Stunning. Breathtaking. Staggering. Majestic. Awesome.
Since I learned those words, I did not truly understand what they meant. Now, I do.
A thousand feet above the small town of Klaksvik, the second largest town of the Faroe Islands, I carefully shuffled down onto a precipice of frozen grass and rock. On all sides rose the steep, snow-capped faces of the fjord walls. The channel of water, the lifeblood of this island nation, bringer of food and spirit, cut through the walls to the southeast. Along this corridor of the gods streaked the first rays of the creeping sun, igniting the tips of the clouds above the distant sea before ending their cosmic journey across vast space in a radiant ricochet against the jagged peaks. The luminous scatter bathed the morning in a salmon glow, warming the frigid winter air and revealing the melodic and unhurried motions of the town below. My eyes stretched left to right futilely gasping to drink in the whole of the epic scene. They reached, like an infant toward his mother’s face, to the distant slopes, as the shadow receded one microscopic boulder at a time down toward the still waters of the fjord. So focused, so enraptured, so irreverent was I that I entirely forgot to breathe. My body became nothing; my mind became all. Resting there, high above, like a god gazing over his creation, I reveled in the glory of this morning. But I am not a god. I am but a man, small and insignificant, powerless and pitiless, impotent to comprehend to the magnificence of the universe. In my feebleness, I saw only my futility amidst the brilliance of mother nature, and all I could do was submit in praise of her majesty. My sight rippled with unclarity as tears came to my eyes; helpless was I against this awesome beauty.
The lobby of the tiny train station was bare, but at least it was warm. After having wandered most of the tiny Swedish town finding not another human being or unlocked door, this was to be my inn for the night. The fluorescent lights shone brightly on the rows of benches that lined the walls leading up to the drawn gate to the shops inside. I would be gone before any of the shopkeepers arrived in the morning. It wasn’t comfortable, but it was mine.
Now after midnight, I knew it would be best to try to get some sleep. Bundled up in nearly every warm piece of clothing I had, I set my sleeping bag against my heavy pack on the farthest bench as a pillow. Lying like a corpse, I pulled my hat over my eyes against the harsh ceiling lights. I must have been tired because the next thing I remember was looking at the clock that read just past 5:00, less than an hour until my train. As the departure time approached, travelers and commuters trickled in to share the warmth of the lobby, all of us staring at the blank walls in a somnambulent stupor.
When I reached my next connection mid-morning, the sky was still as black as it had been when I went to sleep. Having woken up, I lost myself in various internet searches and interesting articles. While deeply entrenched in a lengthy defense of the Christ myth theory, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the black and grey morning had given way. Out the windows all around me, the fantastical scenes of the coastal Norwegian town climbing the snow-capped hills overlooking the expansive fjord streamed by in a dreamlike beauty. Each house was a brilliant earthy color, greens and browns and yellows and reds. They each overlooked the deep blue waves that extended out to majestic blue and white mountains that rose up from the horizon.
When I reached my host’s house, I knew I should rest. She was off to work, and I had the place to myself, but the light was so wonderful and the town so incredible that I had to go explore. I’m very glad I did.
Sunset over Trondheim
I made a friend while exploring the hillside neighborhoods.
Sunrise in Trondheim
An old fortress that has been used for various purposes for several centuries
Any flat surface became much like a skating rink after the recent snow had melted and frozen again. Even the locals had some difficulty traversing some parts.