“Did you ever go to a place . . . I think it was called Norway?” “No,” said Arthur, “no, I didn’t.” “Pity,” said Slartibartfast, “that was one of mine. Won an award, you know. Lovely crinkly edges” – Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Travelling on from Reine to the north coast of the islands, we hiked to Kvalvika beach under leaden skies for the first time since our arrival in Lofoten.
The beach was every bit as stunning as we expected, however it was too cold to camp with the equipment that we had.
So we set off for the sunny south coast…
…past some very Norwegian houses in Fredvang…
…and white, sandy beaches, such as Ramberg…
…finally arriving at Stamsund. The only thing we knew about the place was that there is a hostel there run by a slightly eccentric, old fisherman. We immediately felt at ease and decided to linger an extra day; reading on the deck of the hostel (the yellow buildings on the left), cooking in the ramshackle communal kitchen, chatting to other, fresh-faced travellers, and hiking up some nearby peaks.
The views from such peaks were quite astounding…
…even the ones with Roger eating an apple in the foreground.
Moving on to our final Lofoten destination, Kabelvåg, we found the weather closing in once again. Although it was a lovely, scenic small town, we hid from the elements for most of our time there – even in spite of the first evidence of nightlife we’d seen in Lofoten:
Travelling in truly viking style (from the look of the bus company’s logo at least), we set off for lands further north than either of us have ever been before!
Even when viewed from the bus, it could clearly be seen that Slartibartfast’s “crinkly edges” were worthy of their award.
We also saw some classic advertising along the way.
After a near full day on buses, we arrived in the “Paris of the North” – Tromsø. At 69.7˚N and 350km above the Arctic Circle, we were deep in the land of the midnight sun.
Although far bigger than anywhere we’d been on this trip, Tromsø had a charming, spacious feel to it. The locals were very approachable too, as has been the case throughout.
We were delighted to see Sami language on several signs around the city.
Norway certainly exceeded expectations in terms of the vast, mountainous landscapes; tiny, remote fishing villages and the friendly, fuss-free attitude of the locals. It only feels like we’ve scratched the surface too.
Having reached such northern heights, the time has come to head across the border, to Finnish Lapland.