Sunday, August 30, 2009
The Lofoten Islands form a rather large Peninsula, showing us a typical Norwegian lifestyle. It is very picturesque, covered with small harbors and old buildings stemming from cod fishing times. Cod fish were dried, salted and shipped throughout Europe, even the World. Fishermen came from all over the Globe to catch these fish. They lived in small huts, cooked their own meals and slept in bunk beds. It was an inexpensive way to get though the winter season, it was small but warm and dry. These small huts, called Hytter, (pronounced hoota) are still in use today. Ok, a bit updated, but still the same style and the same size but now these huts are rented out to tourists. Prices throughout Norway are dear. A Radisson Hotel room in Bergen was 2200 Norwegen Kronen (divide by 5 for US dollars). A hytte with shower and bathroom compares at 600 Kronen. The most common Hytte is about 400 Kronen but does not have a shower, etc. We were cozy warm in a hytte but also froze our butts off sleeping in a campground right near the ocean. (The Lofoten Islands are inside the Polar Circle.) Yes, all hytter have a hotplate so cooking can be done without visiting a restaurant. In Norway it is not so easy to find a restaurant. People mostly cook their own meals. On all our travels we have not seen a fast food place in Norway. No KFC, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, etc. No glaring advertisements, either. The whole country looks pristine and clean of Madison Avenue jargons. This is especially true on the Lofoten Islands. Many people visit the Lofoten coming south by bus from Narvik, but we rode these roads the opposite way.
We saw many glaciers and snow filled recesses in the spectacular craggy mountains and even stopped at the huge, multi-armed Svartisen glacier which is advancing 131 feet per year (no global warming here). There were spectacular waterfalls dropping hundreds of feet in multiple stages before forming turbulent, turquoise rivers rushing to the sea. The many fjords were deep and crystal clear and our road wound along the edge of many of these fjords with the steep mountain sides rising sharply on the other side of the road.
One of the main reasons we took this off the beaten track route was to visit a replica of a Viking Longhouse. See our next report.