At the 61st parallelJuly 18, 2016 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C
Since we last wrote, we traveled from Sweden to Norway by train and have since been taking trains, buses, and ferries throughout this amazing country. We are so lucky to be joined by Nick's mom Cindy and stepdad Scott for this portion of the trip; they have really set up a fantastic tour for us all. So far we have been to Oslo, Stavanger, Bergen, and now Balestrand. Today we leave for Flam where we will spend a day before heading back to Oslo and then Stockholm. It's been a whirlwind trip in southern Norway, and there have already been many highlights including a ferry tour out of Stavanger with the opportunity to hike up to Pulpit Rock and exploring the beautiful Sognefjord by ferry.
We can't talk about summer near the Arctic Circle without also talking about the famous midnight sun phenomenon. We can attest that there is very little nighttime here. There seem to be a few hours between 12:30 and 2 AM during which the sky does become completely dark, but the many hours of twilight before and after are extremely interesting, especially after being near the equator for so long where the sun sets pretty regularly around 7 PM. We had already noticed this in the Netherlands where dawn and dusk seemed to last for hours, but night there was more significant. Last night, between the cloud cover, reflected human lights (not extensive - these are small towns), and twilight from the sun and moon (which are out simultaneously for several hours), it was easily still light enough out at midnight to walk around without a flashlight. The drawback is no Northern Lights to check out. However, it is a really unique thing to see. As Nick described it, that moment of dusk where at home we would say "Okay, it'll be totally dark in 10 minutes; time to leave this park/head home/etc." lasts for hours and hours here. It's exciting to have so much extra natural light, but it actually has been disruptive to our ability to sleep on a regular schedule. We have learned just how much the daily cycle of the sun at home helps to regulate us. When we wake up and see light coming in through the window, we're conditioned to think it might be time to start waking up; here, it's only 2 or 3 AM. What a wild place.
We cannot thank Cindy and Scott enough for meeting us here and taking us on this lovely tour. It has been awesome, and we expect the next few days to continue in the same manner! Shout out to Scott for taking some of the pictures for this post.Read more