I came back home to Copenhagen, after a month of travels around the Balkans. I had less that ten hours to get home, repack my backs and sleep, before my next plane was departing for a completely different adventure. After one month’s warmth, drinks and exploration in eastern Europe, I was heading north to the cold and barren Norway, where I was going to immerse myself in the beautiful landscape.

I left Norway in the summer of 2012, after having studied two years at United World Colleges, getting my IB on an international school, with people from more than ninety different countries. We lived in a small town, two hundred students and two hundred citizens, in a beautiful mountainous landscape. This is when I fell in love with Norway, and when I eventually had to leave, I knew that I would keep returning to this country many more times in the future.

A little less than a year ago, a friend of mine told me about Lofoten. Since then, I couldn’t get the idea of hiking around in the tip of the country, out of my head. It’d been five years since I had last been in Norway, and it felt like it was time to go back. It had also been three years since I had seen one of my best friends from Norway, and suddenly combining those two reunions, seemed like the perfect idea.

After skyping and planning, the only possible time for making the trip, had turned out to be right after my Balkan trip. At first, I thought it would be hectic, but it ended up being a greater transition than I could ever have imagined. Rather than coming home to the Danish summer, which is nothing to brag about, I went somewhere even colder, so by the time I had to come home, I would be in a more positive mindset, regarding the weather.

We met up at Bodø airport, with little planned. All we had was our gear and joy of reuniting. We sat down at a café to plan out trip, and our next move. We shopped food and necessities, and jumped on the ferry a couple of hours later. We ended up starting the journey with a bang. The ferry was filled with retired cruisers, and here we were, two young women with backpacks. We had a five-hour journey ahead of us, but with a Jacuzzi on the deck, we felt like being in seventh heaven.

We docked at the wharf five hours later. Dusk was upon us, and we quickly had to make our way to a campsite. After getting directions in a local shop we started walking inland. After an hour, we reached what we thought was our destination, but there was no campsite to see. Fortunately, a car stopped and asked if we needed help. Apparently, we had been led in the wrong direction, but he was kind enough to give us a lift to the designated campsite. Before we had said goodbye and thanks, the rain started pouring, and we quickly needed to set up the tent. Hungry and exhausted, we made a batch of freeze-dried dinner, and then passed out to the sound of the rain hitting our tent.

After a well-rested night of sleep, we packed up the tent and continued our journey down south. We were already amazed by the nature we were surrounded by, without having any idea what was laying ahead of us. After hours in a bus, and a boat trip through the breathtaking landscape, we hiked to camp out on the beach for the night. After an hour, we were suddenly looking down at this hidden gem. We had reached Bunes beach.

We weren’t alone, and quickly befriended a British woman, who also had made her way out here. We sat up the camp, and headed straight for the water, with a bottle of red wine and nibbles. We enjoyed the beautiful sunset while skinny dipping in the freezing waters. We drank water off the mountain rocks, cooked dinner, while talking all night, before we once again passed out, extremely grateful and extremely content.

The next day, we had to get up early to make it to the bay, for the boat trip back to town. Once we reached the shore, we started cooking up breakfast porridge, because we thought it would be a while before the boat came. However, while stirring the porridge, we suddenly had to run to the dock, with the porridge in one hand, and the backpacks in the other. We almost missed the boat, which would have resulted in us stranded on the island until the evening boat would come pick us up. Fortunately, we made it, and enjoyed the beautiful scenic trip back to Reine, while finishing our oatmeal porridge on the deck.

Back in Reine, we had a couple of hours to rest, before we had yet another bus ride back up north to the small town Leknes. Due to my friend’s infirmities and the pouring rain, we took one night in a small cabin. When we arrived, we had been getting the grand cabin suite instead, because the other cabins where full, without having to pay extra. We spend a night inside a huge warm cabin, each in a king size bed, with TV and pizza. Where we really there? It felt hard to believe.

We woke up the next day to the sun shining through the window, and with another good night’s rest, we were ready for yet another day of adventure. We had breakfast and started biking to the beginning of the trail. We were going to hike to a mountain top near Kvalvika beach, which we had heard should be an extraordinary viewpoint. We packed our backs with lunch and water and started hiking up the mountains, following the muddy trails after yesterday’s rainfall.

The trial walked us through small lakes and lush rocks with a dramatic sky daring to give us yet another shower. But the only rain we felt was our own sweat from walking up the steep trail. After hours of trekking, we reach the top. We looked over the water, unable to see the seaside on the other side. The water stretched all the way to Greenland. Below was a beautiful beach, surrounded by the barren cliffs and mountain. Here we enjoyed yet other delicious meal, while admiring the spectacular view.

That same evening, we had to make it down south to yet another town. Moskenes was our last stop, before getting on the last ferry the next morning. Although Moskenes isn’t necessarily as breathtaking as the other places, the special thing about ending the trip there, was the possibility to view all the islands from the coastline. We could visually look back at the landscape we had been traveling through, seeing the mountain chains ending in the horizon.

One last time, we sat up our tent, cooked our freeze-dried food and enjoy an expensive Norwegian beer. We did not speak much that evening. We felt unrest about leaving, and had witnessed such an incredible landscape, which robbed us from words. That night, we went to bed, with our heart feeling a little heavier.

Leaving Lofoten was as hard as saying goodbye to my friend. That feeling, when you have to leave something you love, and don’t know when you will have the chance to see it again. The next morning, we quietly took the ferry back to Bodø, and headed straight to the airport. I was on my memory bank

WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY

Kathrine Norsk