Day 34. Sunday 16 June.
This blog is a cooperative activity: we take turns in writing the first draft, we both edit/add to that, and we jointly select the photographs. T suggested, for the previous post (Happy Days) that we independently draft the blog and then compare the results. There was an interesting (and frightening?) similarity in the result!
Our resolve to have a slow day, and do some admin, finally happened. T wanted a brunch of mushrooms, lemon, wilted spinach…so we duly headed into town to source same, to find that all the stores were closed: the only supermarket open in the whole of Lofoten was a ‘Kiwi Mini Pris’, just up the road. An understanding local explained the facts to us, as well as giving directions; our host later added that this was not a religious thing, but rather to give everyone a day off. The mini part was accurate: it was a section of the main store, but it was able to provide the items we needed to survive until Monday (D had re-supplied beer ahead of Sunday).
So after breakfast, with no expectation that anything would be open – we were right – we wandered into Svolvaer, still hoping to do some galleries! Nothing open, not even the local church, then across the bridge to the tiny island of Svinoya, with an endless view.
There were more rorbuer, the quaint, red fisherman’s cottages, but many of them seemed to be of more recent construction to cater for those wanting that unique experience.
Some workers didn’t get the day off: the pallets of dried fish were being moved around on the wharves.
Being a Sunday, we of course went to church, to the Lofoten Cathedral. Due to a scarcity of preachers, services aren’t held every Sunday, and in any event turning up at 1.30 PM meant we were pretty sure to miss it anyway. Again, a lovely but understated wooden Lutheran church dating from 1898.
We think (because the wording in the brochure is ambiguous) it was ordered by King Oystein to service the itinerant fishermen (3-4000) who were given precedence in front row seating. Why was not explained, but if the fishermen we know are any indication, it was probably because they needed saving the most or they needed most prayers for their catch.
One of the ‘must do’s’ on our list was to have a swim in the Arctic Sea, or close enough to claim bragging rights (we’re actually in the Norwegian Sea – albeit between the Norwegian Sea and the mainland) – but let’s not quibble: the water is still arctic cold. That was a target today, anticipating that the current fine weather may not hold. There are several signposted swimming spots south of Svolvaer, and we dutifully followed the signs but could not discover anything that looked like a swimming spot. We remembered passing a spot to the north previously, so headed there, to find some sand, some rocks, mirror water and a few families picnicking.
T bravely took off her shoes and socks and ventured in to mid-calf: does that qualify as a swim?
And, adding to our comment yesterday about the destination of the fish heads, our host advised us that they are in fact donated, rather than sold, to African countries, as a humanitarian gesture. Google didn’t seem to support that view. We have observed a number of possibly ‘African’ families here and wonder about immigration/asylum matters. One of them had 6 daughters: double our luck.