The Slow Road to the North

Miles: 546 (not including ferry crossings)

Total mileage: 2794

Ferries taken: 9

Dolphin sightings: 2

Sea otter sightings: 1

Vague route:

  • Halsa
  • Äsen
  • Hoydalsbukt
  • Andalsvågen
  • 66.28′ N, 13.26′ E (Nesna)
  • Holandsfjord
  • Bodo

antlantic ocean

They call it the slow road for a reason, the Fv17 or Kystriksveien, and it could take you half the time if you take the main road but where is the fun it that? Twisty, twiny tracks hugging cliffs and beaches, bridges sweeping over fjords and estuaries, and efficient ferries ranging from twenty minutes to an hour that deliver you to the next stretch of the road. Even in the height of the Midnight sun season the road wasn’t overcrowded and everyone does it at their own pace. Harley Davidson Hells angels race past blasting heavy metal from their boomboxes, cyclists and tandem bikes potter by, and the motorhomes trundle along at a leisurely pace, even hitchhikers signal hoping for a lift to the next ferry. This road is far from boring in every aspect.

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The Torghatten mountain on Torget island is a granite mountain with a great big hole in the middle, supposedly made by an arrow fired by a troll chasing a pretty girl. The troll king saw this and threw his hat in front of the arrow to save the girl, turning the hat into a mountain and the arrow into the hole through it. Or made by ice erosion a long time ago, who knows.

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The Engabreen glacier snout, part of the Svartisen glacier which is the second largest in Norway, reaching all the way to the sea. My favourite place in Norway so far.

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Being able to walk right up to the glacier, look into the ice caverns and touch the waves was unreal. David Attenborough was also not wrong when he describes glacier ice as blue, I thought that was BBC photoshopping and airbrushing but oh no, the glacier was the bluest of minty blues. We made a swift exit when it began it let out a loud grumble. Norway has also had extraordinarily high temperatures too, even in the arctic circle which we crossed over by ferry, and being at the foot of a faster melting glacier than normal is not ideal.

The midnight sun from the Bodo to Moskenes ferry peeping out from behind the clouds.

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