Rugged peaks, turquoise seas, contemporary design and arctic temperatures; Norway provides a never ending source of nourishment for mind, body and soul.
We began our road trip at Manshausen, an environmentally conscious resort on a 55-acre island in the Norwegian Sea owned by celebrated (and downright badass) polar explorer, Børge Ousland. The cabins, which hover a few feet over the Arctic waters, are characterised by their floor-to-ceiling windows and minimal contemporary architecture which emphasises the raw beauty of the surrounding landscape at every opportunity. Falling asleep in our warm bed watching the vibrant auroras dance across the night sky and waking up to the muted tones of the adjacent island just before sunrise painted everything pink was nothing short of magic. As we mourned the end of our stay over our last breakfast, Børge teased "If you learn to fish and weld I'll let you stay forever…"
As we continued to travel up the coast, the peaks got higher and the fjords deeper, while the days got shorter and the temperatures lower. We made photo pitstops more often than we seemed to be driving and it was as though the sun was in a constant state of sunrise and sunset. We wove our way up the coast and through the fairy tale Lofoten Islands where majestic peaks loom over miniature fishing villages, all the way to Tromsø where we officially entered the Arctic Circle.
One night in Lofoten, after watching the Northern Lights from our balcony, we put on every layer of clothing we could and ventured out to a frozen lake that we had hiked by earlier in the day. Just as we got our tripods and cameras set, a cloud engulfed the sky and it began to snow. The once clear and reflective lake was white within seconds. A loud cracking sound interrupted the snowfall and we sprinted off the frozen lake as fast as our legs would take us, but the brief silence except for the sound of each flake settling on the ice, was a symphony I'll never forget.
Norway's intersection of the rugged natural elements of the environment, and the minimalist design elements of the architecture, created a stunning space for wild adventure, peaceful meditation, and everything in between. Now, time to start those welding lessons…