As summer comes, the aurora borealis become less and less visible, but Mother Nature rewards us with Midnight Sun. Like a prolonged sunset and sunrise all at once, it is a natural phenomenon that occurs in summer months within Arctic Circle, when the sun never goes down.
After 6 years of studying in university and grad school, I chose to have my 4-week grad trip in Scandinavia, mainly is because I wanted to see my friends in Helsinki and Oslo. One of my missions is to see the Midnight Sun! Lofoten Islands is particularly attractive to me – a paradise for travel photographers and backpackers, sounds like what I am!
It was a long journey to Lofoten Islands. I took a flight from Oslo to Bodo, and then a 4-hour ferry to Moskenes. Once I landed, I was welcomed with this view:
I stayed at Reine for 3 nights. Reine is renowned for being the most picturesque village on Lofoten Islands. It certainly lives up to its fame and it is simply a feast to my eyes.
I signed up for a local tour for a Midnight Sun expedition that started from 2230 from Reine. Reine itself is not a good spot for watching midnight sun as the village itself faced southeast and there are a row of mountains blocking the view to the north. To watch the midnight sun, we have to take a speedboat to Vinstadd, then hike for 45 minutes to Bunes Beach.
It was quite chilly at 2230. Even though it is mid-June already, the temperatures of Reine drops to 6 degrees at night (if you can call it a night! Although there is sunlight in 24 hours, the temperature is slightly cooler at night time). The tour guide provided us with thermal suits and we boarded on a speedboat at the pier. Seriously, the speedboat was going real fast and it was VERY VERY WINDY. I was so glad that they provided us with thermal suits. The wind was so strong that I couldn’t hold my small digital camera steady at all. So I just took a few snaps. The fjords are simply breathtaking, especially with the soft sunlight on them.
We have to hike for 45 minutes more before get to the beach to see the Midnight Sun. Vinstad is truly a place with wilderness. There is no sign of inhabitants except us. Everything looks much more wild than Reine. Very few houses are around, and I really wonder who lives in these houses, even if it is in summer.
I really enjoyed this moment. Even I was hiking with a few people from my group, this place gave me a deep serene feeling.
Turned back to take a look at Vinstad when I was climbing uphill. This is magical as the whole valley is quiet without any noise, with the colourful houses quietly rest along the shore. It’s the same way with life. Never forget to turn back and take a look when we are focused on our goals.
When we reached the peak overlooking Bunes Beach, we were surprised to find the beach was filled with campers, including families and kids! Little kids were running around, playing games. A mother was bringing two kids to hike uphill. These little spidermen look like 3-4 years old, but they just walked on these steep and rocky roads effortlessly. Norwegian kids, marvellous!
So I found a spot to sit down and just watched the midnight sun. It’s 00:00. The sun has no sign of setting at all. The sky didn’t turn red. Some say that Midnight Sun is actually not so interesting, as it feels like watching normal sunset (in its beginning) and the sun never goes down. For some travel photographers, the Midnight Sun season might not be so favourable for photos and there is much more fun with sunrises and sunsets. But still, I am truly fascinated. As a sub-tropical animal from Hong Kong, the sun sets at 7pm in summer. In high-latitude areas like Europe, the sun sets at 9 to 11pm in summer. In Arctic circle, the sun never sets.
A few minutes more, the sun goes a bit downwards and rightwards (I guess this has to do with the earth movements?), and then the sun was blocked by fjords on the right.
Astounded and in awe, we headed back to to the pier to catch the speedboat. Despite there was Midnight Sun, the sky was brightened up with a bit of sunset glow. The sky was still bright, the air was a bit chillier, yet I felt drowsy already.
I am so glad that I went to see the Midnight Sun during my stay at Reine. The trip was serene, tranquil, and fascinating. Having seen one of the world’s wonders, I feel like I know the Mother Earth more now.
See also: My Adventure For The Northern Lights