Alta to Tromso, 5 days road

by | Nov 28, 2020 | Diaries, Europe, Norway

Five days to cover 400 kilometres? An average tourist might have done it in a single day or maximum two, winter time. We could be still driving for five more days.

In anyway this is a breathtaking route. The national road E6 twists, climbs, descends and extends next to the coast providing unforgettable panoramas to fjords bearing names you easily mispronounce. We have already forgotten their names but not their looks. 

Vaguely the direction is to the west but all those days, at times we were driving to all directions, from north to south and from west to east. A twisty – roller coaster like – road with some tunnels in the process. 

Maybe you wonder why we drive only 80-100 kms per day? First, because we are not in a hurry. Second, since we reached the far ends of European continents last month, we now don’t have any other iconic destination to reach – one like North Cape for example. We simply travel.

Our direction is towards Covid-19 ridden central Europe, which is not the most inviting destination these days. If we were there now, we would probably face serious red-tape issues due to the national lockdowns in different countries. 

But let’s be honest: the reason we travel slow is because we like Norway more than we had ever imagined. It’s landscape is addictive and heart warming, despite so low temperatures.

As I was writing to a friend few days ago, travelling in Norway, may not be inspiring for story telling but is so inviting for taking pictures. In other words, the Arctic zone is not a novel but a mix of visual arts. Every single landscape on the road is a great picture, if not a 3D painting. 

All this despite we travel here in the darkest season. We are now in the less illuminated days of the year. At the 70th parallel, the sun doesn’t rise since last week. At Tromso – which is at 69 degrees 40’ – sun stays behind the horizon all day starting from today. No sunrise, no sunset at all. 

Practically speaking, we haven’t seen the sun for days but at least we could see the vivid colours of its twilight, always to the south. At this latitude, the sun doesn’t rise from east and sets to the west – it’s always a southern light. 

As an amateur photographer, I miss the light I need to play. I would really love to come back here summer time to chase the eternal sunlight after midnight. It will be a totally different experience in every way. 

On the other side, I find challenging our survival in the arctic winter. It’s a novel experience for the three of us, a real EXPERIENCE.

In the last two weeks we wake up by night, at 7:30 pm. The reason is Anastasia’s internet schooling. Since a national lockdown was enforced in Greece and all schools remain close, our daughter participates in the same virtual class with the other students of her school in Thessaloniki. The Cisco Webex transmitted lessons start at 8:00 am for us (9:00 am in Greece and Anastasia follows them up to 10:15 at least. Then she skips two more hours (theology and fitness), since we need some time to travel in daylight. 

At 10:30 am we depart without having set a specific destination and we drive as long as there is enough daylight. En route, we may need to go for shopping, feel our water tanks or evacuate our black waters, take some pictures or fly our drone.

At about 1:00 pm we start looking for a nice place to camp. Vula is responsible for this as she is our human GPS. She controls different apps and google maps to find a nice and safe spot, preferably not windy and near the coast. At 2:00 maximum 3:00 pm we must have found it and we pull handbrake. And it’s already dark. 

For the following six-seven hours we stay “at home” till the moment is right to prepare our double bed and sleep the three together. We do this lately because the rear part of the capsule is next to the Webasto heater and warmer.

At the front – where is Anastasia’s bed – temperature is lower because there is an opening to the driver’s cabin. We can close it with a three-fold door but these nights we just cover it with a fleece blanket in order to be able to take the driver’s seat by night and start the engine some times.

Why? Because if temperature is getting under -2, -3C, it’s good to give some juice to the batteries while bringing the engine in temperature for a safer early morning start, when temperatures are at their lowest.

During the night we also set the Webasto to the minimum, so that in the morning we wake up in a little bit colder room (13-150C) but this way we keep the batteries charged over 12 Volts. So far it works and we will not worry till I have to wear my thermal underwear and socks while sleeping. That will be the signal of real cold. 

Η ζωή στην αρκτική ζώνη

Αλήθεια, πώς ζουν οι άνθρωποι το χειμώνα σε απομακρυσμένες περιοχές της αρκτικής ζώνης; Δείτε την ανταπόκριση του Άκη από το χωριό Burfjord, στη διαδρομή από την Alta στο Tromso.   

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