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Therese Iknoian

Traveler | Photographer at HI Travel Tales
Little did her parents know that a short trip to Europe in high school would launch a lifetime love of travel, languages and cultures. Trained as a news journalist, Therese Iknoian spent a decade as a daily newspaper journalist before launching a freelance writing career specializing in outdoor, fitness and training. All the while trotting the globe, her focus finally turned to travel. Fluent in German, Therese runs a translation business (www.ThereseTranslates.com) working primarily with companies in the outdoor/sports/retail industry. Also a French speaker, she loves to learn a bit of the language wherever she goes -- gdje je kupaonica? Мне нужна помощь! -- often embarrassing herself in the quest for cross-cultural communication and the search for great travel discoveries.
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Red flowers adorn trees in Kirkenes Norway winter.

Kirkenes is in the farthest reaches of Norway, only 9.5 miles from the Russian border and 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle. In November, that means cold, dark and snowy. Did I say dark?

The subject: On a few hour break from our Hurtigruten ship, the Midnatsol before it would depart the dock to head back south along the Norwegian coast toward Oslo, we took a little walk through Kirkenes. Although mid-day, it felt more like twilight and everything was icy and snow-covered. We ended up along the banks of an inlet with Nordic skiing tracks.

The inspiration: Then, there were suddenly these trees, these amazing trees! No leaves, but still covered in bright deep red flowers set along barren twigs shooting up from the snow-covered ground. The fluffy red bursts looked like origami art that some busy person had hung along the branches. But no they were real. Being a gardener, I wished I knew what they were, so stunning were the clusters of red petals against the dark early-winter sky of Kirkenes so far north of the Arctic Circle.

Artist’s tools: Still scratching my head why I didn’t shoot with my “big girl camera” (Nikon D90) instead of my Samsung mobile phone. What was I thinking? Slap myself now. Nevertheless, the shot on my Galaxy S4 (it really wasn’t so old in 2014) didn’t turn out half bad. No zoom, just a little crop later. And there you have it. A bright spot in Kirkenes on a dark winter day.

Read more travel tips for Norway

Entranced by light on a Hurtigruten stop in Honningsvag Norway

Booking.com Honningsvag is a small fishing port far up the northern coast of Norway, nestled in a pocket among islands and fjords north of Tromso. From the Hurtigruten ship heading north, the town is uber-cute, hugging the base of a hill. Aside from fishing, it is the...

Kirkenes Travel Tips: An Arctic frontier at road’s end

Kirkenes is quite literally an Arctic frontier at road’s end, located as far northeast as possible in Norway, close to the Varangerfjord. It is both the endpoint for the northbound Hurtigruten ferry and the northern terminus of the E6, the main road that runs...

Cheery red flowers on barren trees in Kirkenes, Norway

Kirkenes is in the farthest reaches of Norway, only 9.5 miles from the Russian border and 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle. In November, that means cold, dark and snowy. Did I say dark? The subject: On a few hour break from our Hurtigruten ship, the Midnatsol...

Kirkenes, Norway – Arctic light becomes artist’s delight

Kirkenes is located in the farthest (and iciest and darkest) reaches of northeastern Norway, a stone’s throw from the Russian border. It is approximately 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle off the Barents Sea. The small town serves as the northernmost port for the...

Roros Norway – A charming historic mining town

Roros, Norway offers endless charm and, in the winter, plenty of dark days and snow! Located in central Norway on a high plain Roros is a small village that, as a historic mining town, is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The mid-November snowfall we experienced...

Colorful Buildings Along Trondheim’s Nidelva River Inspire Watercolor

Trondheim is a colorful city, and while it is the third largest city in Norway, it feels much more intimate than its size might imply. The Nidelva river runs through the city, beside the Nidaros Cathedral and past an historical area called Bakklandet situated on its...

Food and drink on Hurtigruten cruises in Norway

You’ve booked your dream Hurtigruten cruise up the coast of Norway. Time to get ready for the onboard experience. Of course, a key part of this experience is food and drink on the Hurtigruten cruises in Norway. We learned by doing, and we hope you can also learn from...

Eight reasons to visit Trondheim

How many reasons do you need to visit Trondheim, Norway? Founded by Vikings as a trading post in 997 AD, Trondheim is one of Norway’s oldest cities, and one of its largest. Located on a peninsula it enjoys a relatively mild maritime climate (by northern European...

Beautiful Alesund inspires artists and photographers

Alesund is indeed a visually captivating Norwegian city. Known for perhaps the greatest concentration of art nouveau style buildings in all of Europe, beautiful Alesund is nestled into the classically rocky fjords of Norway with the Sunnmore Mountains serving as a...

Visit Roros, Norway: UNESCO World Heritage town

We decided to visit Roros, Norway while looking for a short couple of nights somewhere on our way from Trondheim back to Oslo for a flight home. Our reading seemed to indicated that the tiny mining town, which also happened to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site, could...

Map of Kirkenes, Norway

In the map below, pins mark the exact location of all the sites mentioned in our articles on Kirkenes. Zoom in or out on the map using the controls. Switch easily from map to satellite view. Click on each pin to pull up a tooltip with the name and any additional information.

War Mothers Monument

Hurtigruten Dock

Kirkenes Recreation Area

Andersgrotta

Borderland Museum | Varanger Museum

Russian Memorial