04 June 2019 – 14th June 2019
We caught the early morning ferry at 7am a four hour crossing journey which would take us from the Lofoten Islands to mainland Norway. We think it was the right time to be leaving as there seemed to be a great number of Motorhomes descending on the islands and with the small roads, we have heard that it is horrendous in the few summer weeks and even the local people have started to complain about the influx of people. Obviously very good for the economy but I can fully understand it. It is such a beautiful place. We arrived in Bodo and on the recommendation of some Spanish people that David met, we are taking the FV17 South, it is meant to be the world’s most beautiful journey. The scenic route Helgelandskysten is connected but 6 ferries which we will take, the coast is characterised by a unique archipelago of more the 14000 islands and inlets, surrounded by shallow waters and amazing mountains. Along the way we saw four moose grazing and stopped at Saltstraumen which has the world’s strongest tidal race and described as a spectacular natural phenomenon. Here over the course of 6 hours up to 400 million cubic meters of seawater is pushed through the shallow sound and the water can reach up to 40km/h. Here is one of the world’s best cold water diving sites and 24 square kms has been designated as underwater marine conservation areas. We parked up and went to look at the water, it is rushing so fast with whirl pools in the centre and hundreds of seabirds mainly seagulls swooping down because of all the shoals of fish. There were quite afew people fishing and you could see David’s eyes popping. As soon as people were casting their lines they were catching fish. We made a hasty return to the van, grabbed the fishing rod and off we went. David caught a small pollock which we put back and then it was my turn. I cast out and then said, it’s stuck on the bottom, I was reeling the line with the rod between my legs and suddenly I see a huge goldfish (because it was orange) on the end of my line. David is jumping up and down and I finally land it. It is the biggest fish to date. I felt sorry for it though, but we did keep him as David is yearning for fish & chips. We stayed one more day at this mecca of a fishing spot and the scenery of the beautiful snow capped mountains and the saltstraumen certainly made it a memorable stay. We stopped for lunch the next day looking out onto a beautiful vista of a fjords and blue skies, we sat and had lunch outside and then as we were preparing to leave we saw the most wonderful white tailed eagle fly past at the same height as us. It was a spectacular sight and the phase ‘where’s the camera when you need it !’ Came to mind. We stayed a little longer hoping it would make a return flight and eventually we were lucky it did, but not as close, but this time we got a couple of souvenir photos. We also passed Svartisen, Norway’s second largest glacier located in Meloy. You can take a glacier walk which we would have loved to have done, but not with Chloe in tow. Travelling on the scenic 17 route means using the local ferries to island hop, varying from a 20 minute to a 40 minute journey. It is just like catching a bus here, sadly the weather hasn’t been great and so with low cloud and sometimes rain the beautiful scenery at sea has been limited. It was announced on one ferry to look to our left as there was the point at which we were leaving the Arctic Circle. I felt a little sad, but so, so lucky that we had experienced travelling through it. We stopped at Berg for the night, the morning rain had cleared and out came the sun in the afternoon. The Norwegians just like the Swedish strip off to get all the vitamin D they can in these short summer months, little children running naked in their gardens and me, still with my winter clothes on ! David went fishing and said he wouldn’t be long, 3 hours later with dinner ready I turn to Chloe and say ‘Do you think he has fallen in ?’ I leave Chloe in the van and go and investigate. I can see David on the small getty talking to another man who is fishing, I decide to leave him to come back when his belly is rumbling, which he did. He had met Gordon, a young German guy who had been living in Norway for the last 15 years. David said he was a really nice, who said that he didn’t really need to fish, as his freezer was full of it. But when in Norway, I think this is what most people do in the summer months. He was telling David that everyone makes moonshine at 60% and 90%, we could do with some of this !, but apparently if you are caught it is a prison sentence. There’s obviously no messing about in Norway. Mind you, the reason why alcohol is so expensive, is Norway had an big problem with people drinking and the only way they solved the issue was to make it too expensive to buy and the good thing is, it has worked. Gordon was also looking for a good woman. David asked if it was easy to find a partner (hope he’s not looking !) and Gordon said there’s no problem finding a Friday girl but that he wanted Monday girl, which I thought was really sweet. Now a couple of days later we met Naomi and I wish Gordon could have met her aswell. A match made in heaven I feel. We drove down a very small track, which I am not so nervous about now, as I used to be and came to a little piece of paradise. (Yes, another one !) As we came into the clearing there was a stunning bay with a lovely beach and mountains either side. When we arrived we were the only van, but a little while later a small belingo van came down the track and parked up. A young girl, Naomi from Switzerland was travelling with her dog Nikki, a lovely chocolate Labrador. She was an inspiration; in her mid 20’s she decided before she started her physiotherapist course she wanted to travel to Norway and Sweden. She had looked into renting a Motorhome but lack of funds, resulted in her buying a van and converting it herself. She had recently separated from her boyfriend and I think this was a journey to heal herself. She had travelled to Nordkapp the furthest North you can go in Norway, got a puncture whilst on the way, but nothing phased her. We spent many hours chatting to her, I fed her and thought how she needed a Gordon in her life. We loved it in this little oasis and near the beach was a wooden sculpture of a woman’s torso which commemorated the woman of the island. At this beach the woman came to be on the look out for their loved ones out at sea, when the weather was at it’s worst. There is a small boat landing place on the beach which was a port of refuge which saved the fishermen from rowing round the island. The woman by the coast had golden arms, to protect themselves and their dear ones alike. And sometimes, they crossed themselves in prayer or thanksgiving to an unseen helper. We stayed here 3 days and it was hard to leave, at it always is for me. David had fished, I had walked with Chloe admiring the lush green vegetation, found wild orchids which I was so excited about and marvelled how nature can make the world look so beautiful.