< Continued from Part 3

Day 11 (Trondheim > Bodø)

In the morning it was still raining. We woke up at 5.45am and had to take down the soaked tent in the drizzle. The outsides of my bags were wet but thankfully not too much had seeped through. After a muffin for breakfast (what, no pastries?) we caught the 7.20am bus to Central Station. After a wait in the station we caught the 8.42 to Bodø.

B L I S S !

Big, comfortable, reclining seats, loads of legroom, curtains, proper headrests, radio in the seats, blankets, food trays, rubbish bins, plush upholstery, free coffee ... I could go on. This seems like the Ritz after our wet tent.

After ten hours the novelty of the train was wearing rather thin, however out of the window the scenery gradually got bleaker as we reached the far North. We passed the Arctic Circle, marked by two stone pyramids, and headed on to Fauske and Bodø.

Passing the Arctic Circle

The people in our carriage slowly left the train at the intermediate stops, so by the tenth hour we had the whole carriage to ourselves.

The train finally pulled in at Bodø at 6.30pm. After our bad experiences with the tent yesterday we decided to check in to the local Youth Hostel. Although this set us back 570kr in total, it provided us with a kitchen, somewhere dry to put our bags and hot showers.

We headed for the tourist information office and the supermarket, where we bought lasagne and fish pasta bake for dinner. Unfortunately these failed to cook despite 90 minutes in the oven, but a microwave came to our rescue.

We met our friendly Chinese roommate at dinner, then played cards before heading for a REAL BED!!!

Day 12 (Bodø > Moskenes)

I woke up at 9.30am after the best night's sleep I'd had in a fortnight. Ah, the joys of pillows, sheets and quilts. "Oh, he's finally awake," said Andrew, bringing me to Earth with a bump.

We went to the ferry terminal and discovered that luckily there was an extra sailing at noon. Regretfully we left the comfortable though extortionate Youth Hostel and headed in the morning drizzle for the boat.

The boat trip lasted four hours. Inside there were seats and tables and comfort, so naturally we spent the majority of the time on the cold, wet and windy deck. We passed numerous small islands on the way, and after about three hours the towering black peaks of the Lofoten Islands appeared.

The Lofotens appear on the horizon

Another hour and we arrived at Moskenes, its circular harbour dotted with wooden houses.

Moskenes harbour

We disembarked and headed some fifteen paces to the campsite office, where we booked for three nights at the bargain price of 195kr for all of us.

Camping on the Lofotens. Bleak.

Having had nothing to eat save some digestive biscuits with an (admittedly delicious) hot chocolate from the ferry terminal, I was now ravenous.

We bought some sausages, bread, peanuts, pork scratchings and tinned pineapple for dinner, which we took to the campsite to eat. The campsite itself has a glorious setting with a sea view and a 'mini-fjord', although it is rather exposed and hence windy.

We ate our food, although we had some problems opening the tin of pineapple. Although Richard's mega-sized Swiss Army knife could cut, screw, saw, open bottles, file, measure, be a corkscrew, release an emergency flare, make the coffee, sing songs ... it seemed unable to open tins. The 'tinopener' merely pierced small holes in the side through which pineapple juice leaked. After a lot of stabbing with the knife we were left with some pineapple and a very mangled tin. After dinner we went for a walk around the harbour, looked out to sea and pondered how to start today's diary entry. "I woke up at 9.30am..." should do the trick.

Day 13 (Moskenes)

A lazy day on the Lofotens. I woke up at 9.30am and went to get breakfast. Andrew had decided to go for a long walk; later Richard decided to do likewise, but I felt like not doing very much today.

I went for a walk around the harbour to have a look at the empty racks for drying fish.


Very fishy

I also went on a mini-expedition to our 'mini-fjord'. I split a half-hour Internet session with Richard at the Tourist Information Centre and sent some emails.

I bought some bread, pate and cake for lunch then walked to the top of the hill by our campsite and whiled away a few hours happily reading my book, writing postcards and watching the world go by.

View from my hill

Richard and Andrew made it back in time for dinner, when we had some exceedingly salty fish with spaghetti in sauce.

The sun which had been shining most of the day finally deserted us at about seven, when the rain forced us into the tent to play cards and Chinese Checkers (which I finally got the hang of).

Later the clouds lifted so we were able to catch some blue sky before returning to bed.

Useless facts:
I can whistle a single note for 22 seconds
Richard can whistle a single note for 17 seconds
Andy can't whistle

Day 14 (Moskenes)

We woke up late and after a quick breakfast headed down the E10 towards everybody's favourite single-letter town, Å.


Unfortunately our plans for whale-eating came to noting since there was only one café-restaurant in Å. I bought a watermelon and cake for lunch.

After lunch I went alone to the world-famous Stockfish Museum, "the only one of its kind in the world" (it was not hard to see why). No one seemed to be about at the entrance, so I walked in, took a guide leaflet and had a look around without having to pay.

The Stockfish Museum

The museum was hilarious in its irrelevance. Facts such as "Wheelbarrows were used for the internal transport if fish on the quay until the 1970s", "With the help of air conditioning the stockfish can be dried a further 35%, turning it into klipfish" and "Up until 1955 workers had to kneel down on the floor to brace the fish" were read and promptly forgotten.

My desire for stockfish sated, I headed back into Å to have a look around. Many of the buildings in the pretty fishing village have been incorporated into the Norsk Fiskeværsmuseum (Norwegian Fishing Museum). I was able to visit the deserted cod liver oil factory, fisherman's house, forge, bakery and woodshed. This was all very interesting but could have done with a bit more explanation.

The Fishing Museum

It was now nearly 4pm and consulting the bus timetable I discovered that there was a bus back to Moskenes at 4.10, so I took the easy option and caught it. The mad bus driver proceeded to drive at a breakneck speed round the hairpin bends on the way back to the campsite.

On my return I had a shower, I had a shower. Unfortunately I discovered that you had to pay for hot water so I had a 'bracing' cold shower which lasted about sixty seconds before the freezing water became too much to bear. We then had dinner (unknown meat carbonare) and discussed our plans for the remainder of the holiday.

> Continued in Part 5


Part 1 (Days 1-3)
Part 2 (Days 4-6)
Part 3 (Days 7-10)
Part 4 (Days 11-14)
Part 5 (Days 15-17)
Part 6 (Days 18-22)
Part 7 (Days 23-26)
Part 8 (Days 27-30)

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"After ten hours the novelty of the train was wearing rather thin"