Happy days

Day 33. Saturday 15 June.

Some dear readers will recall Saturday mornings at Auchenflower basketball stadium. The steady thud..thud..thud of bouncing balls in sync with the steady thud..thud..thud of our brains. It’s a bit like that in our basement apartment each morning as the energetic two year old runs….pounds…on the wooden floor above our bedroom, back and forth. We are trying to adjust our late start/late finish routine to fit in, but it hasn’t been that easy. Noone mentioned this in the reviews!

We headed out with some misgiving, expecting that the weekend would bring out lots of other motorists. The opposite was the case – the roads were quiet and the motorists well-behaved, as in fact they invariably are. Another bright sunny day – but the temperature was around 10 degrees with a cold, icy wind.

The second island below our base – Vestvagoy -was the target, with a few ‘must see’ spots planned. We’d been to Hov, so it was other attractions on this trip.

But first – coffee. When you go into town on a perfect Saturday morning in Svolvaer and you see a bunch of musicians, brass instruments in hand, then you follow them to find out where the concert is happening. Arrived at the town square, where 3 brass bands were assembled. Coffee and music time, thinks T. Then the stars arrive: it’s a wedding! A simple private affair (with hundreds of uninvited guests/spectators): just a bride & groom & celebrant. He said ‘Ja’, she said, ‘Ja’, there was a kiss, the bands cheered, the cameras clicked and that was that.

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No coffee, so we move on. The journey included crossing two bridges of the same design as the one across Raftsundet Strait – quite spectacular. It was the day for exploring the agricultural island of Vestvagoy: fields (not sure what is grown, probably fodder), mountains, some sheep, goats, cows, lots of buttercups and again, at the fishing villages, the cod racks.

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The Lofotr Viking Museum at Borg brought an archaeological dig to life and there, T showed her serious lack of grinding strength: ‘not even enough grain for the icing’, said the miller.

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The Norse Saga told in video a story of the chief Olav Tvennumbrunni who, when politically squeezed by 2 other chiefs, decided there was no space for him, so he packed up and sailed to Iceland. After his death, his daughter returned to Borg, to marry her childhood sweetheart who had become Chieftain. It’s always good to have that happy ending.

The day was rapidly getting away and the morning coffee actually happened at 4pm in a quiet, ‘closed up’ town of Leknes. It was worth the wait. T had prepared the whale salami lunch again, to be consumed with a walk at the beach, so at 5.30pm we donned puffer jackets and had our picnic while the arctic surf school at Unstad braved the elements (and a very tiny set of waves). The clouds had really settled low and T wondered whether the campervanners would get that midnight sun view.

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The penultimate destination for the day was to see the landscape art of ‘the head’ at Eggum and we were not disappointed, but the campervanners were huddled inside with their diesel heaters chugging away.

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But on the return to Svolvaer (65kms) that glass of beer/pinot took a little longer than expected. A warning alarm and light on the dash screen about 10 km out sent D into the glovebox user manual…it seemed to be a picture of a tyre issue, but when the explanation is only in Norwegain, how can you be certain? Cool as always, D checked (and kicked) the tyres, could see nothing obvious, so carefully back on the road. As soon as we came to Svolvaer, it was pull into the servo and ask a taxi driver who was fortuitously there: yes, tyre pressure. Used the air gun, but alarm still showing, so head for the Hertz agency. At 10pm, with a Hurtigruten ship in, and tourists needing a range of services, D (aka Ove) lends a hand once again giving advice and reassurance to anxious Hertz customers, and then waits patiently for Daniel to confirm the car problem (fixed by re-setting pressure system with the flick of a button and a jovial comment about manufacture).

Too late for food (potato chips will do), but not too late for that wine. For us this is a better option than fishheads – we finally discovered what they’re used for. They are packed into large wooden crates, loaded into semi-trailers and sent to Nigeria for making into soup.

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And yet another mode of transport. We continue to be impressed by the acceptance of drivers to the delays caused by motor homes, cyclists, walkers and others sharing the roads: just the one example of impatience by the two motor cyclists a couple of days ago.

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3 thoughts on “Happy days

  1. I only have fond memories of Auchenflower – the only thudding was my “heavy on your feet” running style? When I managed to snag a lift, that is. X

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  2. Thanks for the tour dear friends. My children still think that Auchenflower was some sort of Childrens’ revenge. For what?? Margaret River seriously wet today. Ian

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