An insight into life in the Norwegian Fjords
Entering the fjords is like entering another world, with a rich 8 million year old history formed by the retreat of a glacier. Their beauty is so raw and untouched that you can envisage what the world looked like before our time on this earth. The only reminder of our existence is the occasional boat that passes through, and an isolated village nestled on the banks of the mountains. The fjords themselves feel like a maze.
On a boat which gently glides through the clear blue waters, you become the only thing that is moving. The water sits so still that it doubles the landscape, mirroring the green mountains above, except for the ripple trail made by a boat. It starts to rain and, still, the water remains calm as thick, heavy water droplets plunge through the surface. Nothing can shake the serenity. The clouds overhead move and change shape quickly, letting bursts of sunlight escape and illuminate the mountains, sometimes for only a moment. The dancing patterns of light create a spotlight on different parts of the landscape that you hadn’t noticed before, diverting your attention like a show. As you navigate through, new mountains unfold like a mirage from the distance, and within moments the landscape looks different to how it did before, even where you’ve come from looks unrecognisable as you look back.
A new stretch opens and a tiny village with fewer than 40 colourful houses sits nestled and tucked away. Accessible only by boat, the town remains as calm and peaceful as the nature surrounding it. With the ability to fish and farm, the town can support itself. Much further along from the town, where the mountain becomes too steep to build on, you see 2 houses impossibly and precariously nestled either side of a long waterfall. Perhaps they are friends. Maybe they are in love with two houses like Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Either way, their companionship must be strong to survive this far from civilisation, yet so close together. Their only means of getting anywhere is by kayak. It’s a humbling reminder of life in a simpler time, and the choice to be in touch with nature and themselves, triumphing the pressures of society. You imagine how their mornings must be being spent, and how it would feel to wake up every day at water level, in the heart of the fjords, with the gentle tumbling of falling water pitter-pattering outside your door. The hazy morning sunlight would stream through the windows and they’d sit and look at the glorious views before them. Maybe they’d read a book, go fishing, or kayak into the town. Either way, you can feel that they would not move with haste. This is not a place for chasing time, this is a place for relishing in it. You can picture their evenings, far from pollution and light, and the stars that would open up above their houses. How the northern lights would dance through their window. The contrast to our modern day life is stark. Even the thought of a big city feels offensive and overwhelming as you gaze upon this raw simplicity here. Maybe, like me, you find it is too private to even photograph.
As you drift deeper into the fjords the clouds fall heavy again and it suddenly feels very dark. You become aware of the isolation and look hopefully up to the sky for a sign of daylight. Then unexpectedly the sun breaks through with such distinction that you can see each ray of golden light beaming down through the thick whiteness into the hazy air upon the water. With a burning intensity, you can see the fjords in all of their glory and majesty. The light burns stronger and glistens upon the water as the backdrop lights up, paving the way for you to pass through and head home.