Introduction: Northern Norway: Introduction
6pm: Troops gathered and food bought, it’s about time to leave Luleå.
Quick note on the car rental: We rent the car at Statoil gas station. No extra fee for second driver, no problem to drive abroad, no extra fee for unconscious-under-25-years-old, no need to wash the car full of mosquitoes on the way back, everything is included in the rent. Plus very nice folk working there. End of the note.
Getting close to the Norwegian border on the E10, some hills start to rise around us. Nice lake along the way north of Torneträsk. Small walk to get closer. The vegetation isn’t quite the same as in Boden. Less trees, more and more marshes. The land isn’t, it’s just something wet floating on water, cloudberries… Here begins the north!
A quick stop at the pass at Riksgränsen, on the border, completely contrasting with Sweden: Stony ground, no more vegetation, rain and wind won over with time. Down to the Atlantic, and the doors of the Lofotens, beloved and too-much-heard-about part of Norway. Even though the first part of the road isn’t what I was expecting of the Lofotens, I quickly change my mind when coming in Myrland, where the Lofotens really starts. A quick dip in the ocean later (for the record, it was cold, despite a shining sun…), and we’re heading towards Gimsøya island, and it’s top Hoven, guardian of the ocean. An easy hike (2 hours both ways) led us to the top with a marvelous view of the Lofotens. Here we are, Lofotens, finally!
We spent the night camping close to Valberg. Heading into the Lofotens a little bit more, some really impressive tunnels on the road (Flakstadøya island), going down and up, comforting us in our decision not to take the bikes! Visits of Nusfjord, Ramberg et Sund, lovely (touristic) small towns, maybe too much into tourism. Heading on to Maskenesøya island, ending up in Reine, small paradise is the middle of a fjord. Lots of crayfish drying in the sun. There’s a small single track that goes up all the way to the closest hill, above the fjord. Maybe the best picture I keep in mind still after three years. Hitting the road once more, up to the end, the end of the Lofotens… I named Å. The end of our world, next stop, the America (next time…). We spent the night in our tent south of the village, on the last part of land. Amazing spot!
Road back to Reine, small boat for Vindstad, to get after a small walk to the west coast of the Lofotens, on a huge white-sand empty beach. Should be nice here in summer (oh wait!). Rain and wind (Vindstad, what else) are catching us in the afternoon, we get into a small coffee waiting for the boat back to Reine, in the old classroom of Vindstad. Back to Reine at 4pm. No sure the boat trip was completely worth it afterwards. Kayaking in the Reine fjord was another tempting option, but requires a kayaking “permit” (… Norwegians…) or a guide (really expensive 400NOK).
We had two full days of sun in the Lofotens (half of the year’s sunny days ?), that was totally unexpected, but we could enjoy the place as it should be done. Now the rain and the wind are here, time to get out of here! Heading north to Stø. Short night camping along the road 85.
We arrived in Stø at 10am, quick shower at the camping, but the camping isn’t very attracting itself, so we’ll crash somewhere else tonight.
Then, there is a nice day walk to Nyksund. The way to Nyksund keeps close to the sea, with some nice camping spots. Nyksund itself is pointless, as there is a road leading there, delivering full buses of tourists… But the way home, oh man! Climbing up to the hills, keeping on the ridge all the way. Sea on the left, sea on the right, sea ahead, … everywhere! Amazing views all the way to Stø. Magical!
To be continued: Northern Norway: Whales sightseeing