Life on a small Arctic Island – part two

ROUSING FROM HAVING snatched a short nap, I switched on the box to watch a bit of Norwegian TV. An experience that can only be fully appreciated if you don’t understand the language. As I speak more than a smattering it only served to nudge me back into the state of semi-consciousness I’d just struggled out of. You […]

The Morning after the Morning Before

THE MORNING AFTER the morning before, when all feelings of fear and self-loathing had virtually dissipated into the thinness of the Arctic air, I felt almost alive again. Just a few dusty cobwebs of half-remembered doubt lingered at the frayed edges of my mind. Nothing a couple of beers couldn’t fix. But that wasn’t the […]

Pedersen’s Last Dream – Ten

FOLLOWING MY RUN IN with the gorilla at the Aker brygge shopping mall, Kari called a taxi and told the driver to take us to Majorstua. If only my arm hadn’t been in a sling I would’ve knocked the gorilla’s block off. Nobody messes with Knut Pedersen and walks away with his body intact, I […]

Murder in a Ghost Town – part one

TWO TRAVELLERS with rucksacks wait outside a small hotel in Myre, a nonedescript town on the northern edge of Langøya in Vesterålen. Just up from Lofoten, and beyond the Arctic Circle, it gives the impression people only go there on their way to somewhere else. The midsummer sun has barely managed to heat the stiff afternoon breeze […]

The best hostel in the world – part three

SEASIDE DRIZZLE IS A FEATURE of Britain you get used to from early childhood. No holiday by the sea would be quite complete without it. “Didn’t rain the whole fortnight we were there,” is often said with an air of slight disappointment by many a returning holidaymaker. Being forced to play knockout whist in sopping […]

The best hostel in the world – part two

A ROUNDED MAN in a lived-in sweater, and permanently in need of a shave, Roar has lived on the Lofotens all his life. Like most islanders, he is a man of the sea. Though you wouldn’t think it to look at him, he runs, what was once described as ‘the best hostel in the world’ […]

From Hammerfest to the Lofoten Isles by sea

DARK GREY SKIES shedded unsympathic drizzle as I waved goodbye to Solveig from the deck of the Hurtigruten ferry. She cut a lonely figure; the only one seeing someone off from the Hammerfest quay on a miserable July day. Geggen and she couldn’t have made my visit to their hometown more agreeable. After inviting me […]

Hammerfest, the town on the Edge of the World

DESCRIBING HAMMERFEST as the lonliest town on the planet, in Neither here nor There, Bill Bryson goes on to say he spent most of a fortnight in a hotel room reading books waiting for the clouds to clear. So he could see the Northen Lights. Strangely enough, it’s not so very rare to see the […]