Day 35. Monday 17 June.
A road trip today – 130 kms south to the town of A on the island of Moskenoy, via recommended stops of course. But it is a late start: the thumping above is muted this morning, allowing a ‘second sleep’ – this hardly matters as there is no night and we can just skew our day to the right. Just to prove that not every summer’s day in Lofoten is blue, today was shades of grey and rain is forecast mid-week.
The trip takes us onto three new islands: Hamnoy, Flakstadoy and Moskanoy and through a few towns.
Coffee at the bakery at Leknes, about halfway on the outward journey. Unlike our visit late Saturday afternoon, it was packed, but the coffee was as good. And a lone local gull demonstrated that it favoured human food scraps; this is the first time we’ve seen this behavior on our trip.
The glass blowing at Vikten Glasshytta had drawn a small but very appreciative audience.
Spectacular workshop gallery & location and T was taken by the architecture as much as by the glass. Now has plans for a beach shack.
Along the road to Nusfjord, looking for the third of the ‘sculpture in the landscape’. It was not there – just one of the problems with large scale, sketch maps where the symbols cover a couple of square kilometers on the ground! We eventually found it a smallish ball of ??? sitting on a circle of white pebbles. It’s a pity that none of the sculpture pieces have information, but maybe that’s the point, letting them just BE within the landscape.
The fourth and final sculpture was a big cairn shaped as an imposing regular cylinder. There had been either some vandalism or deterioration, as some of the stones had fallen, but not enough to ruin the effect and the colourings were perfect.
We passed by Flakstad, sort of missing it from the road, but turned back to check out the church, built from Russian timber and with a Russian ‘onion’ below its spire. It was, of course, all closed up – open at 5 PM, and none of the music offerings fitted our schedule (there are festivals and concerts in July & August).
There were two obelisk memorials on either side of the entry path, dedicated to soldiers who’d lost their lives at Narvik in WW II – we assume they were from the area. A third gravestone, fairly new, was very sad. The family, who had lived in the late 1800s, were listed: the youngest child died in 1852 aged a couple of months, the next aged about two died a couple of years later, and then an eight year old died in October 1862, a ten year old in November that year and then the mother, aged 38, in December. We wondered what had happened in 1862 in the area…flu??? The father died at much later around 60 years old. For a small hamlet, the adjoining graveyard was huge.
Outside Ramberg we stopped for a walk on the white beach: then we spotted a couple of Orcas surfacing – they were quite a way out but magical anyway. The water looked inviting, but the weather precluded any real thought of finally diving in. D was tempted to meet the challenge, but squibbed it.
By now, around 3 PM, rumbling tummies reminded us that it was time for lunch. T wanted a hearty soup so we entered an unpretentious Kafe – lowering our heads to get in. One customer later unfortunately forgot to do so. We opted for fish (cod) & chips, and were delighted: so often the expectation of fish and chips is not matched by the reality.
Onto the much photographed village of Reine, by which time the strip of land between mountain and water had become almost non-existent.
There, the art gallery Eva Harr beckoned, but we are reluctant to pay for admission to commercial artists’ offerings particularly when we don’t know the artist or the style and subject matter. Maybe we are spoilt.
Our last call was A, at the end of the E10 main route and home of the Lofoten Fishing Museum, where every aspect of this historic industry is explained. Needless to say, as we arrived after 6 PM, everything closed up, but that did mean we could wander through without an entry fee.
Having visited most towns and villages in Lofoten, we are struck by the amount of tourist accommodation available, much in the form of the ‘rorbuer’. And how organized is the tourist industry! Another noticeable feature is an almost complete lack of rubbish/graffiti and the waterways, despite the volume of diesel traffic are pristine. Full marks to whatever they do here to preserve the environs.
Driving has been overall pretty easy – other drivers are careful, perhaps even overly so, and the use of passing bays on narrow roads has worked well. There was one scare today – a car overtaking a bus, heading towards a head-on collision with us. Fortunately a combination of heavy braking by us and an on-the-ball the bus driver who also braked avoided a nasty situation.
Rain began to fall lightly as we returned to Svolvaer, with the temperature hovering around the 11 to 13 degrees that it had been all day.