They say that travelling makes one modest, as you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world. The quote truly sums up our experience for the trip – snowstorms and gale, only to be rewarded with sights that we could only dream of.
(PS: This will be a photo-intensive post as no words can give justice to the incredible views we witnessed that day!)
We’ve already visited the more accessible sights and attractions on the Lofoten Islands (and by that, I mean those that didn’t require us to walk more than 3 minutes from where we parked our car). As we weren’t able to hike up the mountains due to the unforgiving weather conditions (plus we weren’t built for the elements there :P), we spent most of the day re-visiting the same places again. To our surprise, the places revisited changed with the weather and we were offered different perspectives.
We first headed to Reine, where a small break in the clouds allowed the sun to shine through.
We then drove to Myrland to snap some pictures of the small, sandy beach where the crashing waves come pounding the coastline. Consistent with our past experiences at numerous beaches on the islands, the clouds and rain descended 10 minutes after our arrival. It was as though, we brought the rain with us wherever we went. We had to head back to our car, the sanctuary.
The rest of the day was spent driving through the snow and rain. We got lucky when we returned to Hamnøy as the clouds cleared enough for us to catch a glimpse of the blue sky.
As it was our last night at the Lofoten islands, we decided to dine at Krambua Restaurant located right beside Eliassen Rorbuer. The restaurant was supposedly one of the best on Lofoten Islands, so it is recommended to make reservations in advance, especially during the peak season. The restaurant is run by a husband and wife team, and the quality of the food was really good!
The owner/chef was really friendly and sociable. Whenever possible, he would chat with his customers while we enjoyed our meals. He told us that the cod fishing industry, while diminishing relative to the other drivers of the economy , was still going strong in Norway. Part of the reason was that they’ve started to export the dried codfish (the heads of the fish only, and not the meat) to Nigeria, as the Nigerians use them to prepare soup stock. Apparently this is really big business in Norway, and is also the reason why the charming fishing villages around the Lofoten Islands are still thriving with fishermen.
We also got to know that after Norway started to export the dried cod fish heads to Nigeria, it resulted in a reduction in wastage. This is because Norwegians didn’t consider the heads of the cod fish to be edible and usually threw them away.
The picture below shows the cod fish heads being dried on one of the many wooden racks (called “hjell”), commonly found on the islands. This one was built right across our Rorbu. Reminds us of salted fish racks, our local spin to this.
The drying process relies on the cold wind and air, and is the world’s oldest known preservation method. We also understand that the dried fish has a storage life of a few years! There is a distinctive smell to it though, very fishy, which attracted plenty of seagulls usually.
After a long day, it was finally time to wind down as we had reached our last night at the Lofoten Islands.
Despite the unpredictable weather, we’ve all fallen in love with this charming little place, with tiny villages right beside mountains that appeared to rise up straight from the ocean. We really hope to visit this wonderful place again in the future! Before we bade goodbye to this place, we even managed to capture the wonderful sunset at the rorbuer, bringing this leg of the trip to a perfect end.