It’s inevitable on any trip of this scale that any single leg is going to appear insignificant in the general scheme of things. Even monstrous journeys like the sleeper from Amsterdam to Copenhagen are just one step within many. You can only keep so much scale in your head.
So it’s fair to say I hadn’t paid much attention to the bus trip we had to make on day three, other than a fairly grumpy acknowledgment that our steel wheel adventure would have to give way to rubber for a while. This, as it turned out, was a rather silly point of view.
Every turn the bus made brought new wonders. Drowned mountains with vertiginous waterfalls for hair. Clouds designed in Asgard. Tunnels of up to four kilometres that barely accommodated our bus, their walls of unfinished bare rock where dwarves had been digging for iron. Suspension bridges that looked like they’d been there since the 1500s.
Jawdropping. Gobsmacking. Brainstunning. If Wordsworth had been on our bus he’d have either produced his finest-ever work or had some kind of creative aneurysm.
In amongst all this wonder, we took a ferry – one of those brisk well-organised things I associate with Scandinavian detective dramas. We bought hotdogs and stood outside above shockingly deep waters, chugging between drowned mountains.
We got to Narvik at 9pm and took up residence in three little wooden cabins above the fjord. We went our for pizzas and beers and came back at midnight and it was still as bright as a February afternoon in London.
One other little thing I noticed yesterday. The smaller trees in the thick pine forests were often bent over at strange angles, or uprooted entirely. Almost as if a gang of gigantic creatures had been marching through the woods, sniffing the air for the blood of Englishmen.
More soon. And do do do check out Paul Clarke’s pictures – yesterday’s are amazing