8/26: Today we awoke to a VERY gray and rainy day, completely opposite of the gorgeous day before. In other words, a perfect day for hitting the road and getting some much needed miles in. Norway is one LONG country! We made our way North, but stopped in Mo i Rana along the way to visit the Gronligrotta cave. It is one of the largest caves in Norway and the only one that has electric lighting throughout the tour. A fantastic activity for a rainy day! Saw some interesting sites, including a river running through the cave. Then we made our way very close to the Arctic circle to stay in a cabin in Bolna, just South of Saltfjellet (Salt Mountain). The cabin we stayed in was part of the Norwegian Hiking Organization. They have cabins in the wilderness all throughout Norway and anyone can stop and sleep in them for a small fee.
Watch for trolls!
We made it out of the cave!
Greetings from the Polar Circle!!
Scott amidst the cairns
Our cozy little cabin
Hangin' with polar bears at the arctic circle
Short walk to the river.
Our lunch spot
8/27-8/29: Left the lovely cabin in Bolna, made a pit stop at the Arctic circle, saw lots of reindeer, and then we were on our way to Bodo. Must say that it was a very rainy visit. Anne and Stig had a work conference to attend in Bodo, so Scott and Lotta and I rented a cabin of our own and did some exploring. The weather was not great but we made the most of it. Got a nice run in, perfectly timed between 2 large rain storms. We also took a drive to visit the Saltstraumen, a small strait with the strongest tidal current in the world. Per Wikipedia: up to 400,000,000 cubic meters of sea water forces its way through a 3 km long and 150 meter wide strait every 6 hours, with water speeds reaching 25mph. Whirl pools form up to 33 feet in diameter and 16 feet in depth when the current is at its strongest!!! Pretty crazy!! We also paid a visit to Bodo's local indoor pool/mini water park. Had a great time lounging in the jacuzzi and racing down the water slide. Just us and the locals!
Bridge overlooking the Saultstraumen!
Hard to see the whirl pools from here... but if you look real close!
8/29: Today we head to the much awaited Lofoten Islands. We rode the ferry to Moskenes and then drove to Anne and Stig's home in Stamsund. Was quite the sight coming into the harbor, all the mountains were dark and gray from the storm and they appeared like something out of Jurassic Park! The next 4 nights were a culinary delight with the master chef, Stig. He started us out with the famous Norwegian pizza, Grandiosa! Quite the experience!
View of Lofoten Islands (I did not take this picture...since I did not travel via helicopter!)
View riding in on the ferry.
Another view from the ferry.
8/30: Today we slept in and awoke to a beautiful sunny day. Our adventure of the day was hiking Offersoykammen- aka Ridge on Sacrifice Island! Was a gorgeous hike and I was especially grateful to make it to the top! We also visited some of the small fishing villages around Anne and Stig's town. Then Stig prepared an exquisite leg of lamb with an array of some interesting roots and fried forest mushrooms, picked by Stig on our hike! Scott and I were very impressed!
Made it to the top of this one! Success!
Group shot @ the top!
Lots of the water around Lofoten was this gorgeous turquoise color. Very inviting... but, don't be fooled--- too cold for a swim!!!
Visiting a harbor near Anne and Stig's home.
Our wonderful hosts with the leg of lamb!
Ready for the feast!!!
8/31: Another gorgeous, sunny day on the islands. Today we set off to visit the town of Reine and hike Reinebringen- described in many guide books of the area as the most iconic view of the Lofoten Islands. It was another steep, straight up the mountain kind of hike! Scott kept joking that the Norwegian version of a switch back was a rope hanging down off the mountain! I had a few moments of almost panicking and wanting to turn around... and then... we met the most adorable 85 year old man climbing down the mountain! He was quite chatty and it turned out he had lived in Redondo Beach for 4.5 years when he was younger. Well, that was enough to motivate me to the top!!! Of course, stunning views and a delicious picnic of fresh bread with brown cheese! Stopped in Reine for a little exploring on the way home and had some soft ice (Norwegian soft serve). For dinner, whale steaks grilled by Stig! We were also invited to a party/BBQ at a friend of Anne and Stig's. Met some really nice people and had some good chats about life and travel.
View of the town of Reine.
Up, up, up and away!
View looking down @ Reine.
Something about this hike reminded me of Hana in Maui.
Fish heads that are left over from drying the cod during the winter. They only sell the bodies in Norway. The heads go somewhere else... Africa maybe??
9/1: Our last day and last hike in Lofoten- Hoven, a mountain shaped like a horse hoof! Great hike with nice views of the ocean and fjords. We stopped and had lunch at a gorgeous beach (Rorvik) and then visited the town of Henningsvaer- an old, little fishing town. Then we stopped by Anne and Stig's new house (they are moving in at the end of September) in Eltoft at Steinfjord. Their new house is close to a famous surfing beach, Unstad, so we visited there too. Very unique to see a surfing beach right at the bottom of all these small farms and in between mountains! For dinner... the much awaited lutefisk with mushy peas + bacon + akevit (special Norwegian alcohol made especially for drinking with lutefisk) + cloud berries/whipped cream for dessert. Lutefisk is definitely one of the most unusual things we have ever eaten! It involves taking the previously dried atlantic cod, soaking it in lye and water several times, then heavily salting it to draw out that water, and then baking it in the oven. Strange but wonderful! You will have to try it for yourself to understand : )
Quail on our last hike!
the horse hoof hike
mushroom hunting man
Lotta giving free rides up the horse's hoof to a 4 year old.
The guide book said this hike is suitable for your grandparents. Perhaps Norwegian grandparents! Would you take your grandparents to such great heights?!?
This awesome mirror sculpture!
Rorvik beach- popular post card image.
Wooden stands for drying the cod
Henningsvaer- fishing town.
Cool graffiti- it says "In Cod we Trust".
The last supper: lutefisk and akevit for dinner
9/2: Scott and I say goodbye to Anne and Stig and Lotta and the Lofoten Islands and return back to Denmark. Was such a wonderful trip and we were really sad to say goodbye! Hope to see our favorite mountain loving friends + one more next June! And we hope for more fun adventures to come! Colorado is next on the list!
Saying goodbye as we ride the ferry to Bodo to catch the plane home.
Farewell Norway! Until we meet again...
Overview of our journey: 2400 KM or 1491 miles of gorgeous Norway!!! Connect the dots to follow our journey :)
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