Day Forty One

The morning passes in a bit of a daze.  I’m still on a high from all of yesterday’s animals and each time I see a moose sign I expect one to leap out but they’re still as elusive as ever!  

We’re on the last section before Tromso, surrounded by stunning scenery as is Norway’s norm.  It’s going to be a struggle to leave it behind.  The morning’s highlights include a series of green corridor bridges crossing roads.  Cars under, animals cross on top – a great idea, that really works to protect wildlife.

Another stunning cloud display too, and endless forests of birch, spruce and pine.  All full of no moose.  Ha. 

We’re getting even further north now and snow capped mountains are becoming the norm.  A huge ice shelf sits between two peaks creating a spectacular cross section wall of ice.  

We hit Tromso by mid afternoon and promptly set about much needed chores and housekeeping.  There’s nothing more boring and wasteful of time, so instead of writing about that, I’ll share a few collected thoughts on Norway thus far: 

  • As someone wise once said “it’s expensive, get used to it”. They were right.  On average add about 30% to 40% to prices in Australia. A few things like fuel and alcohol are more. 
  • They’ve got alcoholism sorted. We’ve yet to find a place to buy wine or spirits anywhere outside of major towns.  Beer is available in supermarkets, at around $6 – $7 a can.
  • The distances are vast and the only way you’re going to get to see it, is to do the miles. This entailes a lot of driving, which at some stage will piss you off.  If you’re lucky, this mood will not occur to both of you on the same day.
  • The produce is excellent.  Fruit and vegetables, despite being mainly shipped in, are excellent and varied. Best of all are the locally grown berries, especially raspberries.  Amazing flavour, some as large as strawberries.  Norway takes the crown from England for berries.
  • Fish is king.  There’s some meat in supermarkets, but fish is  everywhere – fresh, frozen, dried, fish burgers, fish loaf, even fish pudding. Surprisingly little shellfish though.
  • Local dairy produce is excellent too, despite never seeing dairy cows.   
  • Pomeranians are the go to doggy, the smaller and cuter the better.  The further north you go, the more dogs look like Huskies, but pom poms are still popular  
  • The roads are very good and well maintained, terrifying mountain passes aside, as are the tunnels and bridges
  • The person who invented tunnels that are unlit needs a good talking to
  • Outside of cities and larger towns, there’s not really a restaurant culture – eating out is not a regular pass time.  There is a proliferation of pizza and burger shops though, which is odd.
  • Major service stops cater for a lot more than fuel.  Many have mini shopping centres and most have a small hotel or accommodation of some sort.
  • The views will take your breath away, constantly. Be prepared to take thousands of photos and wish you could do it better.
  • Teasing Chris about dressing for the artic, when in the Artic Circle, and you’re wearing a T-shirt, never gets old
  • The endless sunlight, whilst fabulous, will mess with your head.  Without hours of darkness to guilt you into going to bed, you can easily and frequently find yourself up until 3 am, as I am as I write this.  If I lived here I might have to adopt bear cycles, up in summer, sleep through winter
  • When you cross the Artic Circle, a dancing polar bear does not greet you.  I’ve come to accept this.  
  • It’s remarkably warm in the Artic Circle.  I’ve only reached for a jumper once and entertained thoughts of swimming often.
  • If you come in summer, you’ll long to see it in winter.  I suspect the reverse also.
  • The people are friendly, helpful and generally have an excellent command of English.

    Other than that, Norway gets my vote for the most beautiful country I’ve seen.  I haven’t even left and I can’t wait to come back.

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