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Home → October, 2017

Monthly Archives: October 2017 − Travelblog


Gibos­tad-Finns­nes-Har­stad – 31st Octo­ber 2017

Gibos­tad wel­co­med us with a bit of a sur­pri­se: this nice, snow-cove­r­ed, his­to­ri­cal pier whe­re we had gone along­side was clo­se for traf­fic. Too old, not safe. So the­re was no evening walk.

But of cour­se we wan­ted to have a look at the place, so we just use the zodiac to go ashore in a small boat har­bour around the cor­ner. A pit­to­res­que litt­le vil­le on the beau­ti­ful island of Sen­ja, with an „old city“ at the small boat har­bour. The „nost­al­gic bak­e­ry“ was clo­sed, unfor­tu­n­a­te­ly 🙂 but that was not the point. The point was the beau­ti­ful land­s­cape, the stun­ning light, the snow, all the lovely litt­le details to dis­co­ver. It was all the­re.

Also in Finns­nes, we took the oppor­tu­ni­ty to have a look around. A calm, small north Nor­we­gi­an town. Not the cent­re of the world, but if that is what you are loo­king for, then north Nor­way is not your place any­way. But again, lovely evening colours (at 3 p.m.!) on the moun­tains, and a litt­le, alrea­dy fro­zen lake in a small forest in the midd­le of town.

Gal­le­ry – Gibos­tad-Finns­nes-Har­stad – 31st Octo­ber 2017

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

The stun­ning evening light stay­ed with us until it gave way to twi­light and then darkness. The sky remai­ned clear, so we were of cour­se curious what the evening might bring. The auro­ra fore­cast was not exact­ly opti­mistic, but so what, after all it was just a fore­cast! Rea­li­ty is still a dif­fe­rent thing. And inde­ed, later in the evening, the­re was a nort­hern light! Faint, but clear­ly visi­ble at times!

By the way, this web­site has got its own info site about nort­hern lights, inclu­ding some nort­hern light pho­to tips from Rolf.

Kvaløya-Sen­ja – 30th Octo­ber 2017

We left from Trom­sø in good spi­rits in the ear­ly morning and set cour­se to the north, through Kvalsund and to the outer side of Kvaløya, the lar­ge island west of Trom­sø. The first orca of the sea­son had been seen the­re a cou­p­le of days ago, so the­re was rea­son to be opti­mistic.

We were the­re at the right time but not qui­te at the right place, they were cer­tain­ly some­whe­re, but not whe­re we were, so we did not see any wha­les. We saw stun­ning land­s­cape, rug­ged islands, some­ti­mes hid­den under snow sho­wers, to re-appe­ar then under quick­ly chan­ging but always ama­zing light. We cros­sed 70 degrees north, clo­se to San­døya, an island with some lovely sand beaches and some lonely houses. San­døya is sup­po­sed to have exact­ly one per­ma­nent inha­bi­tant.

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

Then we set a sou­ther­ly cour­se and sails, and the bridge crew took us safe­ly through the sker­ries and rocks on the outer side of Kvaløya. We aban­do­ned the plan to fol­low the outer side of Sen­ja to Gryll­efjord, it was just a bit too rough for that, and some had alrea­dy sacri­fi­ced to King Nep­tu­ne, so we went into the chan­nels again and found good shel­ter bet­ween Sen­ja and the main­land and soon we went along­side in Gibos­tad for a calm night.

Trom­sø – 29th Octo­ber 2017

How do you see that the sum­mer is over? When Anti­gua is back in Trom­sø after several mon­ths in Spits­ber­gen. When the sun is going down under the hori­zon at 3 p.m. When you have to clean the snow away on deck 5 times a day. When you see a lot of old friends from Spits­ber­gen along­side in the har­bour in Trom­sø: the Cape Race, the Polar­girl, the Auro­ra Explo­ra, they are all here. Good old Nor­der­licht is along­side Anti­gua.

The light comes and goes with the snow­sho­wers, grey clouds alter­na­te with soft sun­light. Some­ti­mes the­re is no visi­bi­li­ty at all, some­ti­mes the colour­ful woo­den houses are reflec­ted on the mir­ror-like water sur­face. Peop­le are com­ing to the ship through the snow one by one, han­ding bags and suit­ca­ses over befo­re they come on board. Then we are com­ple­te, pas­sen­gers and crew. We gather in the salong, wel­co­me on board! We talk about life on the ship and the plans for the upco­m­ing days and enjoy the first din­ner of the trip. Sascha has pre­pa­red sal­mon. Good stuff!

Gal­le­ry – Trom­sø – 29th Octo­ber 2017

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

After din­ner, we talk about nort­hern light pho­to­gra­phy and have a look at the came­ras. It is com­ple­te­ly clou­dy now, but we have got a who­le week, so the­re are very rea­listic chan­ces for a clear evening and then … fin­gers cros­sed!

Tam­pe­re – 13th Octo­ber 2017

You may have noti­ced that this is about Tam­pe­re, which is not in Spits­ber­gen. It is actual­ly in Fin­land! Far down south!

Yes, true. But tho­se who have been with Rolf Stan­ge and Alex­an­der Lembke in Spits­ber­gen in recent years, on the sai­ling ship Anti­gua or in Pyra­mi­den, will know that the­re is a con­nec­tion. If you have shared some cho­co­la­te with Alex on the tun­dra or a beer in the evening, then you will have heard Alex tal­king about the Fin­nish sau­na. He has been working inten­se­ly with it for years. Of cour­se also enjoy­ing the very plea­sant prac­ti­cal aspects, but main­ly rese­ar­ching its cul­tu­ral and his­to­ri­cal sides. One preli­mi­na­ry result of this never-ending pro­ject is an exhi­bi­ti­on that was not about to be ope­ned in Tam­pe­re. (For some impres­si­ons of the actu­al ope­ning, click here – Born in Sau­na).

Gal­le­ry – Tam­pe­re – 13th Octo­ber 2017

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

I could, of cour­se, not miss the oppor­tu­ni­ty to take the trip to Fin­land. Befo­re the actu­al ope­ning, I still had a litt­le bit of time for an excur­si­on into the famous Fin­nish land­s­cape of forests and lakes. It was a bit exo­tic for me: lots of trees! But you get used to it. So befo­re we get to the actu­al exhi­bi­ti­on, we have got some impres­si­ons from the Fin­nish forests. The­re was no time for lon­ger trips, it is all from a walk clo­se to Tam­pe­re.

Sau­na Syn­tyneet – Born in Sau­na – 13th Octo­ber 2017

We are still in Tam­pe­re in Finn­land and we are get­ting to the cen­ter­pie­ce of the trip to the coun­try of forests, lakes and – sau­na. This is what it was all about. After a long time of inten­se work and pre­pa­ra­ti­ons, Alex­an­der Lembke could proud­ly open his exhi­bi­ti­on on Fri­day the 13th (that should bring some luck!).

Of cou­se you don’t have to show the peop­le in Fin­land what a sau­na loo­ks like. The­re are about 5.5 mil­li­on Finns, and they have got several mil­li­on sau­nas. If you live in Fin­land, then you know what a sau­na loo­ks like. If you live on the Ork­ney Islands, then you know what the sea loo­ks like.

Hence, Alex could fokus on his main sub­ject: Sau­na Syn­tyneet – Born in Sau­na. Lar­ge por­traits cover almost a cen­tu­ry of Finish life and histo­ry with peop­le who were born in a sau­na. Not just by chan­ce, as one might be mis­led to belie­ve (unless you real­ly know Fin­land), but becau­se the sau­na was and some­ti­mes still is con­si­de­red an appro­pria­te place for that kind of thing, for prac­ti­cal and cul­tu­ral rea­sons. Today, most Finns are born in modern hos­pi­tals, but it is still not unhe­ard of that someo­ne sees the light of the world in a sau­na. Of cour­se not one of the­se modern well­ness things that most non-Fin­nish peop­le con­si­der a sau­na, but a pri­va­te one that has been fami­ly pro­per­ty over genera­ti­ons.

Insti­tu­ti­ons inclu­ding the Goe­the-Insti­tu­te, the town of Tam­pe­re and th Fin­nish Sau­na Asso­cia­ti­on have sup­por­ted the exhi­bi­ti­on and were repre­sen­ted at the ope­ning, giving it an appro­pria­te­ly worthy frame with a cou­p­le of speaches. Some of tho­se who­se por­traits are forming the core of the exhi­bi­ti­on were also pre­sent.

Gal­le­ry – Sau­na Syn­tyneet – Born in Sau­na – 13th Octo­ber 2017

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

During the later cour­se of the evening, the­re was an excur­si­on to the object of sci­ence and pas­si­on: a sau­na. A real Fin­nish one, actual­ly the oldest public sau­na that is still in use in Fin­land! I did not take any pho­tos the­re, that is some­thing that you just don’t do (unless you are Alex and you have spent a lot of time to know tho­se who are invol­ved). So I can only recom­mend to you to take a trip to Fin­land and get some real sau­na expe­ri­ence! It is more than worth it!

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