, it stops at I debate taking the bus but it feels too expensive so opt to hitchhike instead. I get a left most of the way to the hostel I’m staying in easily and start to walk down the road to the village. I get part way down before getting another lift, this time with the ower of the hostel I’m staying in.

Eplet is a small paradise, there is a climbing wall in the kitchen and a slackline in the garden. The dorm room is small but comfortable and the whole place just feels friendly. After 4 days of traveling, I know the effort has been worthwhile. I’m able to get the extra night and so have 4 full days. On the first one, I sleep late then go to the shop 5km away and buy food for the week and cook. I enjoy having a slow day and I know my body needs it. While I’m stronger than I could have dreamed of being a few years ago I still need to be careful.

The next day I set out for a long bike ride down what is known as the dramatic road. The whole thing is 70km but I don’t go all the way. The road follows along the side of a lake, steep mountains rising up from the water. There are very few people about and for the most part, the only sounds are me and the crashing of water in the distance falling down the mountainside.

It’s a great way to spend the day. The weather is a bit unpredictable but I enjoy it and by the time I get back the sun is making a good effort to push away the clouds. I’m tired but in a way that makes me feel human and happy. For so long tiredness was a constant and now it comes after acceptable things, like 50km on a bike.

It’s hard to believe I’ve spent almost two months in Norway now, or that I will be leaving for Sweden on Wednesday. Time is moving so fast and things going so well it’s almost hard to make sense of. But time keeps marching on and by the end of next week, I will be on a ferry heading across the water to mainland Europe!thumbnail_file3-1thumbnail_file4-1thumbnail_file5thumbnail_file6thumbnail_file7thumbnail_file8thumbnail_file9thumbnail_file1064637992_2652570948087636_2420791645613064192_n64671082_2652570838087647_10914100309655552_n64774514_2652570398087691_515185016532107264_n64823121_2652570591421005_7875880761323159552_n64911465_2652570464754351_8852538796672024576_n65089188_2652570794754318_3015371327340019712_n65113140_2652570484754349_4503745402855489536_n65185414_2652570608087670_7988149239345577984_nthumbnail_file1-1thumbnail_file-2

Hope you enjoy the pictures!

With love,

The girl with the braid in her hair xxx

Week 6: Leaving Aalan Gard

I have settled into a comfortable routine, working, walking, hitchhiking wherever I want to go. Life on the farm is easy. I work from 9 till 3 with an hours break at 12. Everyone sits around the dinner table at 3pm for the main meal of the day chatting together. The goats wonder on the mountainside coming back each evening to be milked. The weather changes constantly, one-day brilliant sun, the next howling wind and freezing rain. It’s perfect.

I’ve enjoyed my work, being outside every day feels so good. I’ve mainly been working in the garden. It’s not something I would normally do at home but I’ve enjoyed it. When I first arrived in May the beds were covered in grass and the summer plants living in the greenhouse. Now the garden is full of new life. I dug up and re-planted a huge bed of peppermint plants single-handedly and I know I leave behind a much nicer space.

I’ve spent days picking birch leaves in the wood. It’s been one of my favorite jobs despite the bitter rain on the first day I did it. Being out there filling an old fashioned basket with leaves for tea was immensely satisfying and relaxing. On the last day, I was out in shorts and a t-shirt, the sun beating down on me, my hands covered in sticky sap and a smile on my face.

On rainy days when the wind has been blowing fiercely, I’ve worked inside packaging herbs and tea mixing. Everything is done by hand, from drawing flowers on the bags to pulling apart the paper ribbons to make them look more attractive. It’s not hard work but it’s so time-consuming it’s easy to understand why they have been having volunteers on the farm since the late ’80s.

I lived in an old, small house, built to accommodate the many children Knut’s (the guy who owns the farm) parents had. There is nothing modern about it at all but despite the flooding on rainy days, and spiders in every corner I like it.

If I’m honest there is little about life here that I don’t like, chasing Klara the pet pig, out of the garden is I think the most stressful thing I have had to do. The price of food is crazy but I haven’t had to buy much and it has reminded me how much I take for granted.

London has everything near at hand, you want chocolate you go out a buy it, run out of milk? no problem there’s a shop open till 11 round the corner. Here you see how simple life can be. It’s 8km to the shop too far to walk for me after work, to get there I have to get a ride with visitors to the farm. Vegetables are few and far between and my main foods become eggs from the chickens and goats cheese.

When I leave the valley to see a different part of the islands I’ve been hitchhiking. And I’ve often been asked why I choose to come to work on a farm here. My initial reasons were to do with how expensive Norway is and that it was the only way I could get to spend some proper time in Lofoten but it’s become more than that.

My hosts live in quite a traditional way, it’s a small farm and all of the family are involved with running it, even the young grandchildren show people around and work in the shop. I’ve tasted food that I would never have chosen if given the choice and enjoyed most of it.

The goat meat was from young goats slaughtered by Knut on the farm. The dried fish was difficult to eat but tasty (you have to de-bone it yourself, the family are all experts and after the 10mins of work ate without coming across a single bone, I had one every mouthful despite taking twice as long trying to get them out). The moose mince was nice and fish tounges a little gooey but tasty. I wasn’t a fan of milk dinner, which we had every Saturday, a tradition in the north of Norway. And whale meat was hard on my conscience but it was already cooked by this point so there is no point letting it go to waste.

I’ve spent 6 weeks submerged in Norwegian farm life and I loved it. In some ways, it’s hard to say goodbye to Aalan Gard, but I know in many ways the adventure is only just beginning.

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I hope you have enjoyed this weeks post, next week everything will have changed!

Love,

The girl with the braid in her hair xxx

Week 5: A girl that I used to know

Being ill teaches you a lot. For me, one of the main lessons was to learn to define myself not by what I did but by the choices I made. It wasn’t an easy lesson. For years I saw myself as a climber, a mountain girl. That was where I was happiest. That’s where I felt most at home. But suddenly I couldn’t do these things I couldn’t be that girl and if I wasn’t her who was I?

But I learnt and I adjusted. I learnt to choose to be happy and make the best of the life that I had. I missed the mountains but I could be content without them. For 4 years I lived in London, with little outdoor space and crowded streets. I learnt to be myself away from the environment that I loved, but when I started planning this trip, mountains were a big part of the itinerary.

Arriving in Lofoten I was tired from 2 days of travelling. I sat in the car on the way to the farm trying to look in every direction at once to take in the scenery around me. Despite my exhuastion, I felt happy, I was back in the mountains.

4 and a half weeks later I decided that I need to sleep out on the hill. I prepare for the night by naping that afternoon and eating a good dinner. All day the weather has been perfect but as I start up the path, the clouds come in and it starts to rain. I keep going, I enjoy the feeling of being out in the elements and I have a tent with me. I enjoy the walk, the higher I get the heavier the rain becomes and the more the wind blows. I reach the top at about a quarter to 11 and find a good stop to pitch my tent. The rain is getting heavy and I’m looking forward to getting out the wind.

I don’t get very far before the only pole the tent has snapped, at this point, I give up. I’m getting cold and the tent will no longer stand up. I do my best to pack up but the pole won’t come out the tent so I roll it up and head back down the mountain.

The next evening I’m tired from my late night, I finish a phone call home and am heading to the house. The clouds are really low, so low that you are walking through them but they have this unearthly light to them. Everything seems bright but shrouded in cloud. I had been shown pictures by my housemates here of a night they went up the mountain a time the clouds where low.  The pictures are amazing and I know I have to go up and see if I get the same experience.

It’s half past 10 when I set off. I’ve had mountain safety drilled into my head since I was a kid and so going up on a day the clouds are this low feel a bit odd but it doesn’t take me long to get above the cloud line. Despite a late night the night before I feel awake. My feet seem to carry me effortlessly up the mountain and I can’t help but marvel at how much fitter I am now compared to when I came. The first time I walk the path the Vetten I had to stop every few meters to catch my breath and my heart was beating so loudly I could hear it in my chest.

I reach the top energized and feeling more alive then I have done in ages. The clouds sit low in the valley hiding the houses and lakes from view, as far as I can see it is clouds giving way to mountains.  I wait atop Vetten till midnight, messing about with my phone taking pictures and marveling at the beauty around me. I make my way down but I don’t want to go home. The night is too perfect to give it up now, I need to carry on. I reach the small gully between the mountains and follow the path up the other side, my legs carry me onwards full of a joy of their own.

I walk upwards, abandoning the part at times to get a better view or to clamber to a high point. The more I walk the more I am filled with a sense of complete happiness and peace. I feel like the girl I was before I got ill, the one who always had to walk at the front, who never seemed to get tired. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world as I walk those mountain tops alone.

It’s 3am when I finally reach home. I’m tired but happy. Being up in the mountains alone at midnight, walking above the clouds, seeing the world brilliantly lit by the sun at 2am and feeling a joy that can only be found in nature its something I will never forget and an experience only Norway could give me. I know I will pay for it in having a few tired days but it was so worth it!

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I hope you have enjoyed this episode! and of course the pictures!

With love,

The girl with the braid in her hair xxx

Week 4: ‘Trainee police officer accidentally kidnaps British tourist’

I have been away a month now. I’ve found a comfortable routine on the farm, working in the garden, picking leaves for herbal teas, packing teas and spice blends on rainy days. Life is easy here. Time has run away with me and it’s hard to believe that I have less than two weeks on the farm before I move on south.

I have seen all season, it’s been winter, then autumn, then summer then spring. It has been beautiful sunshine and I have worked in a T-shirt and sun hat and it’s snowed. Some days you can see for ver from the top of the mountains and other days, like today, you can hardly see the mountains at all. I have lived simply, most days with little incident, just amazing scenery and nice people.

I have discovered how easy it is to hitch-hike and that most people seem to want to help you out. (Christiane, one of my workmates on the farm, says I’m doing so well because I look so sweet and innocent. It’s a good job looks can be deceiving otherwise I would be in trouble).

After exploring most of the local area, ie, where I can walk to from the farm, I have been setting my sights a little further afield. Now living 4km from the main road and have blood sugar leaves that insist on be stupid no matter what I do means I’ve been having to plan my trips quite carefully. Getting to the main road takes about 45mins by foot then you have to hope to get picked up.

On my last day off I took a trip to the coast. The plan was to walk from Eggum to Unstad. A path that follows the coast on the north side of the island. The clouds were low and it was raining on and off all day. Standing on the Eggum road sticking out my thumb to every car that passed I was ready to accept it might not be a good day for a lift.

Luckily I wasn’t there too long when someone offered to take me part way, I was a little unsure as if I couldn’t get a lift the last part it would mean walking back again but decided to take the chance. My lift, deciding Eggum wasn’t too much further than he wanted to go ended up driving me all the way and I was left full of the joy that comes from kindness.

The area around Eggum is dramatic, steep mountains rise up seeming straight from the sea, the clouds kept the tops to view and the waves crashed angrily on the rocks. There weren’t too many people out due to the poor weather and I enjoy my walk, scrambling over the rocks, standing under waterfalls and watching the clouds roll in from the sea.

I walk enjoying the solitude and the weather. I have just finished a tricky bit of very slippery scrambling when a woman stands up from under a rock she had been huddling from the rain beneath and asks me how far we are from Eggum. We chat a little about where we are planning to go. I said I walked from Eggum and am heading to Unstad and then will try to hitch a ride home, her reaction to this is to offer me a lift as she is parked at Unstad. We walk back not quite together, both of us enjoying the relative solitude of walking, and when we reach the end of the trail she asks if I still want a lift. I say I do and we chat the last part as we head to the car.

We drive back to the main road chatting easily. It’s always nice when I meet people that not only offer to help me but are easy to talk to and make you feel welcome in their space. She is a trainee police officer from Oslo doing her year away in Lofoten to be able to spend time in the mountains. I ask what kinds of crime happen here (there can’t be much, we keep the door of the house wide open most of the time and the cafe door is never locked) she says mainly drugs. It’s a quiet place around here.

We reach the main road but then turn in what I think is the opposite direction to where I want to go. I sit looking out the window unsure, I don’t know the roads here that well but I’m almost 100% sure that we should be going the other way to get to where she said she would take me. After a bit of indescion, I look at her and say ‘I think I need to go in the opposite direction to this’. I assume she will just let me out but she laughs and finds a place to turn around.

As we drive on she laughs, “It would make a good headline” she says “Trainee police officer accidentally kidnaps British tourist!”

Turns out she was just on autopilot and was heading home.

As with most of the people, I have met her she goes out of her way to help me out a drives me all the way back to the farm. In return, I give her a tour and cheese tasting.

 

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I hope you have enjoyed the story of my latest adventure!

Lots of Love

The girl with the brain in her hair xxx

 

Week 3: The kindness of strangers

I often feel incredibly lucky, something that other people seem to struggle to understand. And yes medically I haven’t done too well in many ways and I would never wish my lovely mix on anyone else but all the same, I feel lucky. This feeling normally surfaces after interactions where people show the better side of humanity, the one the newspapers and media seem to forget about or just don’t want you to see, the times we are good to each other for no reward, the times people have gone out their way to help me out. It happens more often than I would expect.

Maybe some of the feeling is because in London everyone is always in a rush and more often than not plugged into headphone or scrolling through their phone and yes when I’m commuting I have often been guilty of the same thing. Sitting on a crowded tube is hardly anyone’s idea of fun, plug in and get it over with. But it’s more than that, in London I often feeling like nobody has got time for each other, The constant grind of city life takes over and we are all cogs in this much bigger machine.

But for three weeks now I have been away from it all. A small farm 4km from the main road in Lofoten is about as far removed from life in London as you can get, and I’m LOVING it. It’s no surprise, I love mountains and lakes and being outside, I’m not a city person, and, for the first time in years, I have been able to do something totally for myself without having to worry too much about pesky illnesses.

My time in Lofoten is the first stage of 5 months of traveling, most of which, I will be on my own. Before I left for this trip and was telling people about it one of the questions I was most often asked was who I was going with, many people seemed shocked that I was going alone. But I love traveling solo. To me it’s easier and much more freeing than going with someone else, I am the only one my plan has to suit, no one else needs to be consulted, no compromises need to be made, this trip is entirely for me.

And it’s not like I don’t enjoy the company of other people I do, I just perfer to travel on my own. The other thing I find is I’m more confident when I travel. Part of this is having no one else to rely upon but a bigger part is knowing I can be utterly myself at all times because the interactions that I’m having with other people are all short term. I don’t worry about making the right impressions as often in a few days it won’t matter anyway.

I have always been an open person, often it seems in daily life too open. I don’t always censor what I say the way that is expected, I talk about subjects that are still, in some places, seen as taboo without even considering that it might not be appropriate. This has got me in trouble at times but I find when your traveling openness makes like easier and gives you opportunities that would otherwise be left undiscovered.

On my flight from Oslo to Bodo, I chatted a little with the man sitting next to me. He seemed a little surprised to find an English girl on her own going to Lofoten in May but quickly became my in-flight guide, pointing out mountains of note and glaciers out the window. Due to the stress of having my original flight canceled I hadn’t really looked into how to get into Bodo city center from the airport or where the ferry terminal was.

As we chatted I asked about the best way to get to town, he told me where to get the bus from, a little later he turned to me and asked if I wanted a free ride into town in the taxi that his group was hiring. Yes, yes I did. The taxi driver was a little surprised when he took my bag to put it in the trailer, 10 men in their mid-sixties (I think) on a fishing trip and a 20 something English girl with a giant backpack, it looked a little odd. They made a few jokes about me called me ‘free seat’ but I was happy enough, it certainly beat the bus with two backpacks.

I quickly settle into life at the farm, on the second week I get an opportunity to go to the shop a buy a little luxury food for myself and hypo supplies. By midway through the third week, these are starting to dwindle, I had planned to cycle to the shop by the bikes are too big for me to use. It’s 8km away a bit too far to comfortably walk there and back again but just going one way seems ok. On Tuesday, after a sunny morning working in the garden I sit down to my dinner outside by some visitors to the farm, they are American and seem friendly.

One of the ways of getting about advertised here is simply to ask visitors if they are driving your direction and if they can give you a lift. It seems a little cheeky but I thought it was worth a try. I chatted with them for a while and then asked if they were going in the direction of the shop and if there were could I get a lift. They didn’t know where the shop was but offered to take me anyway. I was delighted and when they said they could even drop me home again I was in so much shock my mouth dropped wide open a just hung there a moment while I reveled at my good fortune.

It was a fun outing, Chatting with my new friends and pointing out local landmarks. The scenery around here is pretty much always spectacular and the biggest problem is knowing which way to look.

On Monday we get a helper at the farm for the day, she is a Swedish lady who is traveling in her van and camped out at the farm overnight. We work together on the peppermint bed and chat about travel, climbing and a load of other things. She tells me about Henningvaer. A small fishing town where a lot of good climbing can be found. Having done no research into climbing in Lofoten before I came I’m eager to get down there, at first it looks like she might be able to give me a lift later in the week but this ends up not being possible.

But I still want to go. The best alternative, hitchhike. There is a part of me that is not overly convinced with the idea, how easy will it be to get picked up? Will I just end up standing at the roadside for ages, what if I get to Henningsvaer but can’t get home again? But this trip is about getting outside my comfort zone so I decided to try.

Tove is heading out so gives me a lift to the main road. I stand watching for a car to come for a few minutes (this is the main road through Lofoten but it’s hardly busy). I hear one coming around the corner and thinking ‘here goes nothing’ stick out my thumb. To my utter astonishment, it stops and I get a lift all the way to the turning to Henningvaer.

It turns out hitchhiking around here is pretty easy. People seem willing to help and I have an easy journey. Reaching Henningsvaer I look around the town and then go for a long walk along the seafront by the mountainside. The sun is shining and it’s an amazing day. I take a long walk with a breathtaking view around every corner before returning to town to go to the climbing cafe and get some food.

It’s a nice place and I treat myself to a big dinner and actually spend some money. On the table next to me is an Aussie family. As they start to get ready to leave I ask if I can get a lift to the main road with them, they are happy to give it. They go for a walk first then come back to pick me up from the cafe. We chat easily and it turns out they are heading the same way I am and will go past the end of the road to the farm. It’s a great way to finish the day. They are lovely people and the conversation is interesting the whole way back, they even give me a massive pastry to take home.

Things like this are one of the reasons I like to travel solo. You have to take a few more risks in terms of human interaction and most often you come off richer from the experience. I have always believed the best in people and it’s nice when those beliefs are proved true.

Now please enjoy some of my pictures from Henningsvear!

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Hope you enjoyed!

With love,

The girl with the braid in her hair xxx

Week 2: A quiet life

I’m sitting outside in shorts and a t-shirt writing this. The sun is blazing down and it feels like it’s 25 degrees outside, it’s not, it’s below 20 but sun cream is on and I’ve been working most of today in a T-shirt and even the accidental shower I gave myself with the hose was on the pleasant side of cold.

Right now I’m the only one outside, everyone else is having the post-meal rest. We eat dinner at 3pm here and every day, no matter how busy people are there is a lull of activity after the meal. Life here follows gentle rules, very little feels rushed, Everything is allowed to take its time. the only time I have felt at all under pressure is when Klara the Candian (not so mini) mini pig gets into the garden and I’ve had to try to chase her out.

I spent most of my work time in the garden. It makes a change to be working outside to the song of birds and the rustling of the wind in the trees. The valley the farm is situated it had a little over 10 houses, most are at the end by the lake the rest belong to the family of the farm and are scattered about the land a short distance away. The road has so few cars on it when they do come they seem as loud as airplanes do at home. On days the sun is shining I don’t think there could be a more idyllic place. No matter what I want to be outside here, it feels a world away from London.

I’ve been away for a little over two weeks but it feels longer, home and the routine that comes with it seems like another world, commuting an hour to work, the rush of people, the traffic on the roads, the sirens of ambulances and police cars as they rush past, it all feels like another reality that I have no desire to get back to.

I got used to the pace of life here easily, I take pleasure in the beauty of my surroundings and things like collecting eggs from the chickens every day make me smile. There is a simplicity here as well and the peace. Most of the food I cook for myself comes from the farm. The nearest shop is 8km away and I’m waiting for someone to help me adjust the bike seat before I can realistically get there on my own. At home, I’m used to being within 1o minutes of a shop at all time. Anything you want can be found easily. Being here has reminded me that some things that are so easy to take for granted are actually luxuries. Chocolate tastes so much better when it’s hard to get hold of and super expensive to buy.

After running in at 100mph the first week I have slowed down a bit, not I’m not going to see all of Lofoten but I will be awake enough to enjoy the bits that I do see. Last week Tove (who owns the farm) took me on a cheese delivery run to Solvaer it’s an hour in the car and the scenery is dramatic the whole way, while on Vestagoy the mountains shelter farmland on most of the other islands in the archipelago the mountains dominate.

I join the family on the 17th of May celebrations. The National day in Norway is taken very seriously, it’s not something I have witnessed before and I was surprised to find myself part of the local parade.

My time here is moving quickly, the end of May is already approaching and I’m over 1/3 of the way through my stay here. I’m as relaxed as I’ve been in a long time and there are still so my mountains to climb!

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With Love,

The girl with the braid in her hair xxx