Just another drone test.
Vardø is basically located at the end of the world. Even the clouds today have the layout to confirm this statement, they rest like a kettle lock above this arctic fisher town and it’s 2000 and some inhabitants.
It’s like the car passes over from a land bathing in the evening sun beneath distant pink clouds into a shadowy world of brown hills and grey grass. There are no trees. Reindeer run across the road from time to time.
You don’t see a lot of people. Urban winds have reached this rural place though. Hidden though town you can spot several murals, graffiti and other displays of creativity.
Pøbel (probably the most famous Norwegian street artist ever) invited several leading street artists from around the world to Vardø back in 2012. They arranged the art festival called «Komafest». I guess the goal was to wake Vardø back to life with graffiti. I hope they come back to repeat it someday.
Vardø’s history is rich and full of dark chapters. Vardøhus fortress was built in the 13th century. The place would witness some of Europe’s biggest witch trials 300 years later.
Almost one hundred people were burned for dancing with the devil under a full moon, learning dark arts from black cats and drinking bewitched beer…
Today you can read their stories at Steilneset Witch Monument where a light shines for every victim of the witch hunt.
Another noteworthy thing about Vardø:
It’s a senter for top secret NATO-activity.
See those balls in the skyline?
They are radars, Globus I and II.
A third one is being built as you read this. A Russian Bitcoin Factory will soon open it’s doors as one of the closest neighbors to this new radar. American army families are moving into town, according to local media. A lot seems to be going on under the surface here. One of the houses facing the only road leading from the tunnel which connects this arctic island to Norwegian mainland, may very well be recording all comings and goings to town. I have a rich imagination and can’t help feeling watched, although I’m not sure if it’s the spies or the witches who are behind it.
What I am sure about is that Vardø is an inspiring place. It makes you want to think and write and paint.
I’ll be back.
Honestly, I thought I might faint climbing up and down hills to get to this place.
But the struggles were worth it.
This lighthouse, on the south side of Varangerfjorden, was established in 1910 as a result of growing traffic connected to the mining activities in Kirkenes.
During the 2nd World War, German troops took over the lighthouse, and before they retreated in 1944, the whole station was demolished.
When it was rebuilt after the war, it was given a modern, functionalistic style by the famous architects Blasted and Munthe-Kaas.
Bøkfjord was de-manned in 2006.
The station is owned by the state and protected as a national monument under the Cultural Heritage Act.
The Coastal Administration is cooperating with local interests to facilitate alternative use of the premises, meaning: You can book it for a night!
And if you don’t have the power to walk to this pearl of a place, you can call for a boat. As we did on the way back (not because of the «power issue» – some of us had to catch a flight in the afternoon, and boating back seemed safer than walking in order to make it to the airport in time).
As the Norwegian saying goes: Everybody agreed it had been a nice trip.
When you’re living in the great north, country boundaries aren’t that big of a deal as in more populated areas. No matter if you live in the northern Norway, Finland, Sweden or Russia – you live behind the wall (you get it, if you’ve seen GOT). People up north share a lot of traditions and struggles, and there is a lot of border crossing going on. Which is why I didn’t think of going to Finnish Saariselkä yesterday as a big deal.
I didn’t take a single photo.
Saariselkä with it’s 350 inhabitants was pretty much as expected: Quiet, empty and moody. The rain was poring down most of the day with no sight of the midnight sun. The Acho-shop was closed.
Midsummer’s Day is a Holiday in Finland. So after a delicious dinner at the hotel, we found the only open bar “downtown”. Germany beat Sweden 2-1 in the World Cup, as we were drinking fresh blueberry shots with cream while kind of watching the game.
I really wish I had some proper photos to share from this trip (not counting the selfies or snaps on my iphone).
Recommendation: If you go to Finland you MUST drink Minttu Cacao with cream! It’s delicious.
Other things you probably should do in Finland – not in the midnight sun season, though ^^
It’s that time of the year again, another autumn of new beginnings has come.
I find myself in the beginning of my third year in arctic Norway. 70° north is not quite the North Pole, but I find it pretty exotic.
I moved here because I got a job for a local division of the national broadcaster. And even though it’s 2000 km away from my mom, my friends and everything I knew: I decided to migrate up north.
I felt ready for change. I said farewell to Oslo and my life there, thinking that moving away from the capital with it’s a fifth share of the country’s population and pretty much everything else, at the very least would teach me something.