Just like last year, we spent the Easter in Norway. To be honest, I wouldn't mind spending all coming Easters there. Best place to burn your face in April. This year our destination was Kvaløya, an island next to the city of Tromsø in west, from where we had booked an Airbnb-flat for four nights. The location is very good, it's only 15 minutes drive to Tromsø in case you need some civilised services like cafés, a hospital or whatever. This was my second time in Norway in a place that is less than an hour drive from decent services.
We arrived better prepared that a year ago; all grocery stores are closed in Norway over Easter, so we brought lots of food with us. I mean lots, as our plan was to hike and ski, after which we're supposed to hike and ski. Unfortunately I forgot to pack maybe the most important and urgent of all the Norway-essentials – a lip balm, and my lips still look like someone has nuzzled them with a grater. Thus no Vogue cover material photos this time, but I'll survive – the trip was nevertheless worth the suffering.
Our theme for Finland's 100th years of independence anniversary goes beyond Finland's borders – it's about Finland but also about its great neighbours and neighbour relationships. Living here and travelling in between the three Nordic countries is so ridiculously easy, that you rarely think how unique these kinds of borderless borders are worldwide. Going to east is far more complicated.
From northwest you find something we don't have in Lapland – mountains and sea, the best possible holiday combo.
So, what do you need in addition of perfect timing in perfect location in perfect weather? Flu, of course. My first one in three years. I know I should've rested it away but I just couldn't, and ended up doing something-like-hiking-skiing. Bad choice, as I'm still wiping my nose.
April is supposed to be the least rainy month in Norway. On average there are just 12 rainy days in April, whilst for example in October there are 17, and 15–16 during the summer months. Up north this means that you can be outdoors around a clock, and that was exactly what we and approximately all the Norwegians in the area did. We didn't see a drop of water, nor did we see any clouds. Sun was shining almost around a clock, she woke us up and went back down same time as we did.
For xc-skiers Kvaløya offers almost endless tracks with rather Norwegian aka harsh profile. To find tracks, I used Skisporet application. Ten points to Norway for including live track-making machine on the map, how cute is that! Also, maybe it was because of Easter holidays, but at least some of the bigger and most common parking areas next to the roads were turned to paid parking. The problem was that we didn't bring any Norwegian money and at least my telephone operator doesn't allow me to pay parking with SMS's, which is the other option.
Our "normal" Nordic xc-skis aren't the best option on Norwegian tracks, but if I could manage with them, anyone can. Norwegians themselves seem to prefer (in addition to very bright outdoor outfits and happy faces) backcountry touring Nordic skis, that are thicker and maybe more solid than their thin Nordic sisters. I definitely want ones! Norwegian track profile reminded me of heart's ECG profile, it consists of ups and downs without any flat sections. Snow was slightly hard and slippery in the mornings, but got softer when the day developed, and I tried to make my exercises early before slush-time. I didn't pay much attention to my pulse, time or distance. That's what always happens when you get to do your exercises in wild nature instead of build environment. That's also what happens to me when I do my exercises ill and don't want to face the reality from my far too high pulse. However, those moments outdoors were pretty much the only ones when I could breath without any effort.
P.S. For the next year I think we need to bring a Fjellpulken with us.
Suom: Ensi vuonna sama homma, mutta hieman erilaisella kokoonpanolla.