Lofoten to Tromsø
Got up at 5:00…… 5:00am. What must be done, must be done. I had to catch a bus at about 6:30. When I left the hostel and stepped outside, there was no ice! In fact, it was clear sky. I might have missed some Northern lights… Unfortunately, the no ice was just an illusion and when I attempted to started walking up, I slid back down. I had to walk up the edge where there was grass and more grip. Took me about 15 minutes to get 40 meters but still made the bus which took me to a place called Lekenes. When I got on, I got several funny looks. It was a school bus essentially and all the kids were turning around in their seats looking at the strange big person wearing lots of clothing two large backpacks. When the bus arrived, it dropped me off out the front of a school. Still more looks. Stupid tourist. The next bus arrived and I got nowhere near as many looks.
I sat down and started heading to Narvik. The bus ride was pretty nice as well although I did my fair share of sleeping. Actually the ride was amazing. It was 7 hours of mountains and snow and rivers and then sun came up (well, light made its way above the horizon. Not the sun itself.) I am in love with this place. Just breathtaking.
I wasn’t 100% sure when the bus would arrive but I had written it down on my computer and as we pulled into a small nothing town not called Narvik, I was pulling my laptop out. I opened the file I had saved it in and realised that it was the exact time we were to arrive but I wasn’t in Narvik. I figured we were just late and I could see a large town just across the lake. As we pulled away from the stop, about 30 seconds later, we drove past the bus that said Tromsø on the front. Sorry, Tromsø was my final destination and I was needing to transfer buses. I ran up to the driver and asked him if that was the bus to Tromsø (don’t ask me why I did that) and he said yes. I then said I needed that bus and asked him to pull over. Unfortunately, we were halfway up a hill and couldn’t pull over for a bit too long. We did get to pull over and I got my luggage out. This was the first time I had ever tried to hitch hike. I knew I had about 10 minutes to get back to the last town because it turns out that was the stop I needed and not Narvik itself. A couple of cars went past before I decided to just try running. Come to think about it, I would have been a very funny sight. Some guy running in crap shoes, with a huge backpack and jeans and chucking his thumb out every now and then. Needless to say, I didn’t either get a lift nor did I make it back in 10 minutes. It took me 25. To far. I honestly thought I was stuck. I thought there would only be one, maybe 2 buses a day going through meaning I would have to stay plus I would be mucking my host around. Was feeling pretty shit on that long walk back. I thought they would have somewhere to stay at the service station where we had stopped or at least something in the other 50 buildings that made the town. I got back to the town and asked at the place we had stopped.
Luck had not bailed on me completely yet. There was another bus in two hours. There was only 3 buses that day. One in the early morning, one that I just missed which left at 2:30 something and then one that one random one that I was about to catch in a couple of hours. So lucky… I sat in the station using some free internet they happened to have in a nice warm place. I messaged my host telling her I have successfully missed my bus and I would be a bit late. The view was pretty good as well. I walked outside for just a couple of minutes to take photos of what I thought might have been Narvik across the lake with mountains in the background. As soon as I left the warmth of the room, the air in my lungs froze. It was seriously cold. I mean, I can’t even guess. Just cold. Freezing. Bitterly cold. It hurt to inhale and a blessing to exhale. I got my shots and went back and breathed again. I am pretty sure that Narvik is somewhat inland and without the lake there would have been no water to keep the area ‘temperate’.
The bus arrived just like it should have and I was soo happy. I had a nagging feeling in my head that the bus timetable on the wall was just a figment of my imagination and I kept getting up from my seat and checking it as if it would change. I just had a pretty funny thought actually. All the people in the cafe are probably looking at me strangely but a great joke for the staff at the service station I was waiting at would have been if they had taken the timetable down while I wasn’t looking and then I go and check it again and it was no longer there. I would have freaked out completely and maybe just jumped in the lake. Maybe not that dramatic but still would have been funny for them.
Anyway, I got on the bus and it took me to Tromsø like I wanted. It was another 3 and a bit hours I think. When it arrived in Tromsø, I had to catch a bus to Irene’s. She was my host. Took me a little while to find where that bus left from. Irene had not told me the final stop and only told me the stop I needed to get off at, so therefore no one I spoke to knew where the bus left from. I did find it eventually and I got on and the driver told me where I needed to get off. I followed the instructions that Irene had given me which included climbing a snow covered street on a hill. This was a little difficult due to crappy shoes. I arrived at Irene’s at about 8:15. So that is about 14 hours travel. Fun times. I guess it was pretty awesome for 9 of those hours when I was awake and looking out the window at mountains. The other 5 when I was asleep or waiting at a service station weren’t so great.
Irene had a friend over and they had just finished eating dinner but offered me what they had left. I couldn’t say no. We sat around for a while chatting. I am not sure how long but I think maybe 11:00. That was something of an epic day.