TRAVEL

LOFOTEN (PART I)

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Three summers ago, I slept under the midnight sun, drove on winding roads in the back of strangers’ cars and pulled fish onto a rowing boat…

Three summers ago, I spent two weeks on the magnificent piece of earth called Lofoten. It’s my favourite place to daydream about, and my mind keeps coming back to it again and again.

Yesterday, I was talking to a friend how behind I was on printing off photos and putting those albums together… maybe my blog is just the better way for me to curate images and memories. So here’s a piece of my Norway story for you, from a time before I started my blog.

It was an adventure from start to finish, a dream, moments that seem so unreal when I think about them now. You know how some experiences go beyond the actual time they happen, becoming even better in your head? That was Lofoten for me…

Lofoten, Norwegian for lynx’ foot, is an archipelago in the North of Norway. Because it’s so far up and quite mountainous, it’s usually rather cold there, but lucky as we are we had temperatures up to 30°C and sun for most of the time. (Did we bring suitable clothes? Of course not. Rolling up our sleeves it was.)

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We started in Bod- (hold on, I need to find those Norwegian letters again…) Bodø. Our wonderful Couchsurfing hosts took us for a hike to see the midnight sun. And see the midnight sun, we did. With hot cocoa in wooden cups on a mountain top. Does it get any more Norwegian?

On our way back down, we met a moose. Just like that. Actually, a baby moose. It crossed our path suddenly and looked at us curiously.

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The next day, we took a ferry to the tiny island of Værøy. Once the busyness of loading and unloading the ferry had faded, we looked around to figure out what was next. After a quick stop at the tourist “office”, basically a tiny hut, we knew we wanted to go to the camping ground on the other side of the island. We gathered our courage to ask a stranger for a lift for the very first time. He turned out to be an islander who’d probably come to the ferry docks to see some action. He hadn’t heard about the camping ground but was kind enough to drive us there while talking about life on the island and our destination (he really opened up when he found out we spoke Norwegian). The camping ground was behind the old airport turned chocolate factory… When we arrived, we were greeted by a welcoming committee of two cats and a goat. Somewhere in the field there were two other cars, other than that just the mountains, the sea and utter silence. Once we had taken in the situation, we set up our tent and cooked a little meal on the beach (probably couscous or pasta).

 

Luckily, our Swedish neighbours took us back to the ferry the next day and after some exploring of the island (looking at dried fish, checking the church for a toilet, buying fresh cookie supplies at the local (and only) supermarket), we were off to our next stop – Moskenes.

 

Another camping ground and the football world championship semi-final… I didn’t care for it much, but my German friend was (understandably) freaking out about the 7:1 win. The next day, our hitch-hiking adventure started for real. I have a diary somewhere in which I wrote about every single person that gave us a lift. I do remember though that it was a Finnish couple who picked us up in Moskenes. Worried parents are probably among the top three of types of people who gave us a ride…

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We then spent one or two nights in Ramberg, a drive-through village with a gorgeous long beach and the most turquoise water I’ve ever seen. The hike to the end of the beach exhausted us so much we had to take a nap on the rocks. Through fields of flowers and colourful wooden cabins we roamed, admiring the mountains rising up behind us. Sleep feels like wasted time when the sun never really sets, instead inviting you to do some amateur yoga around midnight. Hot chocolate was our fuel…

 

Our next stop was Stamsund, a village in the south of the island. Again, the guy who took us into the village was a local and told us he knew the hostel owner well (had possibly gone to school with his son?). He dropped us off at the yellow rorbuer (traditional fishermen’s houses) and we found the doors locked with a note to call a number.

To be continued…

photos of me by @mialsbrnk

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