Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lofoten


My sister Shari is here on a visit, and we decided to go to Arctic Norway to see the Lofoten Islands. I did a few rounds of begging and propagandaing in the preceding months trying to recruit more travel partners (Shari and I travel well together but we did get a little tired of each other after South America.) It really came down to dredging the bottom of the barrel, but I managed to rope the aforementioned fresh-off-the-boat Americans into the trip. Okay just kidding, they are really fun.

So we landed in Bodø, some 200km north of the Arctic Circle, Wednesday evening. It's kind of a hole of a town, but definitely has some interesting features (read, skate parks and weird, empty carnivals sans meat-on-a-stick.) It's also surrounded by cool mountains, which is always a plus. We rented a cheap cabin in a cow-shit-laden field by the water and took a nap before walking into town. We ended up at a cool fisherman's pub filled with old people and took a few beers. We enjoyed ourselves, and so did the table full of beered up fisher-types next to us as they poked fun in norwegian at all of the tourists who only come to Bodø to hop the ferry to Lofoten.

The next day we made good on their stereotype and hopped the ferry the shit out of there. We didn't really plan our escape well though, and ended up a little short on food. Especially because we forgot about the holiday and when we landed on the island the only store was closed. There were some other touristy types on the boat that decided to go door to door asking for food, but we decided we weren't that hungry and ate an improvised iceberg lettuce and granola salad.
We spent the next couple of days hiking around and camped on a hill overlooking just about everything that is good in life. It was a really cool feeling to look up and down the chain of islands. Such a ridiculous landscape and feeling of isolation the way they come jutting straight out of the sea. Paradise.
I got a number for a kayak rental company and knew immediately upon talking to the guy that he was cool. I talked him way down on the prices, and an hour later he and his crazy British Columbia ski-bum friend picked us up in a SWEET old jeep. We took the kayaks out for an amazing paddle in the fjord and when we got back the guy showed us kayak-ski-touring videos and pics from his ski guiding in Morocco. He then got us a good deal on a fisherman's cabin with the best view ever.
The next day we rented a car and cruised north to see what we could see. It didn't take long before I was slamming the brakes though as we came across a perfect white sand beach surrounded by mountains. Sick. We would find two more later that day before driving through a tunnel and popping out in a field by the beach right as the sun was at its lowest. The lighting was amazing, and we went for a walk along the sea just to soak it in.

We camped right on the beach that night before driving back down to the same fisherman's cabin we stayed in before, but this time not before stocking up on good food and wine. Shari made us a delicious cod dinner and we played some cards.

The next day we took the bus up the length of the islands and to the airport outside of Narvik, where we pitched our classy little tents in the gravel and moose droppings across the road.

10 comments:

Scott Pendleton said...

break ~= brake (sorry, pet peeve from reading too much about bikes)

That looks awesome. Glad to see the ol' REI daypack is still going strong after all these years.

SCANDAVID said...

jeez, can't get away with anything around here...

yeah it's still keepin' on, but i think it's time for a new one soon.

Scott Pendleton said...

Do they even still make that pack?

I saw that your sister was complaining about food prices on facebook. How expensive was renting a car?

SCANDAVID said...

it wasn't bad; 500 nok for 24 hours and unlimited mileage. it was a used car though and from some dude in a small town.

actually the whole trip was pretty cheap. i think we added it all up including airfare, cabins and food and it was something like 450usd per person for 8 days.

Little Yeti said...

That is so awesome! I want more!

Is the water shitty cold?

SCANDAVID said...

it's warmer than puget sound... actually the lofoten islands have one of the largest latitude-based-temperature anomalies in the world because the gulf stream warms up the north atlantic so much. that's why they aren't covered with ice.

the kayak guy said that in some of the shallow areas the water temp can get up to 15-20C in the summer...

Scott Pendleton said...

Funny how growing up in the Pac NW forever makes us think that all sea water is deathly cold...

SCANDAVID said...

and teeming with giant octopi and man eating orcas...

it's true though--i still can't believe the dirty-no-good-lying norwegians who say the oslo fjord heats up to 75 degrees. impossible!

Carie said...

Whatever, I thought brake was intentional...you know, like "we hit the brakes on the kayaking because we just had to stop at the beach". I thought it was clever.

Beautiful photos, David! Wow! Looks like an amazing trip!

Scott Pendleton said...

You only think it's intentional, Carie, because it was originally "hit the breaks" and David corrected it after I pestered him.