Tysfjord to Jyvaskyla (And I can actually pronounce those names!)


At Tysfijord we ate shepherds pie, soup and pavlova and it went down a treat. The camp, like many of the others, sat on the edge of a huge lake and looked out at beautiful mountains. We had more Viking Olympics games. This time the groups were given words like Sandcastle, cheese, Vikings, Topdeck and Umbrella and were told to reconstruct a song to make them fit. From the quest for the Viking cup to the fresh prince of Norway and Moosian Rhapsody there were some great ones. We then watched them stuff marshmallows into their mouths until they gagged (the winner had 16!!). We had an orange necking race like I used to play when I was 14 and finally an hour of lollipop sucking to conclude the day. The night then still being young, or at least light, we continued to play cards out on a picnic table by the lake until the cold set in like it hadn’t before (we were surprised but had obviously forgotten that we had crossed the arctic circle today).

Teams song writing

Up and off early in the morning as we have been every day this trip (seriously, who has their bags to coach half an hour before the time on the what’s on sheet? Our group, every time.)

A bit of a misty drive today

We caught a ferry first thing the next morning (so many fjords!) on our way up to Steinkjer. I had burnt lunch this morning and a week later the tent still smells of burnt soup but I quickly whipped up a new one. and I hoped no one would notice until I realised that I had to get people to clean the black and sticky bottom of the pot. Oh well, I think they laughed at me. Our hot lunch stop was at an arctic wildlife park where we sat on big pine logs to eat and where just in time for the feeding tour. The zoo was basically a piece of wild land with fences put up on it just going straight over the top of streams and up and down hills. We saw the lynxes, arctic foxes, wolverines, wolves and bears getting fed which was pretty cool. We watched and laughed as a muskox almost took out Julz 🙂 and made our way back on to the coach with a new mascot. Pepper the bear.

A Lynx
Arctic foxes (malting in the summer)
Pepper the bear

At camp there was an event that I had been looking forward to for ages. The polar plunge. Monika told us that normally it happened off a 5mt high bridge into a river on the edge of the campsite. However there had been a lot of melting snow recently and the river was too rough for us to jump into safely. We all scoffed a bit at that I think until we saw it and went, geez that is swift. Luckily we could still get in to the same river in a little bend where we could jump off the edge. The sauna was right next to us in a cute little cabin thing that could fit about 8-10 at a squeeze. I bandaged my arm up. Cling wrap, tape, bag, tape, cling wrap again and finally a lot more tape. Some one asked was I going to chop it off and send it home with that amount of packaging?! I plunged into the shallow water, someone captured my perpendicular lunge and called me the flying salmon. I still hit the bottom gently but I couldn’t feel the graze of silt and weed because my skin had been instantly numbed. I jumped up and out with my arms clenched to my front as I had no idea where my swimmers were but I was too cold to stop and care too much. I was gasping and ran to the sauna, the first in, and dumped a whole lot of water on the coals as others quickly joined me. It didn’t actually take all that long to warm up completely and then the sauna filled up and I left to jump in again. I thought the second time might be better and at least I knew what was coming but it was still cold. One more sauna session and I went off to get dry (including a hairdryer session with my cast) and cook dinner. I did a particularly hot curry and poppadum’s which everyone loved as it rained though dinner and they all needed a bit of fire in their bellies. We ate under tiny verandas and in the bins of the coach. The after dinner activities mostly involved squishing lots of people into the bins and chatting. After I left I even saw footage of a naked grenade happening (Julz 🙂 of course) which was hilarious! (A naked grenade is where a bunch of people have already been locked in the luggage bins but aren’t reacting enough, so Julz 🙂 gets naked and the doors are very quickly opened as he hops in and then locked again behind him. Havoc)

The little sauna
All wrapped up

From Steinkjer we went up to Russenes and Nordkapp! This was another highlight of the trip. We had just a few short stops including one at a beautiful lookout where we took some great photos. We played a song guessing game that took hours out of our day. Seeing who could guess the song the fastest. Some stars shone out in this test and most of us had a lot of fun with it. We also watched a strange Norwegian comedy which had some humour that was off as well a casual racism so it went down a little strangely.  At Russenes the camp was spread out all over the shop but we got in early and so I had time to play some soccer before dinner which I had been looking forward to. I realised that I was out of onions and so I bought some from the cafe on the campsite but that was about the only way in which they were helpful. Dinner was risotto and soup and then a quick pack down before we got in a shuttle bus up to Nordkapp, the most northerly point of Europe.

Driving up to Nordkapp
Stopped to take pictures of the deer
With my awesome crew

We drove through herds and herds of reindeer for the 2 and a half hours it took to get up there. I played cards with Mark and Julz 🙂 and Tom as we watched the scenery get more and more moon like. We rounded over smooth hills coated white and watched the clouds around us appear to be at the same height as us. There was a strange hush on the coach as if we all realised that this was pretty special. We got to the guest center at 11pm wearing more layers than I had for the whole trip so far and still feeling the chill. Our first stop was the giant globe out at the furthest point of the center. It was a majestic sight in the setting sun and we got lots of great pictures. I eventually tore myself away and went to stand at the fence to admire the stairway of sunlight being reflected back to the golden orb in the sky. I had a quiet moment or two watching the wind buffet the water like wind across silk  and contemplating life a bit until it was time to join back in with the others chatting and fun. We walked around the barren landscape drinking in the wildness of it. Eventually we went inside to warm up with a coffee and some Norwegian fare. Which basically means a lot of fish. Raw fish. I haven’t eaten raw fish before and I had to get Jake to help me, first he cut it into pieces then he helped me eat it. To be completely honest I didn’t feel too crash hot afterwards… Maybe fish just isn’t my thing.

The top of the world

We headed back out to watch the sun not set at midnight. Which was interesting if a little anticlimactic, then I had time to run around the center looking at the museum exhibits which were not all that before our shuttle bus left at 1am. I chatted with Tom the whole time otherwise I would have fallen asleep. It was odd, of course it was still totally light and I think that is what was keeping my body awake even though I was slowly getting that pain that come with super tiredness. when we went inside the 8km long tunnel it was dark and by the time we got to the other end most of the bus was totally asleep and the sunlight at the other side was a complete shock. We got home at 3 and straight to bed. One of my most memorable nights, I loved every part of it.

Midnight sun

Brunch wasn’t until 11am the next morning. We had beans, eggs with bacon, porridge, pancakes, sausages, mushrooms and maybe some other things… It went down a treat and everyone had a friendly morning meal before the next Olympic game was announced. For the closing ceremony that night each group was to go out in to nature and make a costume for one of their members. I cleaned up the tent and headed off with Mark, Meg, Tom, Brooke and Amy down to the beach.

We built a Tepee

We began by collecting crab shells and fishing line and ended up with bark, shields, a lantern and even eventually a whole anchor. We explored abandoned sheds, made tepees, skimmed rocks and crossed rivers for a good few hours before we headed back with our finds.

Bush bashing in Norway
Meg and Tom with their finds

Next I had to make a quick shopping trip to the servo 500meters down the road. I had a lot of helpers join me and I think I only worried them a little by saying that I had no idea what was for dinner, just that we would find something there hopefully. They started joking about pringles for dinner and I said maybe that would be the case. Of course it wasn’t, my notes told me there would be burgers, buns and ice cream here and I had stocked up in Berlin with beetroot, pickles and other burger toppings. The passengers did have some fun when we discovered that there was not enough normal burgers and they asked if I could buy the reindeer ones? If they would eat them then I would buy them and so we came to have reindeer burgers for dinner in Norway. I took some time out to sort out laundry and accounts and when I was done some of the passengers were asking me about cooking some rhubarb they had found growing on the beach. Having never cooked it before I told them they were free to cook it themselves and when I next saw them there was a massive amount of rhubarb simmering with sugar they had bought themselves and I was very impressed. Dinner was super easy and there was enough rhubarb for everyone and I had custard, cream and ice cream to go with it! Amazing!

It was just beginning to rain and the costumes came out and were amazing. Only to be described by pictures.

Awesome costumes (they were freezing)

The closing ceremony for the games was to be a final punch party down by the lake. However the rain had set in and it was not particularly nice. Monika had all the pax gathering wood for a fire as a final game and we ended up with half a forest down by our hanging fire pit! The final winners of the games once the points were all tallied up were the Lynx and as we built up the fire the rain died down. Moose discovered the shattered remains of a Lego creation in the coals and washed and cared for them whilst we all laughed and made up stories about where it had come from. He had the last laugh, ending up with an almost whole tow truck after an hours construction work. They sky only got lighter as the clouds cleared and it ended up being brighter at 11pm than it had been at 8pm. Then the punch party started getting out of hand. In the end the solution was just to leave and go to bed to convince those who were out of hand that the party was over and that they should also leave. I was in bed at 11:30! Others weren’t, apparently the chaos went on all night. It was not a happy bunch that got on the coach in the morning.

The symbolic burning of the Viking shield

Lucky it was just a long driving day and they all slept for the whole time apart from when we had quietest lunch I have done. Mick dropped the pax at Santa’s house and we went a few kms up the road to the first ‘real’ shopping centre that I have seen in weeks! I felt like I was back at home at Panno 🙂 Mick and I bought a huge amount of salmon which was exciting, I had given the pax the choice on the coach to choose between salmon or chicken fjord for dinner and only 3 people didn’t want the salmon! I did not feel confident cooking something that people were so excited about and that I don’t even like to eat or cook and I had already discussed with Mick that as a seafood lover he would be in charge of that which calmed me a lot. The campsite was nice and the best set up for my tent that I have ever seen. Half a floor, right next to a sink and tables and just on a huge green common for chilling. We chucked on a very fun mix of Andy’s and got to preparing a caprese salad, mash, broccoli with chilli and butter and of course the salmon. Everyone loved the Salmon, it didn’t take long and lunch for the next day was done as well, and then I was free to play soccer! I had been looking forward to this for ages and went all out, finding that I am no where near as fit as I was in high school and a few times thinking maybe I shouldn’t have gone for this or that so hard, especially when Moose took out my ankle. All I could think was that I was close to going back to hospital again. Oops, oh well it all ended well and I was so hot and sweaty that I taped up my arm and went and jumped in the river with Moose to cool down. It was actually an amazing decision and I felt great for it afterwards. Shower, accounts and bed, an early enough one for us.

Mick cooks Salmon

The morning shone bright and we got an early departure in and again just drove for most of the day. Finland’s landscape is nowhere near as interesting as Norway’s, I would say it is closer to Germany. Flat, wooded and dotted with lakes. We put on a crazy Norwegian movie about troll hunting that I fell asleep in (as usual) actually I slept most of the day, waking up hazy each time. It also rained most of the day and was still raining as we set up the tent in the hostel car park in Jyvaskyla. Not my favourite place to cook, in a car park, in the mud, in the rain but the last dinner went down well. A stew/casserole thing with cauliflower cheese and danishes for dessert. I was using the hostel oven for tomorrows lunch and it took more than double the time I had thought. We were going out on the town for the first time in a long time and so I had to leave and the lady assured me that she would take it (a frittata) out of the oven at 9.30 when she left and would leave it on the bench for me to get at 7 the next morning. This frittata was more work than was necessary. Oh well, its all a learning curve.

Signs at the arctic zoo
The first in the polar plunge went in with style!
Amanda and I can’t get out quick enough
An interesting leap from Colin
Girls all in together
Walking on water
A scenic stop
Tom and Julz 🙂
Looking very cute


Jake and I posing together
Dinner at Ruseness
It was a selfie kind of night – With Mark
With Julz 🙂




Selfies with Meg
Selfies with Tom
My mixed fish plate
Exploring on our free day
Reindeer jerky that smelt too much like dog food to be enjoyable
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