Cheery red flowers on barren trees in Kirkenes, Norway

by 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 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.

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Check out our other stories on photo-worthy places to visit in Norway!

There are so many wonderful places in Norway that inspire art and photography. Trondheim, Alesund, Bergen, Kirkenes and Roros. Be sure to read Eight reasons to visit Trondheim, Visit Roros, Norway: UNESCO World Heritage Town, Beautiful Alesund inspires artists and photographers, Kirkenes Travel Tips: An Arctic frontier at road’s end, and Bergen travel essentials – what to do in Bergen.

Thinking about a Hurtigruten cruise up the coast of Norway for a spectacular adventure? Then be sure to read our entire Hurtigruten cruise advice series: Hurtigruten Cruises: Travel booking tipsPlanning Your Hurtigruten Cruise Excursions; Hurtigruten Cabins: Differences, Details; Food and Drink on Hurtigruten Cruises in Norway;and Hurtigruten Video Tour – Planning Your Next Trip.

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Therese Iknoian

Co-Conspirator 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 now focuses her writing and photography talents on travel. Fluent in German, Therese also runs a translation business (ThereseTranslates.com) working primarily with companies in the outdoor/sports/retail industry. She's a French speaker, and 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. Therese is an award-winning member of the North American Travel Journalists Association.
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