We decided to take a detour to Tromsø, mostly because we were nearby and I know some NZers who live there, and it wasn’t really out of the way as we had no plan really as to where we were going. We stopped at the tourist office (where I met another NZer!) and got some advice on things to do in this neck of the woods, then we set off. We walked up the ski field that is there to entertain ourselves for the day. When you are coming down a skifield in winter, you don’t really notice how steep it is, and this one was steep. But the view at the top was worth it. I felt I could see for miles.
We then made our visits, and continued on our merry way. You have the option in many places in northern Norway to drive around fjords or take ferrys through them – in some places I think the only option is to take a ferry. We tended to opt for ferries where we could though, as long as the cost was reasonable. You get some stunning sites and also get to cut out some of the driving.
We drove to a place called Alta. Alta is famous for its rock art drawings and has been made a UNESCO world heritage site. Its an area near the Arctic circle with the largest concentration of rock art in northern Europe, dating back to between 7000 – 2000 years ago. These drawings were found by accident about 60 years ago, and since then, more keep being discovered – and it’s no wonder as most of the rocks in this area are covered by moss and vegetation, and the drawings, when first found, are very faint grey lines on the rocks, very easy to miss. For tourists however, some of the drawings have been coloured in red so they can be seen, while others have been left grey so you can see how difficult it must have been to locate them. This outdoor heritage site is so well set up, with explanations of each drawing at each stop point, in English as well. Many of these drawings look as though they were made by children, and perhaps they were. Amazing they have lasted so many years for us to still see them, and well worth a look if you happen to be that far north. Many of the pictures feature reindeer, hunting and fishing, so a good indication of what life was about.
We encountered some stunning scenery as we drove yet further north, so here are a few pictures and words to tell the story. Stunningly clear sunsets (well, the sun didn’t really set at this time of year so far north but you get the drift), silence, fishing boats in the ocean as we sped along the road, boat sheds perched on the edge of a beach waiting for high tide, sun setting on a red cottage, reindeer herds blocking the road (they would pop out of nowhere and pay no heed to vehicles), waking up to reindeer right outside the car (a little scary if you ask me, they are relatively large animals with big antlers on board), searching for a peaceful spot to stop for the night, finding that peaceful spot, being stalked by a nervous reindeer as you take a walk (it made me nervous too!).