Tucked way up along the northernmost coast of Norway, you’ll find the little town of Kjøllefjord. If you’ve ever been to North Cape, you were within a stone’s throw of the place (assuming you are a good Norwegian troll and can throw a stone a REALLY long way) but you probably never knew that. It’s easy to get focused on a primary goal and miss some gems that we pass along the way. It also doesn’t help that the main road goes right to Honningsvåg, while you need to turn and explore a little more in order to get to Kjøllefjord. For those who love maps, here’s a Google Maps version that covers the Finnmark region with the pushpin stuck on the town: https://goo.gl/dgnKIH
Such an out-of-the-way place… is it really worth a visit? Watch the video below and you decide. For me? The film is so awe-inspiring I almost can’t believe it, and I live just a few hours away. To ride out on a snowmobile, the vast sky overhead painted with the twisting aurora, the frozen world so barren and alien it may as well be a ride on one of Saturn’s moons… I wanted to dive into the screen and be there. Right now.
The video is shared here with permission from the travel company that runs excursions there, Arctic Coast AS (and yes, they have a web site and here it is). If you will be traveling along the coast via Hurtigruten, do contact them and arrange something on your stop there! And of course, if you want to visit them and are planning a land-based adventure from Alta, let us know and we’ll be happy to coordinate a visit with them!
But really, watch the video, full-screen. It will leave you breathless.
Something about “the simple things”… a reminder about being lucky. And now in mid-November here in Alta, the fast-dwindling light is beginning to turn blue again – that’s not a trick of the camera!
Alta’s city center is just around the corner to the right – another five minutes’ walk ahead would put you right in the “bustling metropolis.” Even with 20,000 people in town, you’re never more than a few minutes from quiet roads that beckon toward the wilderness beyond.
I was out and about on Saturday – I met up with Tanja from North Adventure and her family at the Bossekop Market (a craft-and-food market with a LONG history that goes back to the old days when Sami and Norwegians would gather twice a year to trade for goods). We stopped inside the Sisa Cultural Center (http://www.sisa.no/wp/), a place that supports the multicultural population here in Alta, and also on occasion serves awesome food with flavors from around the world.
It was a great way to spend part of a day off, and a good excuse to eat cake in the middle of the day (my wife was at work, and I tend to eat things I shouldn’t when I am unsupervised). But as an extra treat, we were paid a visit by Ingunn Lyngstad with Alta Magedans (find them on Facebook here) as part of an exhibition of different kinds of dance and music from around the world.
And as usual, even when there is a belly dancer in the room, I also really enjoy watching the people around me. The reactions to the dancing are fun to see. Happy weekend!
I saw an interesting post in a travel forum today. Travelers coming to a northern Norway port by cruise ship this winter were looking at a dogsledding tour slated to begin in the late afternoon. In February, “late afternoon” in this part of the world really means “2 PM”, so a dogsledding event beginning at five o’clock really is a nighttime tour.
In the post, the traveler asked why a dogsled company would offer a tour that takes place in the dark, and that’s actually a really good question Here’s my opinion on that subject.
Continue reading “Why Would Anyone Go Dogsledding at Night?”
When people ask what one can do in Alta, it’s easy to just answer “a lot”. We could be a little less snappy and say, “Northern Lights, dogsledding, snowmobiles, hiking and biking and snowshoes, ice fishing, the Igloo Hotel, museums and slate quarries and tours and eating.”
But sometimes it helps to be more specific and say THESE tours are available at THESE times. And since we like being helpful 🙂 you can take a look at the digital version of our Winter 2016 brochure – yes, in full and delightful color – and get a better view of what you can do.
You can see the pdf here: Winter 2016 Brochure, english
Need some motivation? Here’s an awesome picture of a husky dog by Stefan Dahlqvist:
If you look around in picture groups on Facebook and Instagram, you discover some amazing photographs of the nature in the area. Professional and amateur photographers alike find great success creating art from the surroundings, and it’s no surprise; this truly is a wondrous and wild environment.
But sometimes one gets a feeling of being lucky without a grand panorama. This morning, staring out my kitchen window in the middle of town, it suddenly occurred to me that even this ordinary view, without special lighting or a theme or any setup, made me feel really fortunate to be here. There’s a tremendous sense of serenity after a new snow, with the world so quiet and fresh and beautiful, and for a moment all the conflicts and problems and noise falls away and you feel, just for that instant, like everything is going to be okay.
I found an interesting review of a phone app by a company called “Stray Boots”: http://goo.gl/YyHtAw
An app as a tour guide? Well, maybe… if you don’t have the budget to hire a private guide, or if there’s no guide to be had, it can be a good way to go. It sounds like they do a proper job of making the tours fun and interactive, so that’s a plus. Whatever helps people to be more engaged when they travel, is positive.
Continue reading “An App for a Tour Guide”
One of the best things about the increasing darkness every winter is that the sunsets become longer and longer, and often more spectacular. This is one of my favorites from about a week ago. Photo by Niels Westphal.
If you want to see the Northern Lights, Alta is a great place to go. For one thing, there’s dry land to stand on (try standing in the middle of the Arctic Ocean and see how important that suddenly becomes). Our climate is stable, dry and not so cloudy as other areas. And of course, only Alta has US here in town to keep our fingers crossed for the visitors, and I’m pretty sure that helps a lot, too.
(Ed: Jon has a sense of humor that is occasionally dry – please keep that in mind) Continue reading “Hey, where’s the color!?”