Lofoten - A love Story
It started a completely different place. We were on our way home on a winter Sunday, with cars ahead and cars behind. It was evening on Norway`s Highway 7 and everyone was headed for Oslo. We had spent the weekend between the areas of Hol and Aurland; one day of fresh powder, one day of ice climbing west of the watershead.
WRITTEN BY EIVIND EIDSLOTT
“Should get a cabin up here” I said to my friend Sjur, who was driving. I did a monolog on the topic. I`d really worked my self up and felt like I was on a roll so I didn`t wait for an answer. “They closed the road because of snowstorm. It`s perfect. Just call work on monday morning and say “Sorry. Can´t make it. Road closed. Not my fault. Storm. HAve to stay here. Imagine that? Snowed in. Never comeing back.
“No,” he said. That wasn`t exactly the answer I was expecting. “No?” “We`ll buy in Lofoten, instead”. Ok, I said waited, and then said, where?” “Heningsvær”. I couldn`t say no. If Sjur had been like other friends, that would have been the end of it. But the next day, I got a long list of links to real estate advertisement. A week later, he went to Henningsvær just to look at a house. Thats is how we became homeowners in the Lofoten Islands.
Can you spackle the one you love? If so, it would take many liters of spackle and many hours of spackling. Inside, we spackle. Outside, there was wind and rain. Inside too, for that matter.
Should you already be in relationship, the cinnamon rolls at the candle-makers and cafè in Lofoten`s Henningsvær are reason enough to consider shaking up you life. And if you think your Gore-Tex clothing and hat are a bit flashy when your sitting at the cafè, and feel you are being focused on a bit to much, let me put it in perspective. On a good weekend, Lofoten draw a few hundred visiting freeskiers. By comparison in 1995, a typical year for the famous seasonal cod-fishing rush called Lofotfiske, 20.000 fishermen came to this archipelago north of the artic circle. They came at about the same time as skiers do now, between january and april, and brought a whole little industry with them.
In addition to preachers, merchants, peddlers, cooks, food service workers, fish buyers from Bergen and Møre district, buyers of liver and caviar, and police reinforcement, the official Statistical Yearbook says the influx included 13 watchmakers, 21 goldsmiths, 10 photographers, 13 artists and 101 “head buyers”. The last group was buying the heads of fish, we persume. So there is room for many more freeskiers in Lofoten. We should all go, until it gets as crowded as during the old Lofotfiske – when you could cross Henningsvær harbor by walking from boat to boat – and snake oil sellers arrive.
There are lots of ways of getting to Lofoten. The easiest is to already live there, or move there for good. Personally, I am in love from afar, and have made it to Lofoten in a variety of ways, by car, fast boat, Hurtigruten coastal ship, and plane; via towns of Bodø, Evenes, Svolvær and Tromsø. Two means of travel remain: Public transport all the way from Oslo. Train to Bodø, Boat to Svolvær, and then buss to Henningsvær just to se how long it would take. A road trip via all the ski areas in Norway`s Nordland county. (Even if I am going steady with Lofoten, I can`t forget you Glomfjord.
Are you also considering Lofoten and marriage? Just take the trip to the cliff Prestenn(The Preacher). In summer, driven people can be found on Lofoten`s most classic climbing route in these mountains. In winter, skiers follow the 500 meter colouir down to the road.
Can you grow old with Lofoten? I choose to think so. Last year, I took the Hurtigruten from Tromsø to Svolvær in the dead of winter. I sat on the panorama deck with retirees and central europeans with video cameras. Some solved crosswords, some crocheted, some took an unintentinal nap. No one said anything. Together, we saw the world´s most beautiful nature coming at us, drifting slowly, steadily The voyage from the north through the Vesterålen Islands and then Lofoten, past the Trollfjord ad Raftsundet, is beyound comparison. So when I get old, and I mean really old, after I have put in a few years as a retiree skibum, I`m going to buy a cabin on each of the Hurtigrute ships and take the same trip day after day, back and forth between Tromsø and Stamsund. There is room on the boat for you too.
THIS STORY WAS PRINTED BY NORRONA MAGAZINE in 2011. The images in this story are a mix of images captured for the initial story and some new ones. Lofoten is such a pearl of a place. And it should be on everyones bucket list. Specially during winter. And, if you have not seen a artic sunset over Henningsvær jet. You should. Here you have one.