Lofoten took me by surprise. I often choose my destinations based on a few pictures that enchant me, and with Lofoten this was again the case. I knew from hearsay that it was a stunning part of Norway, and as some of my favourite adventure photographers flew there and updated their Instagram I set my mind on going there this summer. The last few years I’ve figured out how and where I like to travel, and I’ve felt increasingly how wrong it is that I’ve been around my own country so little. When my desired destinations usually include mountains and picturesque landscapes, it seemed foolish to not seek out these places in Norway before I leave for an extended period, since we have so many of them. When my dad decided to accompany me he sort of took control of the trip; he’s a planner and I’m not. Therefore, when we arrived in Lofoten I had done a minimal amount of research and the only things I had to go off of was these photographs I had seen before, and these specific places that I wanted to see because of the views in the pictures.
We flew to Bodø with our bikes and stayed a night there. In the morning we got a ferry that took us to the outer islands of Lofoten. The boat took three hours and the clouds were hanging low over the islands, obscuring them from view for the better part of the ferry ride. When they finally came into sight they were not at all what I had expected. The islands were rough, bare and shoot up into the air. They had this raw feel to them, maybe because they were so steep on all sides, pointing up in a way that seemed to suggest a brutal sort of power. I kept thinking that it looked like they had burst through the ocean – there was nothing gentle about them. And there were so many; I think the number of mountains was the biggest surprise to me. I don’t think that I had any idea of what Lofoten would look like, but I knew that I had imagined, in an abstract way, something very different. But it was entirely breathtaking.
As a a nice contrast to the rough landscape, the ferry docked in the smallest little fishing village. When I came up on deck the smell of fish was instant, and the clouds had retreated to hoover as small hats on top of the mountains. The sun shimmered on the water surface, seagulls cried and the small red rorbuer lay by the shore in neat rows. It was nothing but idyllic, and with the backdrop of such powerful nature I was taken instantly.
We jumped on our bikes and biked to another small village (in Lofoten there are only small villages) called Å. It is the furthest out you can get on the islands, after that the mountains are too steep so they are unsuited even for hiking. The centre of Å was turned into a small museum place, where we could walk through small exhibitions of how people had lived there before it became more reliant on tourism. There were old fishing equipment, an old factory of cod-liver oil (trandamperi in Norwegian) and the old, tiny shop and post office. By the car park stockfish were hanging for drying. All around us were mountains. We had an ice cream, ate some lunch by a small lake, left out bikes by the side of the road and embarked upon our first mountain hike. The trail was muddy and at times very steep, but as we approached the summit the trail suddenly reached a ridge between two peaks and a view of the other side of the mountain appeared before by unexpecting eyes. I actually gasped. Before me I saw a circle of awesome mountains, and in the middle a lake. To my right were more peaks, and to my right the ocean. At the base of the mountain we were hiking up we saw Å from a god perspective. We walked the ridge until the summit, there we sat down with a 360 degree view and a piece of chocolate. It was good.