Cabin by the Sea – Part 2: Jannie visits Norway!

August 14, 2013 § 2 Comments

Summer is flying by even faster than it was last time I posted. Today is my last day in Bodø before heading to Oslo, where I will be staying for a few days before heading back to Budapest. Then it is only 3 weeks until school starts up again!


We spent the past weekend at the cabin in Halsa. The weather was pretty bad up until Jannie arrived. There was a major bicycle race in Bodø that day, so all the roads were to be closed between 13:00-19:00. Since her plane was arriving at 14:30, I got a ride with Skjalg’s mom to the airport. As I was sitting and waiting, the skies began to open up and scattered rays entered the airport. I crossed my fingers that it would hold – this was Jannie’s first time in Norway and bad weather would dampen her first impression.

As soon as she arrived, we walked into downtown Bodø and stopped in at Vinmonopolet (government run and controlled liquor store – the only place to get wine and anything stronger that beer in Norway). Afterwards, we grabbed coffee and sat in the main square as we waited for Skjalg to get off from work. The bicycle race had just ended, so the square was busy and entertaining. Soon it was home to pack and then off to Skjalg’s dad’s thai restaurant for dinner – which was amazing as always. To close out the evening in Bodø, before starting the drive to Halsa, we had waffles and coffee up at Skjalg’s grandparents. The 3-hour drive landed us in Halsa at around midnight, so we enjoyed some red wine and then head to bed.

Our days in Halsa were unintentionally themed. Day 1 was Glacier Day, Day 2 – Fishing Day and Day 3 – Whale Day. Our luck with the weather was unbelieveable! I took about 600 pictures on the trip and tried as much as I could to narrow them down while still retaining the story feel. Ready for the longest blog post I’ve ever published? Hope you like pictures! Click on the pictures to view/scroll through larger versions.

Day 1 – Glacier Day

We started the day with an egg and bacon breakfast. Jannie slept in, so Skjalg and I enjoyed coffee and sheep watching on the balcony before heading to the store.

After breakfast, it was off to Svartisen! We dressed warm for the boat ride into the fjord – which takes about 30 minutes – and packed hiking bags for the trip. Since we’d arrived at night, it was Jannie’s first time really seeing the mountains and fjord – and what a way to see it all!

The walk up to the main path leading up to the glacier is about 2 km. It was lunchtime by the time we got to the beach near the fjord, so we stopped in for a small bite at the cabin restaurant overlooking the glacier. Skjalg and I shared a small plate of lefse (potato pancake with butter and sugar) and a waffle and Jannie had a waffle with freshly made strawberry jam.

The rest of the walk up to the glacier path was nice and calm. Jannie and Skjalg both drank water from the waterfalls – nothing like fresh glacier water!

Then began the hike up to the glacier! The hike is pretty much navigating across huge expanses of rock and large boulders. The rocks had such beautiful patterning and the view got better and better with each step.

Finally, the glacier reared its head over the rock maze. It has receeded quite a bit since Skjalg and I visited it for the first time in 2011. Still, it is Norway’s second largest glacier – about 260 sq. km. The part that we are able to walk up to is called Engabreen and is the lowest glacier point on the European mainland.

The sides were a bit dangerous, since there was a large gap between the ice and the rocks leading straight down under the glacier, but there was a sort of sand beach near the head of it, right above the waterfall. We managed to climb down there and were met with one of the most beautiful scenes I’ve ever seen in my life. The ice was a vibrant blue and the water was a cloudy turquoise with small pieces of ice floating in it. The cave leading into the glacier was pitch black – despite the glowing blue of the glacier. We took the opportunity to take some candid shots.

After about half an hour up at the glacier, we started back home. The trip back was spent in a sort of state of bliss. It was such an amazing experience.

We got home and warmed up a little bit – it had gotten cold out on the water. For dinner we grilled pork chops and corn and then relaxed a little before taking out the boat for a midnight fishing trip.

Day 2 – Fishing Day

Woke up to another beautiful sunny day. It was a little chilly, but I found a comfy spot in the sun and enjoyed a cup of coffee and The Fountainhead for a couple of hours. We packed a picnic lunch and loaded fishing gear into the boat. It was perfect fishing conditions and the view was amazing. Jannie had never caught a fish before, so we made it our mission of the day. Within the first hour, she’d caught three – one of which was big enough to feed us for dinner. Mission: accomplished!

After 4 or so hours out on the sea, we found a perfect little picnic spot on a small island.

We fished until 9 or so and then headed home to gut, clean and bake the fish. We’d forgotten to go to the store before it closed at 6 and had to make dinner with what we had available. No cold fish, sour cream, potatoes and cucumber salad for us!

Day 3 – Whale Day/Return Home

Since we would be driving back to Bodø on Sunday, we’d planned to take an easy morning. Skjalg and I were enjoying coffee on the patio when I noticed something black pop up out of the water. Skjalg went to grab the binoculars and we were soon able to confirm that it was, not just one, but two whales! I ran to get Jannie since she had really been look forward to seeing a whale while we were there. The two whales played in the fjord for a couple hours, making for a perfect end to the trip. Dark clouds rolled in just as we were packing up the car and cleaning the cabin. Lucikly, we were able to catch some shots of the beautiful scenery on the way back.

For Jannie’s last night in Bodø, we had dinner at Pepe’s pizzeria and went to see The Heat at the local theater. Though short, the trip was a major success and absolutely unforgettable. I still can’t believe how lucky we got with the weather! I’m sad to say goodbye to Bodø and all the amazing memories we’ve made this summer, but we’ll be back next year for some more.

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