Thursday, 25 April 2013

All Change...

I mentioned before that Bodø is the end of the train line, so now my mode of transport would need to shift to the sea! I spent the morning on the 'Gamle (old) Salten', but my trusty vessel for the next leg of the journey would be her younger (but not smaller) sister.

Torghatten Nord operate ferries and express boats throughout Norway's coastline. The Salten serves the Bodø to Svolvær express route. This crossing gets busy in summer, so it's advisable to book in advance. Yesterday I had ample space to stretch my sea legs and try to get pictures through sprayed-up windows. The scenery on the trip was amazing, but there's no 'above deck' area. To be quite honest, the boat's not hanging about and I don't fancy man-overboard drills in the Arctic Circle, so no outside area is fair enough.

The express boat's route links many isolated communities to civilisation. I saw plenty of passengers who had just popped into town on the boat for a bit of shopping! The voyage was similar to visiting the Small Isles off Scotland's west coast, only the the isles had become Big instead.

The journey takes 3hrs 50mins - there's a reasonably priced cafe-kiosk on board and the views keep getting better and better. The final leg involves crossing Vestfjord. There were plenty of big rollers, and the sea was calm (for here) yesterday. I've spent plenty of time on boats, but seriously, walking was a struggle. I'd not drunk anything either.

The famous Lofoten wall crept closer and closer, until after a final stop at the tiny island settlement of Skrova we reached Svolvær, Capital of the Lofoten.

Fishing is in the heart of this town - there's a rack of fish drying just outside my front door right now. I wasn't sure how the mixture of traditional buildings and modern fish plants would work, but it all sits together pretty easily. The backdrop plays its part too. As a climber, I've always wanted to visit here! Lofoten is famous all over the world for its sheer granite cliffs, rising straight out of the sea.

Last night however was not about climbing - I'd been up since 5am, and I took the photo above at 11pm on my way into the Bryggebaren pub. I couldn't choose between beer and bed, but seeing as it barely got dark last night and I was doing a little 'urban' camping, the beer won. Turns out, not all things change!

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