The Natural Beauty of Norway: Tromsø – Nordkapp

By Matthew Harris (lambchopeindhoven).
On my cycle trip through northern Norway: described in my cycle blog.

I am cycling to Tromsø with a lump in my throat. Tromsø is why I am here on my bike at 4 am on beautiful Senja island. It is why I am here at all, cycling to the North Cape. Here last December with my parents, I fell in love with the place. I had to return. And, 6 months later, here I am. The road ahead twists and turns around the fjords of Senja and Kvaløya, and every turn is one turn closer to this beautiful town of the north. Tromsø: here I come!

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The approach to Tromsø: Senja

The approach to Tromsø: Senja

The approach to Tromsø: Kvaløya

The approach to Tromsø: Kvaløya

Tromsø is at 69°40′33″N and 300km north of the polar circle. In the summer, the sun never sets, and I cycle in the eternal light. In the depths of winter the sun does not peek above the horizon. For about 3 hours a day the sun approaches the horizon and bathes the landscape in the most beautiful deep velvet blue. In the south the sky turns orange: a sunrise that never comes.

The shortness of the dusk – the three hours before everything is plunged again into darkness – makes one focus. The next three hours will be lived to the fullest. For the next three hours, I will live in the now. Each day is intense, and each day here is oh, so beautiful.

Winter: Looking down over  Tromsø in the twilight.

Winter: Looking down over Tromsø in the twilight.

Winter: Looking south above Tromsø in the twilight.

Winter: Looking south above Tromsø in the twilight.

Winter: Looking south above Tromsø in the twilight.

Winter: Looking south above Tromsø in the twilight.

Winter: And the light disappears over Tromsø as the Hurtigruten boat arrives.

Winter: And the light disappears over Tromsø as the Hurtigruten boat arrives.

In the winter I looked down over Tromsø at midday in the twilight blue. In the summer I stood in the same place at midnight, bathed in the midnight sun.

Summer: Tromsø bathed in the midnight sun.

Summer: Tromsø bathed in the midnight sun.

Summer: Tromsø bathed in the midnight sun.

Summer: Tromsø bathed in the midnight sun.

In the winter we went on a motorski near Lyngen. Waiting for the ferry at Breivikeidet was stunning. Everything so blue. In the summer, the rain had come. The clouds were threatening, and the place had lost some of its magic.

Winter: Brevikeidet

Winter: Brevikeidet

Summer: Breivikeidet

Summer: Breivikeidet

Winter: Breivikeidet

Winter: Breivikeidet

Winter: Breivikeidet

Winter: Breivikeidet

Summer: Breivikeidet

Summer: Breivikeidet

Then I headed north on my bike, away from the Tromsø region, into unknown territory for me. I was accompanied by some spectacular threatening clouds as I rounded the last fjords before the trek across the tundra plateaus.

Threatening clouds near Storslett.

Threatening clouds near Storslett.

Rain near Alta.

Rain near Alta.

Light and dark near Alta.

Light and dark near Alta.

And then across the tundra in the far north. The last stretch before the North Cape.

Tundra plains approaching the North Cape.

Tundra plains approaching the North Cape.

The wind was brutal.

The wind was brutal.

All cyclists going to the North Cape follow the same final road. Its barren beauty fills me with joy. But, the force of the elements make you to earn the last kilometres. This is the climax, and what a climax it is! A 7 km long tunnel that plunges to 212 metres below the sea with a slope of 9%. Acceleration straight down into the frigid depths. The teeth chatter, and the whole body shudders with the cold. Outside with the final approach, the wind is brutal and the slopes are steep. And it is cold. And it rains a bit. This is what the North Cape is meant to be like. A point at the end of the earth.

The approach to the North Cape.

The approach to the North Cape.

The North Cape.

The North Cape.

Humour me. Its not the most spectacular photo of Norway. Indeed, it is a photo that everyone takes at the North Cape. For the cyclist, it has extra meaning. It is the goal of the journey, even though the journey was the goal. This is the proof that I made it to the North Cape. I have seen some of the most beautiful parts of this country, and of Europe. And I am content.

I kept a blog of my bike trip. Maybe you are interested. Also I have made a short video of the trip. Thanks for reading my post!
Bodø - Nordkapp YouTube Video

Copyright: Matthew Harris (lambchopeindhoven)

78 thoughts

  1. These pictures are magnificent. I was looking at a photography workshop in Norway this week. A five day trip photographing the northern lights among other things. I would love to be able to go. So much more so having seen your photographs.

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  2. You’re description and the fantastic fotos have certainly put (this regioon of) Norway on my bucket list of places to visit. Thanks for sharing.
    Best regards from southern Texas,
    Pit

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    • Du overrasker mer og mer Matthew.
      Du har vӕrt overalt og kann svensk og er en svӕrt habil løper, syklist og fotograf. I nødvendigvis i den rekkefølgen, men dog…
      Nå venter vi spent på ditt nye prosjekt! 🙂
      Dina og bokfeene Siri und Selma

      Like

  3. Lieber Matthew,
    ach schön auch mal Bilder vom Winter zu sehen. Ja, es ist ein magisches Land. Das Licht malt (macht) die Magie und genau das hast du bei deinen Bildern so wunderbar zu nutzen gewusst. Ich danke dir sehr für die Fortsetzungsreihe deiner Reisebilder und sende dir herzliche Grüße nach NL aus dem schwarzen Walde
    Frau Blau

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    • Lieber Frau Blau,
      Das ist so schön im Norden. Das Licht. Da die Sonne so lange beim Horizont bleibt, hat man so schön tief blaues Licht. Es macht ein Magie im Landschaft. Traumhaft schön!

      Viele Grüße zum Schwarzwald zurück!!

      Matthew

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  4. My goodness, Matthew, you are brave dealing with the distances and elements. I need to know if you came across trolls and if they were helpful to you. I can’t believe you didn’t had any help cycling such distances and fighting the harsh elements.🙂

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    • Wow! Iceland is an amazing place. I did some hiking there, and drove around highway 1. It will be a very different experience for you cycling there. My favourite place there, though, was the peninsula in the north west. This peninsula is off the highway 1 main circuit. Hornstrandir is an amazing place for hiking – incredible landscape and no people or sign of people. Check it out if you have a chance! And all the best with your trip!

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  5. great, great, great – breathless am I, enjoying this wonderful pics. Midnight sun. Wintertime – every time different …
    thank you very much, matthew!
    and dina too, of course!

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  6. Ich verstehe alle “Wahnsinnigen” sehr gut, die die Welt mit dem Rad erkunden. Man erlebt die Welt mit seiner Natur wie in einem Rausch. (Manchmal ist es aber doch sehr anstrengend. Die Natur. Mit Wind und Schwerkraft). Gratulation von mir.

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  7. I’ve never seriously considered going to Norway for vacation before, but this story definitely changed my mind. Now the only question to solve – how to fit it all in one lifetime…

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  8. Wir kennen die Gegend und finden, du hast super die typisch nordische Stimmung herübergebracht. Von den Buchfeen Siri und Selma herzliche Grüße, Masterchen ruht sich gerade in der Schweiz aus – wie es sich gehört😉

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  9. wow, this is so beautiful! thank you for taking me on a journey through a landscape that is a polar opposite from mine on the equator! i thrive in warm weather, though this post makes me reconsider dipping my toes in your beloved northern latitudes! the photos are incredible. thank you.
    lisa/z

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  10. Absolutely awesome photographs, Matthew. I’m no biker and it doesn’t look like a trip that lends itself to walking in Winter, when you took your preferred photos. Lovely to travel with you.

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  11. Norway oh so beautiful, whenever I see pictures or videos of Norway or the whole arctic circle area
    I feel it has some divine vibrations,I always feel it is the land where you feel you are heading into nothingness, it has an appeal like the Himalayas & Tibet, everywhere you feel nothingness, it is the land of the Yogis, you feel the emptiness within.

    Beautiful Lapland, I love it

    Like

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