Tuesday, 15 December 2009


We needed to use up some Eurobonus points that were about to expire and decided to spent a long weekend in Stockholm. A nice way to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. We enjoyed some sightseeing in the old town, visited a Dali exhibition in the modern art museum, had a look around the butterfly house and walked around the open air museum Skansen. And, of course, we enjoyed some good food. The selection of restaurants is somewhat bigger and better in Stockholm than in Tromsø. And then there were the Christmas markets with a good selection of foreign and local Swedish food, and we were very happy to find some excellent Dutch cheese and liquorice, Italian sausages, Scottish fudge and local sausage. Alltogether a very pleasant weekend.

Changing of the guards

Beautiful narrow streets in Gamlestan, the old town

Modern art outside the modern art museum


Butterfly garden

Open air museum Skansen

Great grey owl, Swedish wildlife in the open air museum

The aquarium inside Skansen has quite a few reptiles too

Skating on Prestvannet

It had been cold for some time now, but no snow, so ideal conditions for skating. The day these photos were taken, Sunday 29 November, we did just have a few cm of snow, but cold dry snow on cold ice is not a problem for skating, the snow doesn't freeze on the ice. Prestvannet is right in Tromsø, on the top of the island Tromsøya, and a popular spot for families. So we skated around families and kids playing ice hockey, it was fun! Most people use ice hockey skates here, but there were a few others on 'proper' long distance skates.

Tromsdalstinden in the background.


One of the last weekends before ´mørketid´ (the period without sun), in the middle of November, we went for a hike up Kjølen. There was very little snow for the time of the year, but lots of ice, which made hiking tricky in places. It was nice, though, lots of reindeer, and no other people.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009


We went to Kåfjorddalen last weekend, some 150 km east of Tromsø, and it turned out to be a fascinating place. There are 2 deep canyons, one of them apparently the deepest of northern Europe, and there are old copper mines up in the mountains with ruins of the smelter, cablecar and various buildings for the workers and the director down in the valley, Ankerlia. The mines closed in 1918, but you can still clearly see the damage of the sulphuric smoke from the smelter to the surroundings. There is very little snow yet for the time of the year, but it has been cold and there were some excellent icy waterfalls and other ice formations.

Ruins of the smelter buildings.

Waste from the smelter.

The damage around the smelter is still clearly visible, after nearly a century.

Into the deepest canyon in northern Europe, Sorbmejohka.

Nice ice formations underneath a waterfall.

On our way to Storfossen, the main waterfall, we suddenly came across this icy wonderland.

It turned out that there was a spring just above a waterfall. It had been very windy blowing the water up and back over the edge, coating everything in ice. We met some locals who told us that they had never seen it this spectacular. We were lucky!

Icy teeth around the waterfall.

Everything covered in ice.

The main canyon, which had a major waterfall at the end.

Sunday, 1 November 2009


I have been out doing fieldwork for quite a few days in October this year. Much of it was sampling for fission track dating and involved collecting samples from road cuts, quarries and coastal outcrops. But often in beautiful areas.

Small scale en-echelon fractures.

Rock art.

Fieldwork on Senja, after the first frost and snow.

Senja west coast.

Exposed fault plane along a bicycle/foot path near Finnsnes.

Flatlying shear zone underneath massive wall of granite. Store Blåmann.



The weather forecast was excellent so we decided to head up a mountain, Stortinden on Ringvassøya. We didn't quite get to the top as we started late and the days are short, but it was a beautiful trip in the sun, with great views and several encounters with ptarmigan and elk. It was quite misty when we left in the morning and when we climbed up we could see the clouds hanging over the fjords.

Patterns in the ice on small ponds.

View towards Tromsø, with both the island Tromsøya and the fjord still partially covered by fog.

We brought a little sled and had fun sliding down. Not enough snow yet to slide down the whole mountain.

And a full moon helped us on the way down.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Sampling Store Blåmann

Just before the snow arrived I managed to get a sampling trip done, with great help from Chiara, to sample a vertical profile of Store Blåmann, a beautiful steep and rocky mountain near Tromsø. We hiked to the top and sampled every 200 m (in elevation) on the way down, carrying a few kilograms of granite each down the mountain. Excellent views from Store Blåmann that day.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Autumn fruit and colours

We have been back in Tromsø for nearly 2 months. I am mostly finished with the Alaska blogs (I may still try to add a map here and there), so it is now time to show some photos from the beautiful autumn landscape around Tromsø before the winter darkness starts. This year turns out to be an exceptionally good mushroom and berry year and we have already frozen several liters with raspberries, blueberries, stone bramble and cantarelles and have a large jar full of dried cantarelles. Today, in between some heavy rain and sleet, we were out for a few hours and picked a large amount of hedgehog mushrooms (hydnum repandum), which are currently spread out on the kitchen bench waiting to be boiled and frozen, and a few king bolete or porcini, which we have just eaten.

The hedgehog mushrooms are particularly large and plentiful this year.

With it's spikes it is an easy to identify mushroom.

Here follow a few images from a long weekend berry and mushroom trip in inner Troms where we rented the cosy little hut Langvasstua from Statskog.

Kirkesdalen and Kirkestinden.

Fields full of blueberries.

View from Langvasstua.

Little frog.

Tony picking cantarelles.

Cantarelle, my favourite mushroom.