29th July 2016. Å, Lofoten Islands, Norway.

We left early this morning because the road we were leaving on was very narrow and had been very busy yesterday so we thought we’d beat the traffic.

It was lovely, so peaceful, consequently we got to see herons flying around the nature reserve and a few fish jumping.  The added bonus was that we were able to stop so that I could take some quick photos.

About halfway to Å we had to slow down to drive round some sheep who were lying in the road which was fortuitous because just round the corner was a great place to stop beside the fjord.

We had breakfast there looking over the water (the sheep popped up and looked in the door but as I was about to take a photograph someone pulled up in a car behind us and they ran off).

There was a wide waterfall nearby which looked like wide sheets of smooth grey slate rather than the usual rough rocky waterfalls.

After breakfast we followed the road through a village near Stromnes which was full of empty fish racks and beautiful white sandy beaches.  There was a faint smell of fish in the air, I should think it really ‘hums’ when the racks are covered in drying fish.

Just along the coast from Hamnøy we drove through an AMAZING ‘tunnel’, I’ve never seen anything like it before, the side nearest the sea had pillars so you could see out, what a great idea.

We had learned there was a filling and emptying point along the route so we decided we should fill and empty before we got to our stopover, to be prepared.  Unfortunately after Darren turned into the supposed filling point we discovered that not only did it not exist but the narrow area was also very steep with the added bonus of a drop off into the sea!  I’ve no idea how Darren was able to get the van out of there without having to reverse out on to the road, he’s amazing at manoeuvring it.

We had been told by a few people that the Lofoten Islands were very busy and the young boy at the Viking Centre had told us we must expect to queue on the roads nearer Å.

It hadn’t been anywhere near as busy as it would be at home so we’d just poo poo’d it but as we came to one village we timed it just wrong.  A coach had just opened its doors and about fifty people spilled out and ran all over the bridge taking photographs of the village while cars were trying to drive past them.  When the traffic lights changed our line of traffic had to wait while the last cars coming through squeezed past the coach party (even then it still wasn’t anywhere near as busy as it often is on the roads at home).

We were very pleased that we were now ahead of the coach and decided to make a whistle stop at Sakrisøy (the village we could see in the distance) so that we could leave before the coach arrived and blocked us in the small car park

We pulled into Sakrisøy to take a few photos.  The scenery was stunningly beautiful.

We had been hoping to have a coffee here but as we were trying to beat the imminent tsunami of tourists (tourists, us, never!) we hoped we’d find a coffee shop along the remaining route and fortuitously we did, not far from Å as it happens.

When we arrived at Å (the hitchhiker at Henningsvær told us it’s pronounced O like the ‘O’ in box) we weren’t sure that we were going the correct way to the ställplats because the narrow road was full of people milling everywhere.

Darren drove very slowly round the bend to avoid running people over until he came to a complete stop and as I looked out of his window I was astonished to see the lady and her son whom we’d spoken to at the Viking Centre.  We had a quick chat as we weren’t going to be going anywhere in a hurry and her son kindly told us that there was a car park back up the road we’d just driven down however we were committed now, there was no turning back, literally!  We had to hope that the campsite was down this road and that the SAT NAV wasn’t having a laugh at our expense.

We carried on driving down an even narrower lane until we stumbled across the site.  There was no one in reception so Darren opened the barrier and we drove in and found a place to stay in the tiny site.

We parked with the cliff behind us, facing the sea, then we went for a walk into the fishing village.

As we walked down to the harbour wall we bumped into the Norwegian lady again and I took the opportunity to ask her whether she had asked the man on the boat to give us a commentary, she said she had so I was pleased to be able to tell her how much we’d appreciated her thoughtful gesture.  Again she suggested we went to Nusfjord, so we’ve decided to go there on our way to Svolvær to catch the ferry.

After her son had returned they carried on with their outing.  Not long after they’d left we were unexpectedly entertained when we witnessed a cat and dog having a ‘word’!  The cat made his displeasure VERY evident.

Once the lady had dragged her dog away from the altercation and probability of an humiliating beating from the cat, we walked down to the end of the harbour wall and sat there in the sun for ages watching boats coming and going and fish swimming around.  Å is a tiny, but very pretty, fishing village and it was WELL worth travelling down to see it.

We had a momentary lapse of memory having vowed we wouldn’t be eating in any more restaurants in Norway.  So far everywhere we’ve been has been very expensive and the food has been nondescript unlike most of the meals we had in Sweden which were very good and a fraction of the price.

We went into the harbour restaurant to see if we could finally find somewhere to have a nice meal to celebrate our wedding anniversary.   We couldn’t find any staff in the restaurant even though it didn’t close for another hour.  It’s a shame we didn’t give up while the going was good, instead we persevered when the lady on the front desk told us that the restaurant was definitely open and directed us back through a door inside the building.

They were only doing burgers for lunchtime so bang went any idea of a fancy meal.  Darren chose a fish burger, as we were in a fishing village he assumed it would be fresh and homemade.  They had run out of the vegetarian burgers so they offered me pasta from the à la carte menu.  My meal was actually very tasty but Darren’s tasted watery as though it had come out of the freezer and he said he’d had better fish in a McDonald’s fish burger, that’s a fail then!  Yet another expensive failure.  It came to the equivalent of almost £20 each.

As we hadn’t had pudding we went into the village bakery, where all the bread is made in the shop, to buy something sweet.  It was rather late in the afternoon and she only had roisin bolles left (fruit buns with very few raisins in them) so we bought a couple of those, they cost almost £6 for 2 but at least she’d put a lot of effort into making them.   We ate those VERY slowly to savour every last mouthful.

When we finally returned to the van a lot lighter in pocket I started doing the washing, it seems to have become a habit to always leave it until the last moment so that it’s a race against time to dry it!  I’d put the clothes horse up on the drivers side of the van where the sun was because there was no one parked there and we had neighbours on the other side of the van so I didn’t want to inflict the sight of our drying underwear on them.

Just as I was about to hang up the first load of washing a Swedish van parked beside us so Darren and I tried to work out which way the sun would be moving so I could move the clothes horse out of their way.  The lady got out of the van and said she was confused and wondered what we were doing.  When we explained what we were trying to work out she told us that they didn’t mind the washing there at all.  We moved it anyway but when the sun moved it ended up in the shade so she came over and said she meant it when she said they didn’t mind and they were going out for a walk, such kind thing to say.

Later in the evening Darren had a long chat with the Swedish man.  They were from Gotland and apparently usually had their holidays in the mountain in ski huts which were cheaper in the Summer, they went there on their motorbikes, but they’d decided to rent a motorhome this time.  He was in the process of putting up an extremely tall TV aerial about 4 metres high, I told him we were most impressed with his mountaineering skills as he clambered up the cliff to attach two anchor ropes to keep it in place.  He said he didn’t want it falling on our van.  We completely agreed with him!

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