Going where the road takes us, staying where the heart tells us. That’s been more our less our approach for our roadtrip #onthenorway. We had a roughly scribbled route at hand, but as none of us had ever been to Norway before, we had no ideas about realistic daily distances. We knew that some roads might still be closed due to heavy winter conditions, so we knew we’d have to improvise every now and then anyway.
From our hometown Berlin we flew to Bergen, where we collected our home on wheels for the next 18 days: an „Island Blue“ MINI Cooper S Countryman ALL4 equipped with a rooftop tent. We had been in great anticipation for a couple of weeks now, but laying eyes on our MINI, we wanted nothing but to leave the city and explore the roads of Norway.
Both photographers we were filled with hopes of narrow mountain roads and rough weather conditions. Norway delivered or even exceeded our expectations by far.
Some days we started with a barefoot breakfast in almost hot summer sun and ended completely frozen and wet searching for shelter in a wooden cabin. Sometimes we got all the weather there is on a single day. In 18 days we experienced temperatures from 23°c to below zero, got a sunburn, sank into snow overknee high, lost sight in thick fog on the mountains, almost got blown away by the winds on the Vestkapp and endured heavy rain at Vøringsfossen, that our cameras commented with a short denial of service.
#onthenorway we found the weather and the pictures we were looking for, but even more so we found what is so hard to maintain in the urban daily life: we found ourselves as a part of the place, a part of the land, of the weather even. With all our senses hightened and fully awake, our souls slowed down and finally could breath freely again.
The rough winds filled our lungs with air – salty from the atlantic ocean nearby, our eyes could picture shades and shades of greens and browns, of greys and blues, that are unseen in the city jungle: muddy earth, stony hilltracks, sculptured glacier ice and deep lakes in the fjords.
It is that ungraspable beauty, that waits for you beyond every corner, that unexpected change of scenery ever so often and the slack, almost humble attitude of the land and its people, that caught not only our photographic attention, but touched us deeply.
Of the many places we encountered on our trip, two gained a specific value for us.
On a stormy evening we arrived on one of those countless little islands on the coastline of Western Norway and were lucky to find a free cabin to shelter us from the angry northern winds. Nothing different than so many others one could think, but this island simply made us feel home in an instant. And as we sat in our dimlighted cabin, sipping whiskey and watching the birds dance in the storm, we looked at each other and knew we wouldn’t leave this island the next day. After two more days filled with screaming seagulls, wet island hikes and the constant sound of the raging ocean, we’d almost ditched our entire roadtrip plans to spend our remaining ten days on this tough but peaceful little hideout.
Instead we decided that we would return to this magic place one day and hit the road again. There were still too many places we were just too curious to explore:
we went on a snowy hike in Rondane National Park and drove the more than stunning Sognefjellvegen, that to our surprise wasn’t closed, but welcomed us with walls of snow instead. Finally we found a mindblowing place for lunch right at the foot of
Nigardsbreen glacier, hearing it crack and move behind us.
Norway, seriously, you had us at „hei!“.
By the end of our trip we could smell the grass and the soil on our trousers as well as the smoky notes of our campfires on our jackets and our hair. Some sticky moss patches made their way to Berlin, attached to our woollen blanket. No, we didn’t try to rip them off, as we are happy to have some of Norway still around. And yes, we are already thinking about getting back #onthenorway, even further north this time.