A cold summer: the journey of Sofia Podestà

Sofia Podestà is a 25 years old photographer based in Rome. In August she and her boyfriend left the hot Italian summer to take a trip along the cold and magnificent coasts of Vesteralen and Lofoten. Here it is her story:

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I’m Sofia Podestà 25 years old photographer based in Rome.

In August, me and my boyfriend Alessandro left Rome for travelling along the amazing coasts of Vesteralen and Lofoten.

All began from Tromso, we were dreaming of this tiny city of the arctic from so long time.

Then we traveled towards south to take few ferries that brought us to Vesteralen islands, the northern sisters of Lofoten. We stayed there for two days, driving along the rough coasts and through the several fjords that are peculiar for the northern islands.

Second part of the journey started from Melbu, a little town famous for the ferry that brings you to the Lofoten from north. I will never forget the cloudy and thundery peaks of the Lofoten on the horizon. I felt confused about that view: on one side afraid, wondering if I could make it through but on the other side, I felt amazed and so lucky to looking at something special like that landscapes. Meanwhile Alessandro said that he was feeling like he was into Jurassic Park movie while was singing ACDC songs! We were seriously freaking out!

On our very first sunny day of the travel, we drove through Vestvagoya untill Svolvaer, where we hiked up Tjeldbergtind, an easy hike that brings you to the top of the mountain with a view on all the small islands around and where we could even see the snowy mountains on mainland.

Next stop was Henningsvaer, a little lovely fishing village known also as (one of) Venice of the North, because is made by little islands linked together by bridges. It was full of classic colored Nordic house, and to reach it you have to drive on a very panoramic road that passes so close to the sea. One funny thing of Henningsvaer is that there is a football field that is just amazing, the sea and mountains surround it; I’ve never seen such a thing!

Few days left from our journey, we spent at Fredvang and on the southern islands, the best of Lofoten. Here we reached Reine and Å i Lofoten two fishing village that are like a museum open-air in between fjords and high and mysterious peaks. The best thing has been the hike to Kvalvika beach, a magic beach with crystalline water, surrounded by mountain peaks. We arrived late, almost at sunset, after an easy hike through mug and stones where in the second part of the path you have to follow the sheeps to find the best trail. Once there, we enjoyed such a beautiful view into the orange light, drinking tea and eating Kanelbulle (I can’t really say how many I ate in 10 days).

The last day we came back to Tromso driving through mainland where high peaks were full of snow and pines were countless.

We met a lot of wild animals, I can mention a lot of eagles, a couple of hares and an elk. We had never EVER seen one before; they are so big I could never imagined something like that. We thought it was a fake because it was so motionless staring at us, but then suddenly it moved toward our direction and so we quickly jumped back in the car. In the island of Senja we also met a group of wild reindeer that crossed the road in front of our car, they are seriously great.

All the people were so kind and helpful in every place we have been to, except for two weird people we met. The first was the owner of a camping on a little peninsula where lays the very lovely Sildpollnes church. Ok, the only way to reach the site is through the private camping, but the man has been very rude, running towards us and yelling that we could not stay there to see the public church and that if we wanted to go inside, we should had to rent a helicopter. I swear he said that.

The second weird person we met was a man that run into us yelling (yes, again) that we had to stop smoking cigarettes. Quickly I showed him my portable ashtray, which I always keep with me, but he continued madly yelling and explaining that I must stop because God didn’t agree. In the end, we came back to the car and drove away because the man didn’t stop yelling at us. He was a bit creepy and frightening. Omitting these two unique exceptions Norwegian people were very awesome.

Me and Alessandro always say that we are sons of North and our main dream has always been to cross the Polar circle and so...Lofoten! We are very bored by the classic sea holiday, instead we love adventures and mountains, so we chose a travel like that. To be honest, we saw the beaches in Lofoten too! The most famous are Kvalvika, Ramberg and Haukland. When we were there, we felt as the world turned upside-down, because of sand was so bright and water so clear that you never thought to be 400km over the Polar circle.

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All images © Sofia Podestà