Purple Travel

[October 9 2015]

A visit to Sandhornøy during SALT, the world’s first Arctic arts festival, Norway

One of the wonderful things about Salt is its solitude. It’s hard to get there. It took around 12 hours, 3 planes, and one fairly hairy boat ride across one of the roughest stretches of water around. As soon as you step off the boat the immediate calm that covers the island makes it worth it. I sat in a tiny café eating a bowl of homemade bacalao (salted and dried cod). Inside a band set up to perform that evening whilst the worlds largest sauna “Agora”, (which functions as an amphi-theatre and a sauna with a capacity of up to 120 people) glowed in the distance.
From the sauna my view is over the beaches and oceans. Even the mad dash to jump in the frozen sea seemed somehow calming. It’s not a busy happening festival with events to keep you busy all day but it is a really wonderful place to go and relax in the quiet and beauty of Sandhornøy.
I met a couple from Hackney that had come in search of music festivals in interesting places and they loved it. We spent our days trekking, then indulged in concerts and saunas in the evening.
On the boat on the last day I didn’t much want to leave. The free standing huts called Njalla designed by Sami architect and artist Joar Nango with reindeer skins were a welcome world away from a hotel or tent. And the view as we left was just spectacular. Beaches, mountains, forests, islands…… Why would anyone want to leave that?

Text and photo Benjamin McMahon


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