Autumn updates

Sorry for being so quiet!

It has been a really busy autumn for both of us. Siv has been finishing her masters (she did amazing (no surprise there)) and Inga has been busy with her PhD. We thought we would give you a short update on what we have been up to with lots of photos and a promise to update more often in the future!

Inga's late summer and autumn:
I have been super busy with meetings and work.
After coming back from Norway in mid August, I have moved to a new place in London, been on a long Norwegian coastal trip topped with a meeting at the uni in Tromsø, meetings in Barcelona as well as another meeting in Bristol (puh). Aaaand I have started my PhD...

As many of you know, I am a molecular biology PhD student in London. The lab I am in work on circadian rhythms (body clocks) and use fish as a model organism to study the biology of circadian rhythms. Being from a country with huge changes in seasons and drastic differences in light from summer to winter, I am quite interested in how these extreme changes affects the circadian outputs in these animals. I am part of a relatively small lab that are looking to branch out more and do more fieldwork. That means more interdisciplinary collaborations and a lot of meetings with different people to make it happen. Its a tedious process, but I have been quite lucky to attend many of these meetings, which means I have travelled a fair bit this autumn. 

In mid September my boss David and I went to Tromsø in Norway to visit a colleague and learn more about how to do science on wild fish in their natural habitat. As David had never been to Norway before (which is strange, seeing as he is quite an natural history enthusiast), we went up the Norwegian coast from Bergen to Tromsø with Hurtigruten (Hurtigruten used to be a ship route for post, people and cargo since the late 1800s, but has become more of a cruise route these days. We spent a few days in Tromsø meeting up with some really cool people, and was shown around the university and their huge aquatic centre outside of town.  

A few days after coming back from Tromsø, we then went to Barcelona to meet up with a guy at the Consejo Superior de Invesitgaciones Cientificas (CSIC, pronounced 'sea sick' in English, hehehe) to learn more about videoing of fish (and thereby monitor rhythms) at different depths of the ocean. Although most of the time was spent in meetings, we had a day to snap some photos and see the sights!

Last but no least, I have also been to Bristol, where I went to the Wildscreen festival as well as meeting up with one of the photographers and an expert in fish telemetry from the University of Tromsø (missed him when we were there in September) to get some tips and discuss possible collaborations if we get a grant to go to Antarctica. 

Sivs autumn
As I had my master-thesis due 10th of September, this autumn was mostly filled with sitting inside writing and reading articles. In addition I moved in to a small and cosy apartment right at the edge of the city.
This last semester, being super-busy, there was little time for any adventures or travels.  I did, however manage to squeeze in some minor local trips.

Some photos from Nordmarka – forests located close to Oslo

 

Later this autumn, after I had handed in my thesis, I enjoyed a weekend at the mountains of inland Norway. The area offers a variety of typical Norwegian mountainscapes. We did a couple of nice hikes and enjoyed a very layedback norwegain hyttelifestyle. 

Late October Inga came home to Norway for a week and we got a small trip to her cabin, which is located in Hjartdal - Telemark, a two hour drive from Oslo.
Unfortunately we had quite bad whether, but nonetheless a very enjoyable escape from the city.

 

Thanks for reading!

S & I

Trip to the end of the world

In August I went up north east in Norway, to Vadsø to visit my family. This is a trip I’ve taken many times before, and a trip I will continue to make for the rest of my life. Very few people I know have never been up there, and it is a place lacking hordes of tourists (unlike Lofoten, Vesterålen, Trollstigen, Trolltunga etc). If you like endless wilderness, open tundra, reindeers, indigenous people, fjords and rivers you would like Finnmark.  It is a bit like Northern Europe’s miniature Canada.  Sounds tempting, doesn’t it?

In this post I have tried to gather a little information about this fine county and crammed in almost 50 photos taken late summer/autumn the last 5 years. I hope you find it inspiring!

Finnmark county boarders Troms county as well as Sweden, Finland and Russia and it is Norway’s largest county. In Finnmark you find both the most northern point of mainland Europe (Nordkapp), as well as the most eastern point (Vardø) in Norway. With its 48 618 km², it is larger than Holland, but has less than 80 000 inhabitants in total. Almost half of the population inhabits the two largest cities Alta and Hammerfest, whereas the rest is scattered across in smaller towns ranging from about 6000 inhabitants to 200 inhabitants. 

The county is large and the nature and fauna is also varied. Finnmark offers tundra, forests with large predators like bears, incredible amounts of sea bird colonies, strict military boarder control to Russia, glaciers, fjords, ravines, rivers, lakes, hundreds of thousands reindeer, midnight sun, northern lights and much more. 11% of the Finnmarks areal are national parks or nature reserves, but most of the land is uninhabited. 

The temperature in Finnmark is as varied as the nature. According to yr.no, Karasjok (an inland town bordering Finland) is historically Norway’s coldest place with a shivering -51.4 degrees (measured in 1886 (-51.2 measured in 1999)). However summers can get warm (20-30 degrees Celsius) and coastal winters are not as bad as the inland winter, because Finnmark gets the last bit of the warm waters of the Gulf Stream.

 

There are many ways to reach the North eastern edge of Norway. If you come from Oslo, the most common route is to fly to Kirkenes, Alta or Tromsø with SAS or Norwegian, and then take a local Widerøe flight to one of several smaller airports (this usually gives amazing view unless blizzard or bad weather). Taking Hurtigruten, renting a car or taking a bus are other more tedious alternatives, but often cheaper than flying. That said, if you ever go during the winter, the roads might closed if the weather is bad and flying or taking Hurtigruten becomes the only option.

My family lives in Vadsø on the Varanger peninsula, so I always spend my time there when I am up. I always stay with my grandmothers sister when I come up, and it’s always a pleasure. For you who are not so fortunate to have such a spare grandmother up at the edge of the world, you options are limited to a range of camping huts, tenting, hotels or flats.

Varanger offers many different outdoor activities and is a Mekka for bird watchers from all over the world. Many of the islands on the coast have huge colonies for many different types of birds. Ekkerøy, a 20 minute drive from Vadsø, have over 50 species of birds. With lots of new plush looking cabins with panoramic view over the Barents sea, it is a place that must be visited for bird watchers. (http://www.ekkeroy.net/). Further north east there is also Hornøya, with more colonies. This summer, they had a 24 hour live broadcast from Hornøya about the different bird colonies. More excellent Norwegian slow TV.

In the spring/summer/autumn the road to Hamningberg is open.  This is a road leading to a little abandoned fishing village that cannot be reached during the winter by road due to the bad weather conditions. People still have cabins and summer houses there and it’s very picturesque. After Hamningberg there is no more road and mainland Europe ends (unless you count Russia in)(yes- we are finally picking up on the headline). The drive to Hamningberg, offers many different rock formations. From porous cliffs, to round rock deserts, to sharp diagonal shards of rock, to white beaches and grassy sand dunes. Everywhere you can see how glaciers, rivers, sea and tectonic plate drifting has shaped the landscape. I wish I had more pictures to show you of that.

The Varanger national park offers great hikes and an abundance of cloudberries, lingonberries, blueberries, crowberries, krekling, as well as mushrooms in late summer. The vegetation found here is very short due to winds and low average temperatures making photosynthesis inefficient. There are only a few species of tree and the dwarf birch is the most abundant. The tundra is a wondrous place to be, very open, rolling hills yet district and interesting to walk in. And you are never far from the Barents Sea. 

I hope I got you slightly excited about Varanger and that you might consider it a place to visit in the future.

PS,
All your lovely comments on Instagram is much appreciated.
Thanks for reading.

All best,
Inga

Norwegian road trip pt 2

Hi!

This is the second part of my road trip from Oslo to Vesterålen.

Day 3 Brønnøysund- Mo i Rana
This morning we woke up at Torghatten camping and strolled up to Torghatten after breakfast. Torghatten is a large rock/mountain with a tunnel through it. It is a fairly easy place to explore and quite popular with the tourists. If you have time to make the detour, you should take the half hour it takes to walk up and down, and enjoy the views.

Travel route for day 4. This route takes longer than Google Maps suggests as the ferry to Vega islands only go 4 times a day; two in the morning and two in the afternoon, so you have to spend a minimum of 5 hours there. Source: Google Maps.

Travel route for day 4. This route takes longer than Google Maps suggests as the ferry to Vega islands only go 4 times a day; two in the morning and two in the afternoon, so you have to spend a minimum of 5 hours there. Source: Google Maps.

I had serious plans about doing some early morning/late night photo when I stayed at Torghatten camping, but it was too grey when I woke. Every pro and amateur landscape photographer knows that you (usually) have to stay up late or get up early to capture the really good light. However you never know when it is gonna come, and there are lots of grey days. Holidays are the right time to stay up late or get up early and try and capture that light, as you don’t have to be ready and sharp for any work the day after. However, it’s also the time to get plenty of sleep… but it is always difficult to get out of a warm bed when you know the outside world probably offers disappointment and being eaten by mosquitos. Yet, the few times I actually get up early and go out, I never regret it, even though I usually do not take any really good  photos.

After our morning trip to Torghatten, we continued to Horn to make the ferry over the Vega archipelagos. This is a real detour but as the archipelagos are on the UNESCO world heritage list they had to be visited. Vega municipality consists of over 6500 islands of different sizes and made it on the world heritage list a few years ago due to the islander's unique lifestyle and their relationship to eider duck, their eggs and down. Eider ducks live and breed in many other places than Vega, but the people of Vega has had a long lasting relationship with this bird for more than a millennium. Sagas tell stories about Viking earls killing each other over the right to collect eider down, and with a price tag of approximately 50000 NOK (~£4500) in 2016 for a duvet, it might not come as a shock that people are willing to kill each other over the right to collect this precious down (though I have not heard of any recent murders over eider territory). 
 

The people on the Vega islands used to build nesting houses for the eider females (males don't produce the down) and made sure predators were kept away. After the little ones leave the nest, the down is collected in July. There is only a small amount of down per nest so it's a lot of work for very little down. Farming on the coast of northern Norway has never been a main way of getting food or income, but simply a supplement to the fishing that brought in the cash and main source of food. Collecting down was a woman's job beside taking care of the farm, the kids, the elders, cook, chop fire wood etc., when the men was out fishing further north for months in the summer. This way of living is now gone. However, there are now people employed to prepare and guard the nest sites and gather down after the birds have left the nest. If you want to read more about Vega, check out http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1143.

Other than a tiny museum where you can learn about the eider ducks, the Vega islands were a bit boring. Don't get me wrong, it's beautiful there, but there are so many magnificent places up north, and Vega is a real detour and might not be worth it. 

From Vega we took the ferry north to Tjøtta where you find a large churchyard for Soviet prisoners of war in the north of Norway. Originally Soviet prisoners were buried around Norway, but in 1951 during the cold war, the Norwegian government feared that Soviet spies would travel around the country pretending to be families of the fallen soldiers wanting to visiting their graves. This paranoia turned into 'Operation Asphalt' where they dug up graves mainly in the North and shipped them to Tj
øtta. More than 8000 bodies were shipped in bags under the cover of asphalt. This was also supposed to be done in the south, but as this grave desecration upset a lot of people, including the Soviet, it was not done on the same scale.

We had dinner in Sandnessjøen, which I can't say much nice about. The town centre cannot even be called charming. However, the nature around it, and especially the mountain chain 'De Syv Søstre' (The Seven Sisters), are quite remarkable from all angles. You can hike on the ridge and do all the peaks in a day about 20km), but many do just one or two. We had to make a ferry from Levang-Nesna so there were unfortunately no time for any climbing or hiking. 

 


Last year we only drove half of the Helgeland coast road, and followed the E6 road to Mosjøen and then came in on the costal road at Levang. Last time we missed the ferry and had to wait for two hours, but this time we knew what to expect and timed it much better. The stretch from Nesna to Myklebustad and the view over Sjona fjord is in my opinion the most beautiful stretch of the Helgeland costal road. We took the 21:20 ferry giving us perfect light as we drove down the mountain. Instead of continuing on the costal road, we drove east and stayed the night at Yttervik camping just outside of Mo i Rana. We got a nice cabin with views over the fjord. You can also rent boats and it seemed to be a popular place for fishing.

Day 4 Mo i Rana – Sigerfjorden (Vesterålen)
This day started with the rather shocking Brexit results and a pit stop at Mo i Rana city centre to buy breakfast which was later consumed at a traditional 'rasteplass'. I often get asked to recommend cheap places to eat in Norway, but there are none. If you want to eat cheap you have to make your own food. All over Norway you find these small places by the side of the road that has toilets (but not always), benches and tables so that you can sit down and eat your food. They usually try and put them in nice places. You can bring a table top barbecue or a gas burner if you want to make your dinner there.

 

Route for day 4, the last day. Crossing the arctic circe and finally arriving at our summer house. Source: Google Maps

Route for day 4, the last day. Crossing the arctic circe and finally arriving at our summer house. Source: Google Maps


After finishing breakfast we packed up and continued north. The E6 goes north over the arctic circle before it follows the Saltdal valley. One of the things the tourists seem to love it the Polarsirkelsenteret (Arctic Circle Centre) as it has “an abundant souvenir shop”, but let’s face it; the arctic circle is just a circle on a map, and nothing more.

The next 'large' town you get to is Fauske. There are many small places that are worth a visit and plenty of places that offers great hikes. However, the aim for the day was  the ferry over from Bognes to Løddingen so we did not make any stops. If you find yourself with enough time and you are a fan of Norwegian literature, you could consider visiting Hamsunsentet http://hamsunsenteret.no/en/ . The fastest route to get to Lofoten or Vesterålen when you drive up is to take a ferry from Skutvik to Svolvær if you are going to Lofoten, or Bognes-Løddingen if you are going to Vesterålen. Driving via Narvik is a huge detour.

One of many alternative routes to follow north. We took this route last year. Source: Google Maps

One of many alternative routes to follow north. We took this route last year. Source: Google Maps

Last year we took a slightly different route where we followed E6 to Mosjøen before taking the coastal road. This is also a route that offers beautiful views. The old part of Mosjøen is very charming, and there are some really unique places to see when you continue North. One of these places are Saltstraumen, the strongest tidal currents in the world! You can really see how strong the currents are when you drive over the bridge and you can often see large vortexes.

Regardless of which route one choses to take, you are guaranteed beautiful scenery. After taking the ferry to Løddingen we drove to our summer house in Sigerfjorden. If you guys are interested I will write a post on things to do and see when visiting Lofoten and Vesterålen.

Thanks for reading,

Inga

Norwegian road trip pt 1

Hei folkens,

Last year was the first year my sister, dad and myself drove (instead of taking a plane) all the way up from Oslo to our summer house in Vesterålen. It’s an absolutely stunning drive, and takes you trough some of the different types of flora and fauna Norway has to offer. It’s a long drive, but it is more than just transport, it’s a journey through Norwegian nature, culture and history. 

First part of the trip went from Oslo to Trondheim. Courtesy of Google Maps.

First part of the trip went from Oslo to Trondheim. Courtesy of Google Maps.


Day 1 Oslo-Trondheim
On our first day we went from Oslo to Trondheim, over the Dover mountain plateau (there is also a second option to go through Østerdalen, which is slightly faster, but goes through dense woods- see map). The first stretch from Oslo to Lillehammer is a bit boring in my opinion, but from Lillehammer and up to the mountains the nature changes and become more dramatic. However, on this first stretch of road to Lillehammer, you pass Mjøsa, the largest lake in Norway, as well as plenty of places like Raufoss that offers great cross country skiing in the winter. Lillehammer used to be famous for being the host city of the winter Olympic 1994, but is now probably more known to be the setting for the TV series “Lilyhammer”. This year however, the city hosts the youth Olympic Games both the summer and winter games.

Many people want to see stave churches when they come to Norway. There is one in Lillehammer, called Garmo and there is one in Ringebu (larger and more elaborate) a bit further North. They are both worth a visit if only to glance at the exterior, but if you can afford it, you should also see the interiors of Ringebu stave church. If you are interested in stave churches, you should check out  https://www.visitnorway.com/about/history-traditions/stave-churches/ which has a map where you can see all the stave churches in Norway.

The road between Oslo and Trondheim over the Dovre mountain plateau is the pilgrimage road to Nidarosdomen (Nidaros Cathedral), where Olav den Hellige (St Olav) is burried. This was a popular pilgrimage until the reformation in 1537. You can still walk all or parts of this road, and it goes through some spectacular nature. The trails are marked and there are several places to sleep. If you are interested you could check out http://pilegrimsleden.no/en/ . My father and I walked 5 km of the pilgrimage road down to Kongsvold. 

From last year we knew that Kongsvold had great food, and this year again we had a gorgeous 3 course dinner there before driving down to Trondheim. If you ever pass there and have some extra cash to spend, you should have dinner there. Kongsvold also has a beautiful alpine garden worth checking out (free). 

The last stretch down from Dovre to Trondheim goes through varied nature as well as cultured landscape. It also goes through several small villages like Oppdal (which has a downhill ski centre) before you reach Trondheim. 

Trondheim is the fourth largest city in Norway (population well under 200 000), and the sagas tell us that it was founded by Olav Tryggvason in 997. It has been an important place for trade and was the capital of Norway from 1030-1217. The city also has spiritual importance and houses the only decent cathedral in Norway, Nidarosdomen. Trondheim is also a university city and is full of students from August-June. To check out what to do in Trondheim, visity http://trondheim.com/ or https://www.visitnorway.com/places-to-go/trondelag/trondheim/ . 

 

Day 2 Trondheim-Brønnøysund
We started off in Trondheim at my sisters old place. She was moving to a new place so half of the day was spent helping her move out her heavy furniture and bed down four floors, and up one. After a hardy morning workout we hit the E6 road. Norway has 18 national tourist roads (nasjonale turistveier), which are roads that are considered to be incredibly beautiful and picturesque. I've done 5 out of the 6 northern ones, and on this trip we wanted do the southern part of the Helgeland coast road as we did the northern part last year. The tourist road starts at Holm, but should start even earlier if you ask me, you can check them out here: http://www.nasjonaleturistveger.no/en.

A shorter ride on the second day. Courtesy of Google maps.

A shorter ride on the second day. Courtesy of Google maps.

Last year we drove up to Mosjøen instead of out to the coast. If you chose to do so you will pass Grong, a place with a tiny salmon aquarium and a huge waterfall http://namsenlaksakvarium.no/ . The aquarium is a bit shit, but if you’re interested in fishing, the Namsen river has some great spots for fly-fishing.

We didn't get far on our second day, only to Brønnøysund in fact, as we had a late departure from Trondheim and you depend on the ferry from Horn-Andalsvågen and then from Tjøtta-Forvik to get any further north. It is really worth noting that if you chose to take any coastal road, no matter where in Norway, you often depend on ferries, and though most are frequent, some really aren’t. My best tip is to not rely on your phone as coverage can be bad (and they don't always update their internet time tables), but grab a leaflet with the ferry times for all ferries of the county when on your first ferry, and consult that.

We wanted to see Torghatten mountain, a firm tourist favourite, so we stayed overnight at Torghatten Camping. The sleepover options in Norway are often few and full. We were lucky to get the last free apartment at this camping site. 
At this point, I should also tell you how bloody expensive it is in Norway. As everyone have to make a living wage and pay high taxes, food and hotels/cabins/lodges are expensive. 
If you’re going on a budget road trip in Norway, bring a tent or check accommodation beforehand. 

Thanks for reading, and be sure to read part 2 as well, it is the best part!

Inga

Scotland Calling- Isle of Skye pt 1

Hi guys,

We have been to the Isle of Sky last week and had a blast! We stayed in Scotland for a week, and due to the huge amount of photos we took, we decided to make two blog posts from our trip.This first post is from our first three days, Edinburgh Airport-Glasgow-Uig (Isle of Skye).

We arrived late in Edinburgh and travelled to Glasgow where we stayed overnight before taking the 8 hour bus journey up to Uig on the Isle of Skye. We always talk about travelling light (because we don't have a car), but always end up with about 10-15 kg of cameras, lenses and related equipment between us and an additional 15 kg each of clothes to tackle any weather for weeks (must be the Norwegian upbringing – always bring enough clothes). Despite our late arrival we managed to taste our way through all the cocktails at the Hummingbird before preparing for our long ride to the Isle of Skye (which in our case means buying crisps and photo magazines).

 

The bus journey from Glasgow to Uig was 8 hours long and incredibly picturesque. The journey starts in Glasgow and continues up the west side of Loch Lomond and Trossachs national park, before it continues over Bridge of Orchy and then the Glencoe valley. We hit massive traffic (!) between Ballachulish and Fort William due to roadworks and as a result,  we only had a wee break in Fort William before continuing in an almost empty bus up Loch Lochy. The bus then drives west at Invergarry and west again at Loch Cluanie following the road until it reaches Kyle of Lochalsh. We had another wee break before crossing the bridge to Skye. It took another 1.5 hours before we reached Uig just 5 minutes before the brewery shop closed (thank God we made it).


Uig is a small place with about 200-300 inhabitants, but as the days passed, we realised it was one of the largest places around. The name ‘Uig’ comes from the Norse word 'vik' (of course) and means bay. We pondered about how 'Vik' became 'Uig', and applied all dialects we could think of. Either the local dialect has morphed 'Vik' into 'Uig' over the years, or it was mispronounced, misheard or misspelled when some civil servant noted down the name of the place a long time ago. Who knows.  

Uig has the only brewery on Skye, a few cafes, two restaurants and two small shops (neither of which had sunscreen, but that is a painful story for the next post). Many ferries leave daily to the Outer Hebrides, so the place can get lively at times. There are a few places to stay in Uig, including numerous B&B, a hotel and a caravan site. We stayed at the latter in a rented stationary caravan home.  Neither of us have ever been inside a caravan before, so this was rather exciting for us. As the caravan was a bit worn and a bit 80s, we automatically took on new white trash roles as import Thai wife and inbred Norwegian wife and cooked dinner without using a single vegetable (except from some wild garlic we found).  

Our first evening on Skye was spent at the Uig Hotel, which is located on the hill, approximately 30 minutes walk away from the ferry terminal. There was live music and we tried  the Talisker whiskey made on Skye watching the sun set over Uig Tower, before going back to our new caravan home.

 

According to the internet there is one place you must see when in Uig, and that is the Fairy Glen. This Glen is an easy 1-1.5 hour walk from the ferry terminal, though most people just drive up there to photograph the rocky tower, known as Castle Ewen and then drive back down again. However, on a sunny day this road is worth hiking to see all the beautiful details of this intriguing terrain. There are lots of sheep, cattle, rabbits and birds of prey you can see on the way up from the road to the Fairy Glen that you may miss (well, the sheep are impossible to miss) if you drive. Regardless of how you get there, it is a place to see and a wonderful spot for a picnic.   

We then spent our last evening in Uig drinking all the different types of Isle of Skye beer there is on the stairs of our caravan home and eating more obscure food before preparing for our next days in Digg. 

Thanks for reading,

S & I

Weekend trip to cabin and a day in Rjukan

Hi guys!

I would normally never consider a trip to my cabin special at all, I have grown up with it and it is normal. However, after living in London for 4 years I have come to realise how fortunate I am to have such a special place and be surrounded by so much beauty.

The cabin belongs to my dad’s family is in Hjartdal in Telemark and we often go for a day or for the weekend. This time we went for the weekend with ambitions to climb the mountain Heksfjell as well as doing the usual maintenance (all Norwegians know how much work it is to have an old cabin). However, I got flu and Saturday offered fog and rainfall so we decided to drive to Rjukan, a town familiar to many as it was the location for heavy water production during WW2, and a “popular” place to sabotage for the Allied troops. Rjukan is situated in a beautiful valley with mount Gaustadtoppen towering over the town. Rjukan made it to the UNESCO world heritage list in 2015, and with good reason. It is a typical Norwegian small town in the shadows of the mountains, beautiful small wooden houses and impressive buildings housing the first hydroelectric plants in the world. The town also has that correct Norwegian small town feeling, with barely anyone outside and everything closed on a Saturday. However, the people are not unfriendly, and if you’re driving around in the south-east of Norway, make sure to check out this town.

Crossing the mountain from Tuddal to Rjukan

Crossing the mountain from Tuddal to Rjukan

Still plenty of snow in the mountains

Still plenty of snow in the mountains

Part view of Rjukan

Part view of Rjukan

Rjukan has five hydroelectric plants and also used to be a place for Norwegian industry. In the early 1900s we didn’t know how to transport electricity over long distances, so a lot of industry was put in close vicinity to the hydroelectric plants. At the time of the German invasion in 1940, Vemork hydroelectric plant was the only place in the world that powered the production of heavy water (heavy water is the by-product of ammonia based fertilizer production). Norway was the only country with commercial heavy water production in the world, and had supplied the scientific community around the world with heavy water since the mid 1930s. However, heavy water is also a key ingredient in the atomic bomb, and the plant with a capacity to produce 12 tonnes of heavy water a year became very interesting and important to the Germans.

Rjukan

Rjukan

Saaheim power plant in Rjukan

Saaheim power plant in Rjukan

Sam Eyde, founder of Norsk Hydro in the Rjukan town square

Sam Eyde, founder of Norsk Hydro in the Rjukan town square

Hitler was keen on keeping the production of heavy water up at Vemork as it would be an important ingredient in his atomic bomb. Churchill on the other hand was quite keen on stopping the production of heavy water. A team of Norwegian blokes were sent to England to receive training to sabotage the plant. They stayed on Hardangervidda, a mountain plateau close to Rjukan, and were initially supposed to make a landing strip for planes that were supposed to bomb Vemork. However, the mountains and weather of Norway are treacherous and the planes never saw the strip and never landed, three out of four places crashed and 41 men died. A second attempt was made by sending the same guys (plus some explosive experts) into the factory to place a bomb, and they did so successfully in 1943 (known as “Operation Gunnerside”).  Yet the production started again just half a year later. They tried bombing it again, but they didn’t ruin the heavy water store. Then Hitler decided enough was enough, we are going to move this production to Germany. However, he wanted to bring the  heavy water to back to Germany. You would perhaps think that if you have an important treasure you wouldn't risk transporting all in one go, and especially not when you are surrounded by Norwegians wanting to blow it to pieces. Yet, instructions were made to transport it all back in one go, and in 1944, the heavy water was loaded from train onto a passenger ferry. The train taking the heavy water to the ferry had been heavily guarded, but the ferry itself wasn’t, so 8.5 kg of plastic explosives were planted before departure and timed to go off when the ferry crossed the water, and so it did. So if you are after heavy water, there are plenty on the bottom of lake Tinnsjøen. 

Vemork hydroelectric plant

Vemork hydroelectric plant

Inside Vemork hydroelectric plant

Inside Vemork hydroelectric plant

Photos from Vemork

Photos from Vemork

Vemork is still a power station but is now inside the mountain. The old power station building is now a museum where you can see the old turbines, some old gear, an exhibition about Norwegian Industry, a film and exhibition about the saboteurs as well as temporary exhibitions. I saw from old posters that Sebastião Salgado had had both his “Exodus” and “Workers” photographs exhibited in the early 2000, so the photographic exhibitions there seem to hold a high standard.

 

Thanks for reading,

Inga

Trying out my new hammock

Trying out my new hammock

A side river to Hjartdøla

A side river to Hjartdøla

Conference in Viareggio and fooling around in Florence

I know most of people that follow us on Instagram know us as outdoors people, but our lives really revolve around the science we do, therefore I think it is suitable to make the first blogpost about science. One of the great benefits of science (other than science itself) is the amount of conferences around. If you’re in a good lab with a boss that gets invited to meetings, you are bound to be able to join in at some point. I am lucky to be one of those people, and in April I attended my third conference as a scientist. It was the first time I gave a conference talk. It was only a two minute Blitz presentation of my poster but trust me, they are the worst. Unfortunately for me this was a highly clinical neurodevelopmental conference and at this current moment in time I do not do anything clinical, nor neurodevelopmental or neurodegenerative.

Conference Hotel View, Viareggio

Conference Hotel View, Viareggio

Santissima Annunziata, Florence

Santissima Annunziata, Florence


I work in circadian rhythms in zebrafish, so it was a bit off target. It didn’t make it any better that I was the definitely the youngest and least qualified person at the conference. So after a mediocre talk from me it was good to be reminded that wine repairs all egos, and that I was in Italy and there was a free bar. However, as it turned out, the pharma company was very interested in the labs current work and for the first time in my life I was handed a business card and maybe there will is an industrial collaboration on the horizon. Enough science talk! 

Ponte Vecchio, Florence

Ponte Vecchio, Florence


The conference was held in Viareggio, which is a coastal town an hour away from Florence. The city is supposed to be the “Blackpool of Italy”, but I have never been to Blackpool, so I don’t know whether that is true or not. When we arrived on the Wednesday it had a post-apocalyptic/post-pandemic feel to it. The beach is huge and long and every beach club was closed. Nobody was on the beach. Sandy winds. Empty and barred up seafront estates. Empty cafes. Two days later it was packed full of people, a Tivoli and rows of marked stalls. Odd how things can change so much in such short time. Since the conference was pretty much 9:00-24:00 everyday I didn’t have much of a chance to photograph the city.

Basilica of Santa Croce, Florence

Basilica of Santa Croce, Florence

View over river Arno from Ponte alle Grazie, Florence

View over river Arno from Ponte alle Grazie, Florence

Piazzale degli Uffizi, Florence

Piazzale degli Uffizi, Florence

After the conference I headed over to Florence and spent a few days there. I stayed in a hotel over the river with amazing skyline views of Florence and Ponte Vecchio. In great company I leisurely explored the city, ate ice-cream and drank countless cappuccinos. I think in many ways Florence reminds me of a crossover between Paris and Rome for some reason, which is not a bad thing. Rome is probably one of my favourite cities, and after a sceptical first meeting with Paris in 2014, I managed to finally fall in love with Paris this March.

View from Ponte Vecchio, Florence

View from Ponte Vecchio, Florence

View of Ponte Vecchio, Florence

View of Ponte Vecchio, Florence

More Ponte Vecchio, Florence

More Ponte Vecchio, Florence

Everyone that does photography at some level knows it takes time to take a good picture, and even then it doesn’t necessarily come out good. When you travel with a wannabe photographer like myself that actually wants to spend the evening attempting river panoramas rather than drinking (well actually it’s time for both), it is key to have company with the same (or complying) mind-set as yourself (which I luckily had). I think it is hard to get any decent morning or day photos of cities (if anyone has any tips or tricks let me know). I love bringing my light tripod around when I travel, and it was only ever used to for dusk river/ocean photo. After getting my first full frame camera I used it a lot for my city travels too.
 

This post is of course about a month late, but I have been finishing my masters degree and been very busy.
This summer both Siv and I promise more updates, more photos and more travels.

Panorama view from my hotel room, Florence

Panorama view from my hotel room, Florence


Thanks guys for reading the first post on the blog!
I’ll try and keep it less nerdy next time. Any feeback is good feedback in this case!

Inga

Welcome to Nord Nomads!


This is a photo/travel/adventure blog started by two restless Norwegian photo enthusiasts. We are two passionate ladies with a taste for travelling, hiking and exploring the world around us. Coming back from trips we always have lots of photos and stories but no proper platform to share it, so we decided to make this blog.

Some words about us; Siv is based in Oslo and is finishing her masters in molecular evolution. Inga is based in London and is finishing her masters in circadian biology before starting a PhD.

Here you can follow our blog posts about travel, hiking and adventures, but also the occasional post about the young scientists everyday life (with great photographs of course). 
Make sure to check out our portfolios, which will be updated as often as possible.

Please feel free to get in touch and ask questions if you have any!


Siv & Inga