Lofoten…here we come!!!


I have been looking at the posts already published about this trip, and nowhere have I actually mentioned anything about my means of transportation.. Somehow you must be a little curious. But it is pretty simple actually. To re-write the slogan “my home is my castle” just a little, I can say that “my car is my home.” In this car I was able eat, sleep, work and bring myself from place to place. Thanks Ford for making such a well functioning and proportioned car as the Mondeo is.

My transport and my home.

And with my knowledge about Norway I was prepared. As I talked about in the previous post, everything in Norway is expensive. Food, gasoline, clothing, hotels……only exception must be berries you can harvest yourself. So as for my preparations I had 110 liters of diesel in PVC canisters plus lots of food, plenty of clothes (for all seasons, just in case) mattres, quilt, pillow, and several woollen blankets (made in Norway). And never did I freeze in that car for the duration of the trip.

And as I also discovered in my earlier posts, I have not even mentioned what the trip to Lofoten was about, except that I had never been to Lofoten. But there was a purpose other than that with this idea of going up there. Since photography has been a passion and still is, it is also a way of making a living. And since I love nature and therefore also landscape photography, the Tour-de-Lofoten was about bringing some new and different photos into my archive and  way of getting some fresh input. And that purpose was fullfilled in every way possible.

Tjeldsundbrua.

On the fifth day of the tour I reached the Tjeldsundbrua (Tjeldsund bridge) which is the crossing from mainland Norway into the islands that forms part of Ofoten, Sør-Troms, Vesterålen and Lofoten. Ever since you enter Norway from Bjørnfjell you are in the area called Ofoten. Once you enter the islands you will be going in and out of the first three municipalities mentioned, until you finally reach Lofoten further South. But before I crossed the bridge, I visited the cafeteria by the bridge. Quiet early in the morning, which gave me an opportunity to update my diary while the rain was pouring down outside the windows most of the time. Around noon af bus full of pensioners entered the cafeteria. Some of them asked if they could join me at the table where I sat and soon I had a conversation with and elderly lady and her husband. The whole bus load had come all the way from Hammerfest and just been to Å in Lofoten. After the visit here at the cafeteria at Tjeldsund, they were going to Kiruna in Sweden (shopping), crossing the western part of Finland and back into Norway at Kautokeino, continuing the trip to Alta and back to Hammerfest. After they left I finished my writing for the day and with several cups of coffee consumed. In Norway it is custom to get a refill when you buy coffee at a cafeteria. But here it was not one refill. It was unlimited I was told by the waitress as I wanted to pay for yet another cup after the second one had been consumed. What a service. Early afternoon I began my journey further South as the rain was still pouring down.

I have to admit that I was a little concerned about weather and temperatures when I finally reached Svolvær. The rain had stopped but, it was a strong gale force wind and the sea was absolutely unfriendly to look at. Scary and fascinating at the same time. It is always a funny feeling when you go into unknown territory, thinking that where you are going, no one else has been before and that you will be left to your own survival skills. But as I say, as long as there is road, you can believe that someone was there ahead of you. And when the first things that greets you is a supermarket and a gas station, then you are not left to yourself. What a relief. After all there was civilization. At the gas station (CircleK) i bought two cups of coffee. After driving all afternoon and nowhere to brew my own coffee in the strong wind, I was more than eager to get some coffee. I am glad i wasn’t drinking it when the girl at the counter told me the price. I know things are expensive in Noway, but 35 Norwegian Kroner for a cup of coffee with NO refill. I was numb for a while. Paralyzed. Shattered.

Just outside Svolvær.

From Svolvær I continued driving further South on the E10 towards Leknes. But before it got to late I decided to camp near the Gimsøystraumen at the Gimsøy Bridge on Vestvågøya. Heavy clouds and occasional rain this afternoon, but a beautiful spot. Truly a spot where tourists just stopped all the time just to take pictures. 


A glimpse of history


If you are into history, and especially WWII history, then you have come to the right place when you come down from Bjørnfjell and you reach the Narvik fjord and the surrounding mountains. It is full of  remains from the German occupation of Norway during WWII.

Some of the fiercest battles took place in this area at sea and on land, and if it hadn’t been for the allied strategy to pull out of Northern Norway to concentrate on other arenas, the Nazi regime might very well have had a shorter life span. Their sole interest was to have a port from where they could ship the iron ore that they bought in Kiruna in Sweden. From Narvik the much needed resource was shipped to Germany. So this steady supply actually had the German war machine rolling.

Today Narvik is still a huge transport and shipping hub for the northern part of Norway. Trains carrying iron ore from Kiruna are still entering the shipping facilities in the outskirts of the city several times every day. Not many people actually know that the city of Kiruna today is so undermined from the mining activities that they are relocating the city to the surrounding areas.

Narvik.
Narvik and Narvik Fjord. Place of heavy battles during the Second World War.

But besides from the historic events that took place here, it is also a beautiful mountainous area. But be prepared for a little bit of a shock when you reach Norway. As beautiful as it is, just as expensive it is. So when you on your way to Lofoten reach the little town of Bjerkvik, don’t start crying when you see the gas prices. Luckily, as in other countries. gas stations are fighting to catch the customers with good offers. So in many, cases you will be able to find some lower prices than the daily list prices. The below photo is from Shell in Bjerkvik.

Norway, an oil producing nation.

So, what will you be doing in Bjerkvik? Well, if the weather is fine, there is a nice beach front and lots of possibilities to go hiking and exploring in the mountains. Otherwise there are several grocery store to choose from if you need to top up your supplies. If you are into clothing, you could always visit the Narvik Outlet, where you could find a nice bargain. Even fishing equipment is to be found in that store.

But Bjerkvik is also the place where you decide if you want to go North in direction of Tromsø or even further towards Hammerfest, Alta or maybe to the North Cape. In this case I chose to go further West and South to Lofoten. After all, the Lofoten Islands were the primary destination for this trip. So off we go towards the next road split at Tjeldsundbrua (Tjeldsund bridge). From there it is either North towards Harstad or Southwest towards Å in Lofoten.

So…what happened?


When my trip to Norway began on August 24th 2017, the intention was to post on this blog on a daily basis. Unfortunately all the good intensions just went down the drain because of bad mobile phone signals resulting in unstable internet connections. Stable mobile signals and internet connections are things that belong to the bigger cities and definitely not to desolate parts of Northern Sweden and Norway. So I just had to skip the part with daily updates even though it was intended to be a way of keeping people updated. about my trip.  And that was even though it all began so well with my first post called “On the Road again”. Sorry about that.

Lapland 7:30pm on August 28th 2017 close to the arctic circle.
Now you know that you’re there.

This did however not stop me from keeping a handwritten diary along with photos taken with the mobile phone, whereby I now can reconstruct the trip. And what a trip I had. From a trip that was only meant to concentrate on Lofoten, to a  trip that suddenly included the North Cape, Kvaløya, Senja and Vesterålen as well. But not less exciting. In fact exactly so exciting that I decided to do a trip again this year. And if it goes according to plans, a trip is already in the making for 2019.

Driving from Töre north of Luleå in Sweden with direction set for the border to Norway is a rather long and not so exciting part of the trip. You have to be aware though. There are lots of reindeer and during daytime they are very likely to walk on the roads. And most likely in the middle of the road. I was told that they do so to avoid mosquitos and other insects, especially when the weather is warm. 

The road from Kiruna to Björnfjell.

When you reach Kiruna, the road more or less follows the same path as the railroad which is used to transport iron ore to Narvik in Norway. From Kiruna the landscape gets more dramatic and exciting and when you reach the Abisko National Park area and drives alongside the Torneträsk Lake your jaw will drop. In summer it is beautiful, but it is even more beautiful  during winter time. It is also one of the best places in the world to watch the Aurora Borealis also known as the Northern Lights. The biggest attraction in Abisko is Sweden’s highest mountain Kebnekaise.

Driving in the area of Abisko National Park is as beautiful as it gets.

On the third day of the journey I passed the border to Norway from Sweden at Björnfjell. The was weather incredibly nice and temperatures still high enough to wear shorts. There was not even wind enough for the windmills installed up here 500 meres above sea level.

Border at Bjørnfjell.
Just after passing the border from Sweden to Norway at Björnfjell on August 29th 2017


On the road again……..


Strange that yet another song title should surface in my mind as I am living a small dream. Willie Nelson did this one and if I’m not to much mistaken so did several other country music stars.

What the small dream is about? I’ll tell you……..Lofoten in Norway. I have been five times to the North Cape and passed Lofoten at least on four of these trips. But I never took the opportunity and went out there. I have been sitting in Bodø looking in the direction of this strip of islands, and always considered them to be isolated islands hard to get to. What a terrible mistake. But about eight or nine weeks ago I saw some great photos from there. That’s when an idea started taking form in my mind. I had to go!!! I simply had to see this area with my own eyes.

So a lot of research was done and the preparations (that is a lot of preparations) for a road trip began. Considering if I should do a sixth trip to the North Cape on the same trip as well. Maybe even walk to the top of Kebnekaise in Sweden too? But I think that will have to be a separate trip. Preparations included a full service of the car plus whatever the garage found was essential to get done. Costly, but necessary.

Finally, three weeks ago today (26th August 2017) I went “on the road again”.

The plan was to keep you all updated in this blog on a daily basis. But bad mobile connections (using my cell phone as a hotspot) and making the mobile and laptop connect as they should has postponed my posts to the blog. If all things go well I shall try to catch up and let you know what has been going on these past three weeks.

For a start I can say that I during the first stint drove just under half the distance to my initial goal Svolvær in Lofoten. And now you want to know the distance of course. Well, depending on the route it’s in the region 2000-2300km. I chose the fastest, or at least that’s what I believed it to be driving the E4 towards Stockholm in Sweden.

 

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The morning light around 6 o’clock on the second day of the trip

At the location in the photo I tried to get a little sleep, but it was only possible to sleep for about an hour. So I decided to find a place where I could get some breakfast and some coffee. That I found at Tönnebro Värdshus.

And I also found an incredible vehicle in the parking lot as you can see from the photo below. May it was “Car of the year” sometime in the past. It seemed fully functional though. Which I also was after some breakfast and some coffee.

 

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Probably “Car of the year” once upon a time

 

 

After this stop it was just to follow the route set out. But it didn’t take me long to realise that I needed another cup of coffee. Glad that I bought gas cannisters and a burner I turned away from the highway and found this little peaceful spot at Ångersjön. Freely translated and with the road signs it was a story in itself.  Ångersjön (lake of remorse) and the a sign giving directions to a road church (vägkyrka) and getting there on a long vind (Långvind). Makes you wonder. Sorry I just like to play with words and names of places.

 

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Makes you wonder what this is all about

Anyway, my stop here to get some coffee made revealed that gas cannisters and burners not necessarily fit. I never got any gas out and certainly no fire and absolutely NO coffee. The packaging from the burner revealed that only gas cannisters bought in Biltema (a “we-have-it-all-store”) would fit their burners. That’s where the hunting for a Biltema store began. I was so happy to find out that there was a store in Sundsvall. Only 120 kilometers north of where I was.

 

On the way into Sundsvall I passed this beautiful bridge, For some unexplainable reason  named the Sundsvall Bridge (Sundsvall Bron)!!! Don’t ask me what it is about bridges that is so fascinating I can’t explain properly anyway. But maybe it’s just like architecture or cars. The shape. The elegant simple design.

 

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Sundsvall Bridge

 

Unfortunately the gas cannisters were sold out. So I only got myself a new burner and would have to see where the next Biltema store was located. That would be in Umeå, just some 260 kilometers further north. That meant that I would only get coffee from cafeterias or gas stations for a long time.

When talking about bridges on my route earlier, there is one bridge that should be mentioned also. That would be the beautiful High Coast Bridge (Höga Kusten Bron) north of Sundsvall near Härnösand. During a vacation many years ago and being on the way from the North Cape (Nordkapp) to Telemark, I visited some colleagues working on this construction project. This gave me the opportunity to see the project from the top of one of the pylons and have a walk on the so called “cat walk”.

At that time of my first visit here the crossing was by small ferries. So this time was actually my first time passing this narrow strait of water by car on the bridge.

 

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The High Coast Bridge (Höga Kusten Bron)

But back to the “gas-situation”. Umeå was to be the next stop for gas cannisters. About that you’ll read in the next blog post.

See you soon.

 

Long time, no see

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At times life is turbulent. Some times more turbulent than one could wish for. I have to admit right away, that I have had my share of turbulence in the past three years. The last year being the worst. And without going to explain in detail what that has meant for me on a personal level (the closest friends will know), I can now say that I am trying to land on my feet in what seems to be a free fall from great height. But the long period of silence from me is based upon the events during the past year.

Right now I am having the fortunate pleasure of being in Canada visiting, first of all my daughter and son in law and least but not last my three cousins in Brighton and Belleville. Being here in Mississauga with my daughter, I have made a lot of new friendships that I am sure will last. I have so far met people from 21 nations around the world just from meeting the people that are in my daughters circles. A truly amazing and multicultural society in Canada. I am sure that this would scare politicians and a large part of the population in Denmark. Just look at he current refugee crisis in Europe right now.

Hansen Rd. Brighton, Ontario

Hansen Rd. Brighton, Ontario

But to go back to the trip I started in mid November of 2015, I have also been fortunate to take a twelve days trip to the US, staying with friends in New Jersey. That in turn making it possible for me to go to New York to see areas in Brooklyn and Manhattan. I have to admit that I have never been a fan of big cities, but going to New York was part of a fulfillment of my fathers biggest dream. Ever since he was young and playing jazz, he wanted to see New York. He never got there, but I did.

Manhattan Bridge

Manhattan Bridge

So I got to see the most. Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, George Washington Bridge, Madison Square Garden, Empire State Building, The Metropolitan Museum, Guggenheim Museum, Central Park, Times Suare, UN Building, Grand Central Station, Freedom Tower, Flatiron Building and a lot more. It all fascinates due to the size and proportions. And knowing that all this has been made by people from almost every nation on this planet. Now I have posted a large amount of photos on my website as well as on the photo community sites of Flickr, 500px, Viewbug and ePhotozine

I shall be back soon with more from the trip to the big continent. See ya folks.

April 1st!!


No, you are absolutely right. I did NOT post anything on April 1st. Simply because there was som many untrue stories floating around in Space, that I was sure nobody would believe a single Word of what I was going to tell. But I must admit that there was a lot of creative stories out there. From “chip tuning” of cameras to give them twice as many pixels to a Danish story about grand ol’ man Thyrring being the new sporting manager for the Magnussen Racing team. That being Jan as in Corvette and Kevin as in McLaren.

What I was going to write about, was related to my searh for THE waterfall that I had been sent out to find and which was going to be the backdrop for a series of Photos of pregnant women. My first attempt led me to a waterfal allright, but unfortunately not the right one.

So my search continued on the internet for more locations here in Skåne county. And in the end I managed to locate two more waterfalls, both about an hours drive from my home.

On March 30th 2014 I set the direction for the next waterfall, knowing what to look for. Unfortunately this was also not the location I expected. Not that the location wasn’t beautiful, but it was not the waterfall that I had been shown a Photo of by my friend in Denmark that was so interested in finding this place. But when you are there, you might as well take some “snaps” just for the record. That snapping took a Whole day, because once you get started you find “a hundred angles” that you just have to explore. A little further to the right or a little more to the left or up or down. Plus the fact that there were actually four waterfalls within a few hundred metres

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In the end I came home with quite a few of gigabytes of photos that had to be processed to see if anything good had come out of this. And there was a few good shots that I decided should be turn into poster art. You may see some of them at this link here.

But as I did not hit the jackpot this time either, I had to continue my search for that specific place that I was sent looking for. I will return shortly with a brief story of the successful  location of THE waterfall.

Till then.

Creativity


The year 2014 has in many ways been a strange year. An eyeopener, inspirational, creative, productive, and optimistic when asked to create stuff that others could use and benefit from in their photography business. I am only delighted to see that people have found their Little corner of the Photo business and that they Prosper.

Copyright © Marianne Vestergaard 2014

In the early part of 2014 a friend was asking if I could create items for baby and childrens photography. As with Photos of pregnant women, it is a very popular thing these days. Not just on a piece of sheep skin (as in the old days) or the like, but with all sort s of Photo props.

I thought I would give it a try and was so lucky as to please some photographers with these pieces of handy crafts. I always liked the carpentry and the Work of joiners, so it felt pretty natural to try this out.

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Most of the items are being maketed and sold by a Fellow photographer running the Company Pictografik. Her Photos can bee seen here and all the Photo props she is selling you will find at the Facebook page “New Born og børne foto rekvisitter” here.

MG Foto is one of the photographers that has invested in Photo props “Made in Sweden” by me. Take a look at her page here.

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These days I am trying to find out what the next Project should be. A Fire Engine, a rocket, a boat? I can’t seem to make up my mind. On the other hand I could just do them all? That should keep me busy for a  week or two.

Stay tuned for more.