Sunday, 22 November 2015

Winter Lofotens in March

I have already been in Lofotens several times in summer, and my dream was to see them in winter. A friend of mine has a mini-bus, so the transportation issue was solved. Initially we, three female friends, planned our trip in February, but decided to go in March due to the longer daylight. We stayed at Mila's. The hosts were really hospitable and the place – very picturesque. 

Reine

Early in the morning we started our trip from Boden (Sweden) to the Norwegian border. The weather was great, sunny, and we were making photos of deer. However as soon as we crossed the Polar Circle it became windy, and after Kiruna the storm started. 

Soon we got to a line of cars next to the closed barrier. The wind was so powerful, that even our mini-bus was swinging. In a couple of hours, the storm started to calm down. Another 40 minutes – and we see a snow-plough with a line of cars from the Norwegian side behind it. The barrier rose, and we continued our journey. Some cars were driving too fast – as there was a closing barrier behind every turn – and we had to move closer to the roadside. 

Svolvær

Girls admired the mist from the mountains, but I learnt from my previous visits that it was a sign of bad weather. Traditional stop at the gas station – and as soon we started the storm began again! The road was difficult, the vision was limited, and our ride over the bridge was pretty scary. All that took place in March that is claimed to be the sunniest month with the most stable weather! We tried to move after another vehicle and found a very convenient snow-plough.

The snow was almost over when we reached Svolvær. It was evening. Earlier in the morning there was World Cod Fishing Championship, and all the ships and boats were decorated with flags and lanterns. 

World Cod Fishing Championship

The smell of fresh cod… It was everywhere in the Lofotens! You get used to it soon, but at home it turns out that even your hands smell cod. However, the smell is quite fresh and good. 

On the quay we saw a wooden tub with hot water and several Norwegians in it! We reached Fredvang when it was already dark. Mila met us – we were finally at home! 

DAY 1. FREDVANG – RAMBERG 

The morning was snowy, and we decided just to walk around Fredvang. We put on warm clothes and got out. Went up to the bridges. 

Flakstad

In the afternoon, we went to Ramberg. Just before Ramberg we stopped to take photos of cod. It was Sunday, but people were busy. They were fishing, drawing fish and hanging it to dry. Boats were sailing here and there. Cods' heads were hanging separately. 

Cod, Norway

Finally, we got to Flakstad. We could barely go anywhere, as the parkings and tourists zones were covered with a high layer of snow! 

DAY 2. NYSFJORD – VIKTEN – SUND 

We decided to go to Nysfjord when the weather would be fine. It was not storming in the morning, and we unanimously voted for the trip. Nysfjord was deserted. Far in the horizon we could see dots – cod-fishing boats. And seagulls above the bay. 

Nysfjord, Lofotens

We arrived in Vikten. Went to the Glass Hut and Pottery Tower (closed) in front of it. The storm started again when a miracle happened: a mistress of the Tower and opened it! Lina could not help buying a glass vase, expensive but really beautiful. When we went out, the blizzard stopped, we could even see pieces of blue sky through the clouds! 

In the evening, we went to Sund – a small fishermen settlement. We could see small boats full of cod, they moored one by one and unloaded. 

DAY 3. REINE – Å 

This day was sunny! The road to Reine took us quite a lot time – we stopped many times to take pictures. And saw a lot of cod hanging. Winter Reine is as beautiful as in summer. From time to time, it was snowing, but the sun was still here! We observed how kindergarten children were going for a walk – all were holding a rope. 

Reine, Lofotens, Norway

Our next stop – Å. 

Boats in the bay were with snow hats. The evening was spent at the dinner prepared by Mila and her husband Bror. She cooked for us some cod – and it was delicious! 

Casseroled cod, Norway

DAY 4. LEKNES – EGGUM – UTAKLEIV 

We considered shopping in Leknes as an opportunity to exchange euros to kronas. There are two banks in the town but none of them could exchange currency! They recommended us to go to a tourist information centre. Indeed, we bought a bookmark and got the change from hundred euros in kronas. After a brief shopping and search for souvenirs, we set to Eggum. 

Reine, Lofotens

The weather was still sunny. We walked along the ruins of the former radiolocation station left from the WWII. After Eggum we planned to take photos from the viewpoint, but the snow was shoveled away only from the roads, and we just did not manage to drive or walk there. 

Then we went to the beaches of Utakleiv. The route that day seems a bit chaotic, maybe because of unexpectedly good weather! Nevertheless, the beaches were not that interesting in winter. 

DAY 5. HENNINGSVÆR 

The last day we decided to drive to Henningsvær. In the lakes just out of Leknes we saw swans! I could never understand why Henningsvær is called "Norwegian Venice". It really does not look like one! But this time, in winter, I suddenly liked the town very much. With all these ships with red flags sailing in the bay. On the way back the road was sparkling with the frost. 

Boats, Lofotens, Norway

WAY BACK 

We took off before the dawn. On the way, we observed halo! 

Halo, Norway

And saw swans again. Svolvær! We stopped at a gas station, and I took pictures of the bay. And then some landmarks: Hammerstad, the bridge. Our road went away from the fjord, the sun came out of the clouds… And here is Sweden! 


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