05 Jun 13 564km // ALTA // NORWAY
I’m writing this at the back of a green ’82 Mitsubishi kombi, Stevo on my right, our new friends, Stefan and Stephy in the front, and a gorgeous white Siberian Husky named Mansi, in the back. It’s 1:03am and the sun is not even remotely close to setting…in fact, the next time this town will see darkness will be July 28th. We are just over half way through our road trip to the North Cape — 71 degrees North, and the northern most point of Europe. Our bags are packed with local Norwegian beer, camera gear, woolen undergarments (which we’ll wear in our four-season sleeping bags), and sausages (that will be poked with sticks we find, and placed on a flame from a fire we’ll start later tonight). The views out the windows range from snow-capped fjords, crisp arctic rivers, lakes and the Atlantic ocean, innovative underwater tunnels, rocky mountains and occasional sightings of reindeer and sea eagles.
How did we find ourselves here?
The past four weeks have been so far from what we knew as life. We’ve been taken outside of our daily routine, swopping early mornings for late nights, and listening to the howls of 70 Huskies at Trasti & Trine’s Northern Lights Husky lodge where we have learned to knit, carve wooden spoons, make dresses out of plastic, pave slate pathways, chop and stack wood, cook seven-course meals for VIPs, cook and serve Norwegian salmon for nothing short of 45 foreign guests at any given time, and most importantly, we’ve learned to place nature and the outdoors on a pedestal above consumerism. Surreal doesn’t explain it.
When we signed up to work here, those many months ago, we knew we’d be helping with puppies, viewing the midnight sun (and ticking that off our Wanderlist), and engaging in a little woodwork, but we had no idea that our experience here would change our perception of the importance of submerging yourself in a different culture. From new rituals, like Sauna Friday’s (basically the best day of the week), and national holidays involving parading families and ice-cream-eating in single digit degree weather (check out Stefan’s pics from 17 May below), to eating spiced cake in carved oranges next to the fire, and waiting for the daily “dinner bell” to send us to the main house. Our days have been filled with a different type of creative craft; creating goods with our hands, and using teamwork and long days to shape and mould a family’s home business and surroundings. All of this whilst being blessed with the best job in the world — walking eight gorgeous puppies daily.
Some of the times, however, haven’t been so glamorous. Picking up dog poop in freezing, wet weather, scrubbing toilets, washing dishes after those seven-course meals, and cleaning the chicken coop, made the experience dirtier, but it made it that much more real too. We’ll probably add “professional dog poop scooper” to our CVs, appreciate the gentle triangular fold on the fresh roll of toilet paper in future hotels, buy a dishwasher, and never own chickens as pets, but we’ll always remember Alta as a magical place. Thank you Trine, Johnny 1, 2 and 3, Stefan, Stephy, Emma, Hannah, Elisabeth, Roger, Lila and the 70 furry howlers. We’ll hopefully come back soon for some snow-coated mushing lessons (and to see the puppies all grown up).
PS. If you haven’t booked your ticket to Alta yet, I suggest you do.
A huge thanks (again) to Stefan Dahlqvist for taking these awesome shots of us whilst in Alta.