Gravity…, by John Mayr is a great song and describes pretty well how I felt, writing this blogpost. There are moments and places which monopolize me totally, like getting pulled by a gravitational field towards the core. If contentment could be sized, heaviness would be its measurement. I felt delighted, content and centered at that place where time transforms into silence. I had a look in the rear-vision mirror and the small village of Henningsvaer did fade out to a tiny little spot before it disappeared at all. In front of me and still driving west we reached Hamnoy, which connects to the slightly bigger town of Reine. Enclosed the last pictures from Henningsvær.
Moskenesøy is part of the southern group of islands of the Lofoten where the central town is Reine. More villages around Moskenesøy are among others Å i Lofoten, Sørvågen, Sakrisøy and Hamnøy. The fishing industry is up till today the primary economic factor all over the Lofoten. Cultivation of salmon or fish farming is prominent, but tourism is catching up rapidly. The Europe road 10 is connecting the island of Moskenesøy with the other northern islands of Lofoten which are all reachable by roads now (since 2007).
Reine, existing since 1743 is the administrative center of the Moskenes municipal and counts around 400 inhabitants. The village is secluded, well at least in winter it is, because in summer thousands of tourist are rushing around in a fixed and focused ‘selfie’ mode between the cute red photogenic Rorbu houses. Azure blue waters, rugged cliff formations and breathtaking scenery are awarding the village of Reine with majestic features. A place to arrive and to linger. The main livelihood of the Lofoten people is besides the tourism, the fishing industry. Every year in winter, between mid-January and mid-April, hundreds of small fishing boats are gathering. The main catch is the Atlantic codfish. In their prime years, the did catch up to 146.000 tons per season, in 2015 the amount went down to 65.195 tons of Atlantic cod (Tørrfisk) which gets mainly exported.
Å i Lofoten (just click on the following link to see the position of it). Å is a tiny village with approximately 100 people, it hosts an excellent fishing museum which shows you the history and the long tradition of stockfish in Norway. Besides that a real detailed information about the different grading of commodities and the quality expectations will await you there. Until today you will find the Tørrfisk frames all over the Lofoten. Fishing is one big issue here, but do not forget the great hiking possibilities around this area. A paradise with breathtaking views will await you and it is a fantastic adventure to explore flora and fauna of this fare western region of the Lofoten.
We are unfortunate but for us this lovely place is our turning point. Of course we had planned several detours on the way back to the capital, like a visit at one of our favorite coffee shops! Therefore I’d like to share some of the best coffee places with you. We marked all kinds of different places on the maps where exploration looked tempting and the next collection of pictures show will you a diverse variety of those regions. Get inspired!
The amount and waves of impressions were immensely right from the beginning of our journey and even it is just 300 km. from Evenes airport to the western village of Å i Lofoten, we covered 1800 km. in 14 days! But now it was time again to find a relaxing and cozy accommodation (after sleeping in the car for several nights) where you get this ‘ welcome home’ feeling as soon as you step in the door. Christiane did find such place quite fast (thx. to the internet) and ..oh yes that was the perfect place! Welcome to Guri, Kristian and the team of HATTVIKA LODGE in Ballstad.
The refurbished with lots of love, patience and money some old traditional Rorbu (seasonally used fishing houses) and made a real heart touching lodge out of it. Besides that, Ballstad is a real great basecamp and getaway for all sorts of outdoor activities such as seajacking, hiking, mountain biking, stand up paddeling, diving, rock – or alpine climbing. The Hattvika Lodge offers accommodations with a fantastic cozy character in a family style atmosphere. I just love their place (besides all the great tasty food of course). The tours itself are spectacular and tailor-made and while your focus is on exploration, adventure and pleasure – their focus is on safety and an unforgettable experience. An excellent an needed combination if you really like to dive deeper into the wonderland of Lofoten discovery!
Right from the beginning the conversation between Kristian and myself showed strong resonances and transformed into excitement while continuing. The night itself was crystal clear but unfortunately I (we) missed out on some impressing northern lights, because being in deep sleep. Next morning and before continuing our journey Kristian gave as a great tour through the different accommodations and, sights and surrounding area, finishing off with a great cup of tasty coffee.
HATTVIKA LODGE is my first choice regarding a base camp for outdoor activities at Lofoten, independently if we talk about summer or winter! Besides all the mentioned outdoor activities and the enjoyable simplicity of ‘just’ being there, the whole atmosphere had something else, it felt wholesome. Wholesome might be an old fashion and not often used word but that’s exactly how it felt like at Hattvika Lodge and all over the Lofoten. We moved on and drove from Ballstad towards Leknes. About 15 minutes behind Lekens we reached the beautiful Haukland – Beach.
Haukland Beach with its white sand is spectacular and the colors of the ocean shimmers in all kinds of blueish and greenish facets. If you follow the road for a short drive towards the mountain you will find a hiking pass (on the left) which leads up to the summit, the view will take you by surprise. Calculate around 30 to 40 min. to reach the peak.
Fascinated by the scenery the landscapes and the beaches in this region we decided to stick around this area and therefore we choose a much older way of transportation, a ferry! The change of perspective from sea compare to land offered a whole new spectrum and nourished our hunger of exploration even more. We were on the way to Vesterålen, a region and a group of islands 300 km north of the polar circle. This area connects to the south with the Lofoten and the community of Sortland, which lays in the center of Vesterålen. The ferry connection from Fiskebol to Melbu is a short but pleasant passage between those two regions.
The Man from the sea is a 4.3-meter iron sculpture, a piece of art which can be seen at Vinje in Bø in Vesterålen. The sculpture holds a crystal in its hands, an offering to the sea which color changes blueish with the winter lights. For staying overnight we found the Skagakai guest house, a real old and former traditional trading house which was just five driving minutes away from the sculpture.
The polar or northern lights is a mesmerizing, astonishing and sweeping spectacle. Reverently I followed the intense and bright movements of light which monopolized the whole sky for itself and brought back my childish astonishment, ending in pure delight. The wild collections of islands, straight north of Svolvaer, make the region of Vesterålen another great hotspot for individual exploration. Enclosed now a few impressions from the mentioned region.
Our trip was slowly coming to an end but before we turned around heavy-heartedly from such fantastic landscapes and people we drove to Unstad. The tiny village lays on the 68°9 latitude in the north Atlantic and due to its excellent and continuously incoming waves this spot is well known by surfers around the world. Unstad Arctic surf is by far the most northern surf school in the world. The waves are spectacular as the hole harsh region and the seclusion is magic. Undeterred and protected with thick neoprene the surfers are waddling like penguins into freezing water. The constant sound of the breaking waves had a meditative effect and the skills of the surfers was a symbiotic show of nature and elegance.
The depth of the ocean in the mentioned bay is about 500 meters and that’s the reason why the waves, starting in Greenland, can build up continually on there way to Lofoten. The next link gets you to a spectacular video produced by Red Bull and shows Mick Fanning who surfed the spot in 2013.
My astonishment regarding the unbelievable and excellent weather conditions we had during our entire journey moved me so much that I always felt at home at Lofoten. Christiane’s flight was one day earlier as mine, so after taking her to the airport, I used the time to explore the fjords west of Evenes. It was sunny and hardly any wind, which means perfect conditions to look for a spot where I could start the drone. Close to Kjerstad, I found the right spot from where I took the following pictures, as well as the drone video.
My last night at Evenes – Lofoten was again spectacular and the sky, once again, turned into a fantastic northern light show. What a sight, what an incredible journey and the Lofot did capture me right from the beginning and mesmerizes me till today.
Lofoten, September 2017