28th July 2016. Eggum, Lofoten Islands, Norway.

We were woken early this morning by some little blighters doing what sounded like a clog dance on the roof of the van so we decided to make the most of the situation and drive down to Henningsvær immediately to beat the traffic on the narrow road.

We’d been watching the cars, motorhomes and coaches coming and going the previous day and we weren’t sure what the parking would be like.

We drove down to the town and parked without a problem, there were a number of motorhomers who’d parked there overnight and a couple that left as we arrived.  We made breakfast and washed and dressed then wandered into the town.

It is a very pretty town, I can completely understand why it’s so popular.

We had a stroll to the far end of the islands.   Although the car park had started to fill up as we left our van it was very quiet away from the town centre.

At one end, just before the lighthouse, there were a lot of fish racks.  We walked between them and came to a football field which had a very green pitch, as we walked across the grass it scrunched beneath our feet, it sounded like we were walking on virgin snow (it sounded so good I video’d Darren as he walked across it).  We were surprised to discover the pitch was actually astro turf!  I wonder whether they roll it up at the end of the season to protect it from the snow.

Dotted around the town we saw some great murals on the walls of buildings.

We had intended going to the restaurant that the biker lady had recommended for our lunch but when we got there the waitress told us that they’d run out of anything veggie and the bean stew they were making wouldn’t be ready until 3 o’clock, it was only 12 o’clock so we had coffee and cake instead and Darren came up with the idea of going on to the Viking Museum in Borg, which was not far from our next stop over.

There was a lot more stopping and starting as we drove back up the single track road from Henningsvær but as it was such a beautiful journey it was nice to do it slowly.  The sea was so blue and there were swathes of multi-coloured wildflowers which looked stunning.

I am so pleased that we went to the Viking Museum, it was brilliant, the only thing I regret is not having our boys with us, they would have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

We decided to do the boat trip on the replica Viking long boat first because the weather was nice and we’d discovered that can change quickly.

The lake was a very long way away from the main building down a steep hill.  As we walked down the hill we watched a family walking towards us, the parents were striding ahead and their two boys were holding hands, the older one was ‘towing’ the younger one up the hill and they both had extremely miserable looks on their faces.  We assumed they weren’t enjoying the museum but after we got down to the boat we discovered that it only sails on the hour and it looked as though they’d missed the previous trip and their parents weren’t prepared to sit around waiting for the next trip.  I expect the rest of the day was truly miserable for the poor parents!

While we were waiting we saw a dad put the life jackets on his two little boys, they walked around in them for about 10 minutes then he made them put them back in the shed and marched them back up the hill again, I bet his life was miserable for the rest of the afternoon too!

A lady and her son had been waiting patiently with us for 40 minutes and then a big group of people all arrived at once, we assume they’d read the sailing times, unlike us.  As we went to board the boat it looked as though we’d all have to sit at the back of the boat behind the sail but Darren noticed that the lady and her son had climbed in the front and he managed to manoeuver us under the  wooden thingy (boom?) of the sail and on to the other two seats at the front.  I’m glad we sat there, we had a nice chat with the lady and her son.

They were from Tromsø and on a camping holiday.  They suggested going to Nusfjord and Å.  The lady’s son was very interesting, I mentioned that we’d noticed in the Northern Vesterålen Islands the mountains were rounded rather than jagged as they were in other areas and he said the ice had smoothed them as the glacier had moved along.  He asked the man who was manning the sail why there were lots of bits of rope hanging off the front of the sail, we hadn’t even noticed, and he was told that there was more rope behind the sail and they used it to make the sail larger or smaller.  We heard his mum say something in Norwegian to the man and Darren thought she’d asked him to tell us about the boat in English, which is very thoughtful but we’ll never know for sure.

The boat trip was fun and interesting, I saw two fish jump high out of the water as we were sailing along. On our way back up the hill we stopped and bought a pancake which was filled with cheese, whole hazelnuts and shredded vegetables, it was very tasty, we sat and ate it in the sun and watched some children having the time of their lives playing on one of the games that was set up, they were balancing on a log and trying to knock each other off with a sack.

There were craftsmen working in authentic buildings too.

Back at the centre we walked through the Chieftain’s Long House which was huge and there was a rich smell of the wood it was made from.  There were some beautiful, intricate carvings in it.  We watched one lady dressed in the clothes of the time doing some carving and there were others also dressed in authentic clothing weaving, making footwear and cooking.

Outside the Long House they had ancient breed animals.

In the distance we could see a snazzy church.

After we’d visited the Long House we went into the exhibition which was very high tech.

We were given headphones and an audio player which was a small silver cylinder that you pointed at a button and it would translate what the people were saying in the clips they were playing, this also gave you information about items in the display cases and had an English translation to the film about a Viking who travelled to Iceland and set up his farm there.  We stayed at the Centre for 31/2 hours then drove to the rasteplass at Eggum Nature Reserve.

It was a beautiful area down a single track lane with mountains and moorland on one side and the sea on the other, the only downside was that it was extremely busy because it was a beauty spot and had a WWII stone ruin up on the hill.

We parked overlooking the sea and rocky beach.

In the evening we went for a walk and found a large lake that we couldn’t see from the car park, which had mountains towering over it, one of them still had a little snow on it.

Now and again the silence was broken by a fish jumping out of the water or a sheep baa’ing.  Just off the path was stone monument.

We walked further along the coast path and came to a head sculpture on a pedestal.  It was superb and was actually just a number of indentations on the rock however from one angle it seemed as thought the head looked forward and from the other side the head looked as though it was upside down.  * We discovered later that it was part of Artscape Nordland and was a piece called ‘Head’ by artist Markus Raetz, 1992.

As we walked back to the van we saw a sheep grazing beside the path then we noticed to other slightly smaller sheep hurtling towards her and so did she, if sheep could sigh I’m sure she would have, in a second their heads had disappeared under her and they started feeding, their little tails wiggling with pleasure, she stood there for a moment, baa’ed and walked off leaving them standing with their bottoms in the air and a look of disappointment on their faces.

As we walked back to the van the sun was starting to go down and we saw a gorgeous sunset turning the mountains red.

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