Reindeer Bay restplaceJune 28, 2017 in Norway
We'd looked at the weather forecast and found it was due to be sunny on Friday and Saturday. In light of this we changed our plans and began making our way up the East Coast of the Posanger peninsula to Nordkapp, from where we knew we'd be able to see the midnight sun if it was out.
The road was good but the landscape was harsh. Zebra striped hills surrounded us, the bright white snow that persisted in sheltered undulations, contrasting against the dark stretches of bogland where the plants, so recently released from their icy blanket, hadn't yet taken on the colour of Spring. Thin Silver Birch tree trunks added to the two-tone effect, their leaves only just in bud, not daring to believe winter was over. The crowns of many had been snapped off and their variegated silver and black trunks stood earily as testaments to how difficult it is for plants to survive out here. Ever since leaving Sicily in mid March, we've been travelling northwards. Sometimes Spring has advanced on us and sometimes we've advanced on Spring. Today, as we travelled through a bare winter landscape at the end of June, we could definitely say we'd outrun Spring!
We eventually reached a valley where leaves once again added a feeling of colour and life to the land. Here, small, immaculately painted wooden hill cabins stood, some with snowmobiles parked outside. Apparently many Norwegians relish a 'back to nature' approach to holidays, where they gather fresh water from lakes and streams and dig holes in the ground to use as toilets. We wonder whether these cabins are used as part of this?
After dropping down from the highlands, we hit the coastline, and oh what a coastline it was! The snowy hills were now backdrops to the large bays. More elaborate wooden cabins of various colours, red, blue, grey, white, cream and yellow, dotted the shoreline. White fishing boats, splashed with bright streaks of paint or adorned with fluorescent buoys looked tempting in the sunshine. These 'postcard scenes' were augmented by the surreal sight of reindeer herds sunning themselves with their calves at frequent intervals on the slopes or trotting along the side of the road.
We pulled up with other vans in a beautiful restplace at the head of a bay, beside a small river that channeled mountain meltwater into the sea. Over the road there was a shop run by a woman who was one of the indigenous Scandinavian people; the Sami. She sold traditional Sami products that she had made herself. There were carved and painted wooden items, reindeer antlers and skins and these were used to make various tools, clothes and bags with the sinew from reindeer tendons sewing them together.
When Poppy got out of the van the scent of reindeer drove her crazy and she began ambling off in the hope of finding some! Later that evening she stayed safely indoors when we spotted a herd of about two dozen descending from the mountain to drink in the bay! They were wary but we managed to get within 15 metres of them. Later still, Will spotted 3 crossing the river just 10 meters from the van and after we'd both gone to bed, we were woken by the clanking of bells. Upon looking outside, the herd we'd seen earlier were all around the van, grazing happily on their way over the river! It was magical to be able to watch them so close and undisturbed. Definitely worth being woken up for!
N.B. the overnight stop had no name so we nicknamed it Reindeer Bay restplace because we'll never forget our experience there.Read more