Bodø to the Lofoten Islands (Part 1)

We’ve had a request for another map “for the geographically challenged”. Quite strangely, my ‘phone has just decided to become “which way is up?” challenged, for which I can only apologise…. (I can’t start unfolding the map again as a hungry Mark has now taken possession of the table 😉). Here’s the big picture:

… and here’s where we’ve been since the last post.

Mark was disappointed with Bodø, whereas I thought it was quite nice.

The centre of Bodø reminded me a bit of Reykjavik. I think it was just the combination of colourful nordic-style buildings and tall modern glass structures along the waterfront…

The story of Mark’s previous visit to Bodø is that many years ago, whilst he was still working for British Antarctic Survey, the ship docked at Bodø. A bunch of blokes then escaped the ship, presumably after quite some time at sea, crossed the road and entered a bar, where they managed to exchange a bottle of spirits from the ship for a generous quantity of beer. Being realistic about it, Bodø the second time around was never going to live up to the memory…..

Continuing on our way Northward, we passed through more awesome scenery, took another (longer) ferry crossing, and found another great little free camping spot:

Up around Narvik we came across a memorial commemmorating the Battle of Narvik in 1940:

Here’s Mark trying to get a picture of a moose (which is an elk here)… if you zoom in you can just see it peeping back at him through the foliage…

Then it was time to cross the bridge over to the Lofoten Islands:

The scenery here is, if anything, even more stunning 😃 Here we are by the free fettlings (the Kampington term for a motorhome service point) at a little place called Borkenes:

On our first full day driving round the Lofotens, we discovered The Baltic Sea Circle. We must’ve seen hundreds (I’m not exaggerating) of German cars coming the other way, all sporting the same big round sticker:

Eventually, we saw some of them stopped in a car park and just had to pull in for a nosey. It’s “the World’s most Northerly adventure rally”, starting in Hamburg and promising “7500km, 10 countries, 16 days, in an awesome car older than 20 years. No GPS. No motorways”. Helpfully, some also had stickers showing the route:

There was a lot of “team this that & the other” on the vehicles, so we suspect people do this as a charity trip. One entry that really stood out, particularly having seen the Narvik memorial the other day (and Norway really not being short of signs pointing to the local “Krigsminne”) was the German car from “Team Stacheldraht”. Oh dear. About as appropriate as Prince Harry at a fancy dress party….. (Stacheldraht is barbed wire).

We’ve driven first up to Andenes on the very Northern tip of the Lofotens. We had an interesting moment on the way here: is that a bridge ahead of us or a half-finished ramp into the fjord?

Thankfully, it turned out to be a bridge! After a brief stop at a supermarket with a sense of humour, we continued up to Andenes.

Andenes is on a flat windswept plateau, but is a very pretty place and the most touristy we’ve been to so far, offering whale-watching and puffin-watching trips, museums, cafés and the like.

We’ve had a good wander round. The Sun’s lovely if you can find a sheltered spot, but there’s a bitingly cold wind. Sat back in Kampington having our dinner, though, it’s easy to pretend that it’s a good 15 degrees warmer out there than our pile of coats and hats suggests…… Whilst I’ve been writing this, Mark’s been busying himself with the Coop Special Offers leaflet. We’ll leave you with Mark’s pick for non-bargain of the day (reminder: there are just over 10 NOK to the £):