The Lofotens

Above: This may give some idea of where the Lofotens are located. Below: The bridge linking the Lofotens with the mainland, after I'd crossed over to the islands.

Below: For the first time during my travels, I freecamped. I'd been watching motorhomes pulling into laybys and viewpoints each evening, no doubt to camp for the night. As I'd paid AU$40 to camp the previous night, (and they then expected me to pay for the showers and internet!!) I decided to join the motorhomes. At just the right time, I rounded a corner to see a largish layby overlooking a fjord. Pulled in, parked and went for a wander, as there were some big steel workman's bins and other stuff around, blocking the whole view. Walked around the corner of the steel bins and found the perfect spot - grassed, under trees, hidden from most traffic, yet with wonderful views out across the fjord. What more could I want?

Above: The German lady camped next door in a large motorhome who graciously brought me over a nice hot coffee while I was putting the tent up. Below: The view from the vestibule of my tent. How good is that?

Below: a beautiful timber church

Above and below: Fish heads (cod, I think) drying on racks. Not sure what they actually do with them once they're dried, though!

Above and below: This village is reputed to be the most photographed spot in the whole of Norway. Well, yes, it's pretty, but ... Overall, the general scenery in Norway is rather stunning.

I decided to stay the night on Lofotens, and catch the ferry over to Bodo on the mainland the next morning, so rode to the end of the islands to the village of A (yes, it's supposed to have dots over it) and booked into a room on the harbour of this little fishing village.

The old fishermen's huts and the factory itself have been converted into tourist accommodation, basic but acceptable, and not too expensive in this expensive country. Below are photos of the general dock area. I had a room in the upper level of the fish factory in photo below, having to walk past a quite large fish hanging to bleed in the factory below the rooms..


Below: As is usual, I was confronted by an Aussie, Simon, [they're everywhere, these Aussies!!] who stood and chatted for ages the next morning as I was packing to leave. And yes, Simon, I did miss the early ferry by about 3 minutes! haha!

They have a very strange system of "booking" and loading for the ferry from Moskenes to Bodo. When one arrives at the dock, drive to the end of the queue in the numbered lanes, and "wait". Then, depending on how many vehicles are in the "reserved" queue, one may, or may not, get on the next ferry!! Of course, one can't book from the Lofotens, even over the internet or by phone, only from the mainland, for some strange reason.

So the ferry comes in and unloads. The two "reserved" lanes load, then Lane 1 of the "waiters" and possibly part of Lane 2 "waiters", then the ferry departs! So then the big shuffle begins. Those left in Lane 2 drive forward and around to come back into Lane 1 and so on, until everyone has changed places. Of course, those originally in Lanes 3 and 4 may still not get on the next ferry, either!

I was originally at the back end of Lane 3, and tried to sneak on with some other bikers in Lane 1, but that was not on, I'm afraid! Back into the queue, then after the post-departure shuffle, I ended up about 3 vehicles from the front of Lane 2, with no guarantee whatsoever that I'd even get on the next ferry! I'd tried for the 10.30am one, then the next was at 2.00pm, then 5.30pm etc etc.

So filling in the next 3 and a half hours waiting for the next ferry was the problem. I found a picnic table with benches, so commandeered a bench, laid down and had a snooze for a while, a la Iron Butt Motel style!! Then wandered around taking photos. One couldn't "go" anywhere with the vehicle, or the place in the queue would be lost. There was a cafe close by, but I didn't agree with the owner's hospitality concepts:- you can buy food and drink to consume there at the tables, but you must NOT use a laptop! When I questioned the wisdom (or otherwise) of this, he said the tables were for customers. So what was I then, having bought food and drink in his establishment? I ended by telling him what I thought of his lack of hospitality skills and walked away, vowing to put it on the website - so steer clear of this cafe if you're in the Lofotens and catching the ferry back to Bodo!!! There, I've had my say on this matter!

Below: What to take photos of when stuck in a ferry queue for 3.5 hours?? - shoot anything around the dock area.

The crossing takes 3.5 hours, which was pretty boring, so I couldn't wait to get off and get back on the road, to Sweden.

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