Woohoo….today we were up, fed and out the door on schedule at 9:15.
Just after we finished eating, my 2nd cousin Hans-Christian came to the door. He’s the guy who owns the island, Tørnholmen, which is located a couple of hundred yards off the Stamsund docks. He arrived by Hurtigruten from Bodø (lives in Oslo) last night and was on his way to catch the bus to Leknes to pick up his car at the airport. Instead, he stayed and had a coffee with us and then we gave him a ride. We’ll catch up with him again and his father, Harald, arrives on Sunday evening.
Weather report: grey and raining all day. It is what it is and, regardless of the weather, it’s all good.
So, off to Reine. I had thought that we might catch the ferry to Bunes beach, but there wasn’t much point. A large part of being anywhere around here is clearly seeing the surrounding mountains, etc. and the weather today totally prevented that. Besides, after taking the ferry, it involves a 2.5 km hike to the beach. I had no interest in doing that in the rain. I suppose I’m a bit of a fair weather photographer.
The first stop along the way was at the Flakstad church, on Flakstadøya (Flakstad Island). It’s never been open when I’ve been there before, but this time it was. I spoke with the women who was there to welcome people and she told me that it’s not usually open, but she was expecting a couple of buses from one of the cruise ships that dock in the Leknes fjord. At that point, we were the only ones in the church, so we were able to photograph inside the church and out, with no problem. Within 10 minutes, the place was swarming with people and, believe me, they were on a mission! Get in the church, look around, take shots with their cell phones and get back on the bus. Wow, we sure were lucky with our timing!
The next stop was in Fredvang, off the main highway and over 2 bridges. We stopped to photograph an old barn and then continued up the road to see how close we could get to the beach. Not close, but there is a cemetery at the end of the road, so we got a few shots there. Barbara and Keith had walked down the road in the direction we had come from and after being at the cemetery for 10 minutes or so, it started to rain, so Merle and I left there and picked the others up. We drove around the area a bit more, then got back on the highway to Reine. On the way, Barbara remembered that she had dropped a lens cap and forgot to pick it up after taking a photo, so we planned to detour back to Fredvang on our return trip.
The next stop was at Anita’s Sjømat, a small seafood restaurant at the east end of Reine. This is a favourite stop on the tour, and one of the few restaurants to which I introduce my guests. Today we had brought lunch with us again, so we ate in the car and then went into the restaurant for a hot drink and a dessert. They were serving an almond crust tart/pie with a layer of delicious egg custard topped with chocolate sprinkles. I couldn’t believe it tasted so bad, so I had to have a 2nd piece just to be sure. If you’re ever this way without me, be sure to stop at Anita’s for the best fish burger, salmon sandwich, etc. Judging from the changes to the restaurant in the past couple of years, I think Anita is doing very well with the bus loads of people who stop there, many full of passengers from the cruise ships.
We drove to the other side of Reine and stopped in the usual tourist place to get photos looking back into Reine, with the mountains in the background. It was quite windy, cool and raining so we didn’t spend a lot of time there. It was the same when we arrived in Å. We walked out to what I call “the end of the earth” from where you can see the last 2 islands in the Lofoten archipelago, Værøy and Røst. Unfortunately, we couldn’t see them through the clouds/fog, so we headed back to the parking lot. After driving away from there, Merle realized that he had lost the lens cap for one of his lenses, likely on the walk back to the parking lot. We went back to see if he could find it, but I didn’t hold out much hope. Surprise….he found it!
On the road back to Reine, we made a couple of other stops for more photo ops: in Tind (nesting seagulls, a couple of German fishermen cleaning their cod catch – as you can see below, one of them looked quite miserable) and more shots of the Reine harbour.
We made the detour to Fredvang to see if we could find Barbara’s lens cap and, twice lucky in one day, Merle stepped out of the car and walked directly to it laying in the grass on the side of the road.
Our last stop of the day was in Sund, another interesting old fishing town that attracts a lot of tourists. I don’t bother with the touristy stuff, like the local blacksmith, but prefer to wander around on the docks taking photos of the old buildings and there’s usually at least 1 boat in the dry dock for repairs. The last time here, I met a local couple who were working on a fishing boat they had bought in Newfound and sailed back to Norway. Keith particularly enjoyed this stop because, to him, it had a good feel.
Just before arriving in Stamsund, I made a stop at Hans Melhus’ house. Hans is a local photographer who I spent some time with last fall. After a short conversation and loose plans to get together before we leave, we reached the cabin about 6:45, in time to get to the store before the 7:00 closing time. Tonight we all chipped in to make a dinner of fish balls in a white sauce and peas, carrots and potatoes. We’re not going hungry!
After dinner, Merle, Keith and I went for a walk around the area close to the rorbua and down to the docks. We got a few shots and went back to call it a night. It was a long day.
Tomorrow, the plan is to drive to Nusfjord and then to Unstad. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for a better day.