We woke early the morning after our slightly chaotic arrival in Lofoten. Correction … Nigel woke early the following morning to the cry of seagulls and bright sunshine flooding through the window. He quickly dressed, left Martha dozing and headed out with his camera into the crisp Arctic morning. We had noticed a distinct aroma of fish in the air when we arrived and sure enough about 50 metres from the hotel were numerous drying racks, many of which were laden with cod drying out.
This fish would eventually be sold in various form to countries all across the world and is a very lucrative industry. The early morning light was so beautiful that Nigel found it difficult to head back to the hotel, but two things forced him to do so. Firstly, he wanted to be in time for breakfast and secondly, he couldn’t feel his fingers anymore as the chilly air took its toll! Luckily, Martha was up and ready to head for breakfast, oh that’s right…she wasn’t. Nigel ‘pleasantly’ suggested that perhaps it was time she was! As normal, we tried to eat as much as we could to keep us sustained for the next few hours because we don’t tend to eat lunch when we are on holiday. We try to eat breakfast as late as possible and perhaps have some coffee/tea and cake if the opportunity presents itself in the afternoon. It would be different and we would need a proper lunch if we were early risers and eating breakfast at 7am but that’s not really how we roll!
Hitting the road across Lofoten
And so we finally set off from our hotel shortly before 11am, not quite knowing where we would end up and what we would see. The plan was to drive south west to the fishing village of Reine which looked spectacular in any photographs that we had seen. There was another town slightly further on called Å, which Nigel wanted to visit, purely because you can’t really get a shorter place name than Å. According to him, if all of the world’s towns, cities and villages were to be listed in alphabetical order then Å would be first on the list! We had driven for 85 seconds when we made our first photo stop and we have to say it’s one of the most beautiful scenes we had ever photographed. Apart from one slight blot in the distance … our vile dark yellow car parked in the layby! Literally every time we turned a corner we were presented with another incredible view. There is nowhere on the Lofoten Islands that doesn’t have an amazing view it seems! After stopping about twenty times in the first hour we decided that we were going to have to be more selective or we weren’t going to get very far. So we devised a view rating scale. If it was your ‘every day amazing’, we would just drive on, because amazing was pretty much base level. ‘OMG’ meant we could stop briefly and finally there came ‘holy shit, would you look at that’ or words to that effect, which constituted a lengthier stop! There was practically every kind of scenery from snow capped mountains and meadows to beaches and frozen lakes and we ended up having to make an emergency stop in the town of Leknes to buy yet another memory card for Martha’s video camera!
Leknes also presented us with an opportunity to find a coffee shop, which had unlimited coffee and tea and amazing carrot cake…#happyNigel! We sat in the cosy cafe looking out of the window at the surrounding snowy mountains….life was good! Our weather was actually quite good. Not too cold with some sunshine at about 6°C with little wind. As we left Leknes and headed through a mountain pass we ran into some sleet, but it didn’t last long and the sun soon returned in time for us arriving at our first beach. This was swiftly followed by another beach at Ramsberg where the backdrop of jagged mountains almost looked too perfect to be real. The sand on Ramsberg beach was as fine and golden as any beach in the Caribbean and the water as you’d expect was crystal clear. Had we had more time we would possibly have been tempted to go into the sea. It can’t have been any colder than the water we encountered at Slide Rock State Park in Arizona, believe it or not!
Journey’s End at beautiful Reine
Hopefully, the photographs taken on our journey give you an idea of the ridiculous levels of beauty, which we experienced. If overdosing on scenery was an illness, you’d probably not survive the Lofoten Islands. As we were approaching our destination, we made one final stop about two miles before it when we saw a scene we recognised from the many photos we had seen of it in the past (without ever knowing exactly where it was)! It was called Hamnøy and it was picture book Norwegian cute, complete with the constant cry of the seagulls swooping overhead. And so we arrived in Reine, where Nigel’s priority was finding the bathroom he had been craving for the last hour! The ones at the harbour were locked, which was great….NOT! Luckily, the only store in the town came to the rescue amidst scenes of great rejoicing! We spent a bit of time taking photographs of the pretty harbour area with its mountain backdrop and the fish drying racks, which provided a unique tunnel of fish to walk through! In total, our two hour drive from Henningsvær to Reine had taken us seven hours, thanks to all of our photo stops! We decided to head back to Henningsvær for dinner, as we wanted to try a restaurant called Fiskekrogen that sounded good. We only made one stop on our return journey to photograph the beautiful sunset at Ramsberg beach and so at around 9.30pm we were going in for dinner. Our waitress sounded Irish, was actually Swedish but lived in Norway with her Uruguayan husband! Turned out she had spent about 10 years living in Limerick in Ireland and picked up the accent! There wasn’t just fish on the menu but we both ended up having fish again as it seemed rude not to when we were in one of Norway’s most famous fishing villages.
All in all, it was probably the most amazing days’ road trip which we have ever experienced and one that we will never forget. We never managed to get to visit the village of Å unfortunately, as we took so long getting to Reine!
The following day was our last day on Lofoten as we were catching a ship back to Tromsø at 9pm so join us in the next part for our final day in Lofoten and our cruise back to Tromsø!
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