Monday, April 1, 2013

Bleikstranda beach in Vesterålen Norway (and a scary evening in the middle of all that beauty)

I will admit I have been missing Norway a bit this Easter. There are just so many traditions, cozy traditions that sort of "belong to Easter" to me, and although I have really enjoyed the warm sunniness of Las Palmas, a few thoughts have gone North as well. It didn't feel like Easter here because it was so different than what I am used to. So I thought maybe I could write a post about Norway again. Last summer I did post a few, while I was in Norway, but I have so many more places I would love to write about! 


I have posted many photos of the beautiful beach where I live in Gran Canaria, but I thought I could show you another beautiful beach. This one is in the north of Norway, and it's funny how most people don't believe me when I tell them we have long white sandy beaches up in Norway as well! (I previously posted some photos of other beautiful sandy beaches in  Lofoten, Northern Norway.)


This is Bleikstranda. A beautiful white sandy beach at the Northern tip of the island Andøya, in Vesterålen. 

Beautiful place to see the midnight sun in the summer and northern lights in the winter, go on a whale safari or a Puffin safari. There is a camping sites just off the beach. 


As you can see, the camping site couldn't be in a more beautiful spot. We put up our tent at the very edge of the beach and the only sound you could hear was the water and seagulls. Idyll!

The weather was not the best, it was cloudy and raining a little, and well there isn't that much to do here. It's just as deserted as it looks. Then again, you come here for natural beauty and relaxation, not noisy entertainment. So we thought we'd go for a walk at the beach. Barefoot of course, to feel the silky soft sand between our toes (the best thing in this world?) - and off we went. 


We walked along the shore, in and out of the water. It was freeeeeezing cold, but when I get into the water here in Las Palmas it also feels cold at first. Then you get used to it pretty fast. (Obviously a lot faster here in Las Palmas than up there, that's for sure!) but we got used to it there too. It felt sort of soothing to the feet actually. Let me just remind you that we were walking in the water inside of the Arctic circle, so don't be fooled by it being summer! 

The beach is a long one, and we walked all the way to the end and back, which would be about 5 km. 


After that we didn't really feel our toes, but it didn't bother us. We had had the most wonderful walk, feeling at one with nature. I will admit we were cold after this walk though! So a shower seemed like a good idea. My travel partner went first and I waited (where as my feet got some time to slowly recover normal temperature.) It didn't go so well with my partner though. Just a few minutes in the warm water in the shower his toes started swelling. It prickled and scorched and he finished showering quickly. It didn't stop though and that's when it started being scary! His toes kept swelling and by now we couldn't see the bone structure of his feet and toes anymore. He was feeling dizzy and unwell and it hurt to walk or be on his feet. We hurried back to the tent. 


Oh how we wished we had a hotel room and a bed right at this point, (and maybe been a place not so remote) but he went to lay down in the tent, while I tried to come up with something smart and helpful to do. I felt useless. I had never experienced this before and it was scary! I didn't know if and what could happen.

Once again, this was a veeery sleepy little town, with only about 450 inhabitants and I doubted there would even be a medial centre there. So I called the emergency telephone number as I did't know what else to do. Thankfully I was reassured that this was probably caused by the brusque temperature change and that the swelling should cease in a couple of hours if only he kept still with his feet up. I felt calmed by the reassurance of the lovely lady who answered the phone explaining me what had probably happened and that it was a completely normal body reaction. 


But we were staying in a tent. Where and how would he put his feet up? Well, all we had was a tent and a car, so we got in the car, moved the seats back so he could rest his feet up on the dashboard and spent our night there, talking, looking out to sea, trying to keep busy and not focus on those gigantic sausage toes he had wrapped up in several pairs of socks.

See, the owners of the camping site (by the way incredibly friendly people) had previously told us they often see seals and otters just off the beach but the last few days they had also seen whales. How exciting! So in the end, it wasn't that bad to sit there in the car all night. (And well, since this was in the middle of summer, there was Midnight Sun, so it didn't ever get dark either. I wrote about Midnight Sun in this post.) We saw seals and otters, and something with a fin that we are not sure what was. Maybe a whale? That fin is certainly not something you see on seals and otters!


A memorable day & night, for sure. The day after, the owner of the Camping said the water probably held 12-14 degrees C. Quite chilly! Lesson learned! I would still go for that walk in the cold water anytime, but it's not a good idea to head straight for the shower after. It wasn't until well into the next day that his feet came back to their old selves, but the worst swelling did go down quite a bit after a few hours with his feet high.

P.S. I Googled for pictures of the Northern Lights at Belikstranda, and this convinced me I really need to go there in winter too, just look at the stunning photos on this Facebook-page! AMAZING.

12 comments:

  1. What a beautiful spot! And so great that you got to see seals, otters and maybe even a whale. So glad that everything turned out fine with your friend's toes. I can imagine how scary that was.

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    1. It was such an idyllic beautiful place! I guess a little too much so, so some drama had to be added ;)

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  2. Aaah, I love Vesterålen! We didn't quite make it all the way to Andøya though, just stayed in Stø & Nyksund. But I'd definitely recommend especially Nyksund, it's kind of magical spot. Hope you enjoyed Easter despite the lack of Norwegian cozy traditions, I definitely liked it here! :)

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    1. You've been there! :) I think basically all of Lofoten and Vesterålen is superbeautiful. It really took me by surprise, I hadn't really considered it as an interesting destination before, you know- when I went traveling I usually went far away from Norway! So it was a pleasant surprise! I'll take note of visiting Nyksund for the next time!

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  3. So is that water ever swimmable?

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    1. Well, depends what you call swimmable :) It's never gonna be warm and nice I believe! But you could dip in to cool off (on a sunny day that is haha, this day it was pretty chilly), probably rather than go for a long swim. But the day before was sunny, and I took a picture of some brave people swimming. I had enough getting in to my knees ;)

      http://www.newlifeinspain.com/2012/08/lofoten-islands-midnight-sun.html

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  4. That was a lovely post and I enjoyed seeing pictures of your beautiful Norwegian beach. Norway is a country I have always promised my self to visit one day. Scary about the feet = what a memorable night!
    I too have been feeling a bit homesick these last weeks. Not that I am unhappy here and of course I know it is not all rosy back in the UK. but I so know that feeling of wanting something familiar and normal. Like Easter eggs - or being able to see my family instead of watching other families buying their Mona cakes and go off for lunch together.
    I think it is normal - sometimes I think that the longer I am here the more I appreciate some things from home.
    But still I want to be here and I remember how when I was there - I wanted to explore further afield. It is one of life's sweet dilemmas!
    love Kate

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    1. Thank you Kate! If you ever go to Norway, I would be happy to give you some tips! There are very nice places to go, as long as you get out of Oslo :)
      I think you described the homesickness perfectly. I am not complaining over where I am, but sometimes it would be so nice and easy with some straight forward uncomplicated familiarity!
      I have also changed the way I look at Norway over the time of being away, I appreciate more things I didn't notice before.
      Cuidate mucho,xx

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  5. What an amazing travel memory! What a beautiful beach!

    I really need to get to Norway!

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    1. Thank you Deidre, it really was beautiful (and memorable haha)

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  6. Stunning landscapes! My boyfriend and I were talking that we should just move to Scandanavia (we agree politically/economically). I don't think it would happen just because we are so close with our families, but ah to dream! Thanks for sharing your adventures! I'm sorry your friend was sick, I'm glad the reaction wasn't worse!!

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    1. Thank you Patty! How nice that you could see yourself moving to Scandinavia :)

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