Å (Lofoten) full day
I got up at about 9:30. I wanted a bit more sleep but I also wanted to see something. After breakfast and shower, I got my stuff together and walked outside. I was a little excited. It was snowing, and kind of heavy too. I walked out and got over being out pretty fast. Leading to the stairs to the hostel is a small road which is very steep for the only 3m that it consists of. That was nearly impossible to climb as it was so slippery from ice and snow. I did get up and found snow which had turned to slush about 2cm deep. Yes, it was snowing but I am pretty sure it was above 0C, maybe 3 or something so as soon as the snow hit the ground it melted on top of the other snow that was melting. Made it very wet. By the time I got out onto the road, it was a little easier. I walked in one direction for about 15 metres and then turned around and went the other way for about 5 minutes. That was too long. I was drenched. I didn’t have water proof shoes yet and was wearing jeans as I didn’t have any waterproof of those either. I decided to turn around and wait for the bus which wouldn’t be there for another hour or so. What a bummer. Feeling pretty shitty, I headed back and moped around, waiting for the bus and letting some stuff dry as well.
I really didn’t want to take the bus because you don’t get to see as much plus I would have to wait longer. This meant I kept checking the weather. I got lucky. I was back at the hostel for only half an hour and I looked out and found the snow had stopped. It had never been windy so this meant the only thing I needed to contend with was the water on the floor. Do-able. I grabbed the plastic bags that I had borrowed (and to be never returned) off Johanna and put them over my socks and then my shoes. I don’t know if I mentioned that last time but they were bags that were made to put over socks like that. Doesn’t protect your shoes but at least it protects your feet from getting wet. When I was tagged and bagged, I headed out. It was great weather all of a sudden. Ok, great weather means not raining or snowing. I can even deal with a lot of wind and cloud. I started walking back towards Moskenes. The road follows the coast all the way round and as there had been a huge amount of snow during the night (there wasn’t any when I arrived the night before), all the mountains just looked fantastic. I think it was the fact that 15 minutes before, I thought I wasn’t going to see anything that day, but I was in a great mood and the mountains and the…. AARGRHHGAJGHAWD I have no words to describe. The town of Å sits on a bit of a peninsular that sticks out into the ocean, surrounded by mountains so it was just perfect for photos. Not just photos but for looking at as well. The road wasn’t too bad to walk on so I was about to walk from town to town easily. When I say town to town, there is just buildings all along the coast everywhere they can find no mountain. (and even then….) Every time there is a mountain in the way of buildings, they call the buildings on the other side a town. So the populations of these places in like 60 average. And they are all really stunning with mountains and ocean and lakes and snow and trees with no leaves and I AM THERE!
I walked along for about an hour before I caught the bus I was going to catch anyway. It took me all the way past Moskenes and to the biggest town on this part of Lofoten which is called Reine (I keep wanting to call it Rhine). I asked the bus driver to drop me off where the ferry around Reinefjord leaves from. He was very helpful and directed me right to it. I walked down to the area he told me it would leave, just so I didn’t have to worry about that later and yes, it was very easy to find. I had a while to wait for the ferry. I think it was about 1:30 when I arrived to the ferry place and it didn’t leave until 3. I decided to just have a look around and see what I could find in this largest of all the small hamlets where the people of the islands lived. There really wasn’t much. I had a look around and found what I think is a ‘hotel’ made up of lots of cabins on the water’s edge. This area was nice I guess. Completely deserted as it was winter but with the snow and the wooden ‘docks’ going out a little way into the water. Dammit.. What are those things called. Not docks. Umm…. Argh.. Will come to me at 7 in the morning I bet… Anyway, after walking there for a while, I went to one of the only places that appeared open which was a cafe to see if I coud find out from them about the ferry, see if they thought the departure time was the same as the bus driver said. I bought a coffee and sat down for a bit. I could feel my feet were damn wet but I didn’t want to take my shoes off in a nice little cafe. They didn’t deserve that kind of treatment. I stayed for about half an hour I guess, a bit longer actually.
Across the road was a Statoil (service station). I went in after walking through a large and somewhat deep puddle that was cleverly disguised with snow on top. I could feel my feet getting a little wet so I wanted to rearrange my plastic bags. JETTY!!! Such a boring word but that was the one I was trying to find.
I asked the lady that worked there if she was ok with me just taking shelter there for a bit while I waited for the ferry and she said it was fine. I got my shoes off and walked around for a bit. It was pretty nice being about to feel my feet again 🙂 Nah it wasn’t that bad, I could always feel my feet. I bought some supplies while I was there. This was probably the only opportunity that I would get to buy food. I asked for some more plastic bags as well. The originals had giant holes in them that I could fit my entire foot through so they were not quite as effective as they were a couple of hours earlier. Still, I used both sets which made it all pretty waterproof. It was getting pretty tight in my shoe but no (new) water was going to get in.
I left the Statoil and walked to the place the ferry would leave from. I got there about 10 minutes before it left and the guys welcomed me on. It was only a small thing. Like a small fishing boat and I stood outside, on the ‘deck’. We set off and it wasn’t all that cold. The bits that were exposed were pretty chilly but definitely bearable. Any amount of cold I was experiencing was made obsolete by the view. It was just stunning. The sun had gone, well actually it was never there but it was pretty much dark but not quite. It was still light enough so that I could see the mountains clearly. There were these huge things coming out of water and straight up out of the rivers that sat below them. Every now and then there was a small hut, a wooden shack, that people live in sometimes. Usually during summer. We went about half an hour in one direction, to the end of the fjord, stopping at a couple of places along the way before turning around and coming back. We went via a different fjord within that fjord but by this time it was very hard to see much. Well, no, I could see but it was beyond taking photos. The snow really helps to lighten everything up. It reflects so well that even when you shouldn’t be able to see anything it just makes everything illuminated. The thing is people kept saying “oh your an idiot, you’re not going see anything. It’s too dark. Come back in summer. Blah blah blah”. Well I say stuff them. It was stunning and I don’t regret being there at the ‘wrong’ time of year one bit.
When the ferry ride finished, I jumped off and went back to the Statoil. That is where the bus would leave from in an hour or so. Stood around and chatted with the service attendant lady as she had as little as I did to do. When the bus arrived, I left and got back to the hostel.
For dinner, I had pasta and eggs (a new classic) and started talking to some Asian girls. The only other people at the hostel. They were living in Spain, had been there for a couple of years and they could both speak really good English. So with Spanish, English and their native Chinese (pretty sure it was Mandarin) I think they could communicate with like 80% of the people on this Earth. So cool. I wanted to go to bed early as I had an early bus the next day.
Side note: I started writing this post about 2 weeks ago. It is now just before xmas and I am in London. I have about 3 weeks to catch up on. Wish me luck…