But back to June 21st. Like most years, this morning I instantly thought, "Oh, it's the summer solstice," as soon as I realized the date. Then I scolded myself for not having gotten up with the sun. For some reason if feels wrong to waste any moments of the longest day of the year.
Every year, immediately following the realization of what day it is, comes a memory. A good one. When I was out of college for about a year, my twin sister and I traveled through part of Europe for nearly two weeks, using Eurail passes. We covered a lot of ground - through Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Germany. A Eurail pass must be purchased in advance and entitles the holder to unlimited rail travel in many countries of Europe. We got our money's worth.
|A EURAILPASS brochure from the 1980's A map of the route we traveled past the Arctic Circle.|
We made it to Bodo, Norway, in time for the Summer Solstice. Bodo is north of the Arctic circle. There is a cairn marking this latitude, which we photographed from the train.
|A brochure and one of my photos taken from the train window, showing a cairn that marks the Arctic Circle in Norway|
To take full advantage of being in the “land of the midnight sun,” at 12:30 AM my sister and I hiked an hour up a softly lit mountain, to watched the midnight sun break through the clouds beyond Landego Island. Unfortunately, cloud cover was heavy, but a glimmer of sunshine definitely occurred on the horizon. It was amazing to be hiking in the wee hours of the morning, without needing to use a flashlight.
|The midnight sun: as it became just visible through the clouds, and moments later. |
We took these photos without using a flash.
|This postcard I sent home shows the midnight sun over Landego Island, viewed from nearly the same angle as my photos.|
In Montana, we look forward to these long summer days, especially when the sun is setting before 5:00 PM in December! If I understand this correctly, sunrise is apparently different that the actual solstice. When I entered the city closest to where I live, dateandtime.com shows that sunrise occurred here today at 5:35 AM. (I wasn't up to see it, so I can't verify that!) and the sunset will be at 9:25 PM.
It all seems a little confusing - but what I do understand is that there are still plenty of daylight hours left to enjoy today!
|My twin sister and I at the end of our trip, wearing our sweaters purchased in Norway.|
I unfortunately have no photos of us on our 1:00 AM hike, as I hadn't used a flash to show how light it was that night.