24th July 2016. Harstad and Andøya, Norway.

Drizzly morning today but we had a lazy start with a wonder round outside which was nice.

Off to the Vesterålen Islands via Harstad and the tourist information office.

The tourist office was closed (as was the whole of Harstad) despite the sign on the tourist office door confirming they should be open!   Every so often another couple of tourists would do as we did, wander confidently up to the door, try to open it, read and re-read the opening times sign, then stand there with a confused look on their face!  Our conspiracy theory was that there was a secret camera set up in the shop to give the locals a laugh!  Nothing seemed to be open in the town and we had no idea what was there so we had a walk round and carried on on our journey.

We followed the SAT NAV down some extremely tiny roads thinking we were travelling round the island when suddenly the road ran out and the SAT NAV said “Now board the ferry”, SURPRISE!

Good call though yummy cake and nice coffee on board and a pretty 20 minute journey.

The road from Flesnes ferry port was a single lane for about 6 km, very pretty with gold/green moss covered rocks on one side and the sea on the other.

We arrived at the bridge over to Andøya and gasped as it look just like the start of a roller coaster, so steep, so high, so stupendous!

We drove to the first of two possible stëllplatz.  It was pretty but we really wanted to be on the other side of the island so continued up to Andenes, which turned out to be a very busy campsite so we kept on driving.

We didn’t expect to see a Space Centre out here!

We stopped briefly at the Kleivodden rasteplass, where we had dinner, then went for a short walk over the rocks.

I’m embarrassed to say that the reason the walk was so short was because we wasted an awful lot of time standing stock still, staring at a ‘rock’ whale before finally deciding that it was actually just the waves that made it look like it was a floating whale!  We felt pretty silly but luckily no one else was there and, fortuitously, just as we started to walk back to the van a seal popped up!  That made us feel a little less silly!


Happily we saw plenty of birds and although we saw the seal bobbing in the sea he was very good at bobbing and kept disappearing leaving me with loads of photos of an expanse of grey sea, it was almost as if he knew exactly when I was pressing the button on the camera!  I was disappointed that there were no whales, it’s the wrong time of year for those it would seem, I now have neck ache from constantly scanning the sea as we’ve driven up the coastline and seen nothing!

We thought about staying the night there but decided to carry on to Bleik as there was a stëllplatz there.

Ooh yuk! BLEAK is more the word, it was a chaotic town, full of higgledy piggledy buildings all huddled together, teeming with people, putting me in mind of an ant hill.  At the entrance to the road along the beach there was a sprawling campsite which was heaving, nice sandy beach though, I think EVERYONE in Norway has just arrived at this tiny village for their holidays.  DEFINITELY not for us.

N.B.  After slating Bleik I later read that it is the oldest village in Norway (but not in a quaint way) and it has a population of 500 people.  Just seeing the 500 people who live there, without the added visitors, would have been more people than we’d seen in one area for a very long time.  Oh wow, how spoiled do I sound!

We continued on, searching for somewhere to stay.  We passed a few parking places but none had a view of the sea and the landscape looked creepy, I kept expecting the Hound of the Baskervilles to appear at any minute, mind you I’d currently be happy for ANY animal to appear!

We eventually came to a huge plain in Skogvoll, not far along the road from Stave, and found a track heading towards the sea so we parked up there overlooking the sea with a couple of houses 500 m or so away. The area was flat moorland with low growing vegetation, small conifers and heather.

We took a flask of coffee and walked down to the sea and sat on the rocks, so peaceful.

On the way back to the van a small bird flew up and scared the living daylights out of me!  Then just as I was recovering two more did the same thing!

It was starting to get dark and at that point we suddenly realised just how far away from the van we were and remembered there were lots of holes dotted along the path on the way up, that focused our minds!

The heron flying overhead cheered me up.

We saw a lovely sunset when we got back to the van and had a very peaceful night.

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