Viking Ocean Cruise Into the Midnight Sun Post #4, Lofoten
As we sailed into the port of Leknes with Viking Cruises, this magnificent church was on the shore and caught my eye. Lofoten (Norwegian “lu:fu:tn”) is an enclave of islands and a long-established district in Nordland Norway. It is infamous for its astonishing rugged mountains, protected bays and a pleasant summer conditions. Even though it’s located within the Artic Circle it encounters a warmer than expected temperature range.
The Lofoten Islands were settled approximately 11,000 years ago and the earliest archaeological sites are only about 5,500 years old, at the period from early to late Stone Age. Agriculture, livestock, and significant human habitation can be traced back to the Iron Age or roughly 250 BC. The islands extend from Norway’s coast into the Norwegian Sea or approximately 118 miles. These waters were outstanding for Norse communities and the waters have produced massive quantities of Cod as they spawn in the waters around the islands.
Every tour begins with what regular passengers label a tour guide with a Viking lollipop. This way whether you are wearing a headset or just listening close by you can always locate your specific guide as they each have their own number. This was actually the first time I was able to capture this equipment in a photograph. I thought it unique.
Of course as soon as I turned around we faced the obligatory Norwegian troll portside. Kim and I were novices in Norway and weren’t aware we would encounter a myriad more of these adorable creatures. Seriously how can you not love each and every troll you have seen, if you are following my posts? We each took our solo portrait with the Lofoten troll and moved on.
We had occasion to witness several fish drying racks as we toured Norway. They were discussed in our pre-port discussions and we drove by a few outside of Bergen. Stockfish is unsalted fish, especially cod, dried by cold air and wind on wooden racks along the shorelines. They are called “hjell” in Norway. The drying of food is the world’s oldest known preservation method, and dried fish has a storage life of several years.
We drove over a back road under construction and were stopped at the island’s only stoplight. This light dictated which one way traffic could proceed across the one-way bridge. It was kind of hilarious give traffic patterns in major cities all over the world. Finally we proceeded to a wharf type area with various boats, ships and structures surrounding the harbor.
Along the harbor was what I am guessing is the only grocery store within miles beside a ship maintenance facility. I try to explore grocery stores in every country I visit since I was in the industry before. It’s always amusing to see the offerings and prices. It gives one a feel for what items appear to be important to cultures and which ones don’t. The conversion rate for Norwegian Kronor to US Dollars is ten to one with a Kronor equaling about $.10 in US currency. The blue labeled Cruesli on the middle shelf is $49.90 Kronor or about $4.90 US Dollars. That seems reasonable to me.
The brownies on the top shelf are $68.90 Kronors or about $6.89 in US Dollars. This seems rather expensive. Of course being located in a remote area probably motivates one to purchase this type of goods. It looks like Toro has a monopoly on sweet cookies and treats.
Beer in Norway has up to 4.7% alcohol or has to be purchased in a state owned Vinmonopolet. Beer between 3.7% and 4.7% ABV (alcohol by volume) is taxed at an astonishing 22.4 kroner per liter, while beer above 4.7% ABV is subject to 5.01 kroner per percentage point per liter. These rates are applicable to all alcohol, which goes a long to explaining why spirits are so expensive.
I walked by the fruits and vegetables aisle and saw something I have never seen before. Remember I’m from Texas and we eat peppers with just about everything. Depending on the dish, mild peppers may be used or extremely hot ones depending on who you are cooking for. As I walked down the section I spied these red peppers that I thought were a red Chili peppers. Lo and behold they were actually Paprika peppers. I can honestly say I have never seen these prior to this cruise. I have used the spice forever, but this was a new phenomena to me.
As we left the harbor we encountered several groups of wooden row houses. It’s fascinating to me since they are in different colors, but don’t necessarily line up in the same color or have a pattern for rotation. I do think they are well constructed and appealing to the local masses. We saw similar housing in Bergen and afterwards.
We then moved on from the small community of row houses and drove into the countryside. This was on the way to the lakes with “beautiful” beaches the tour guide told us about. Of course we were all wearing jackets and sweaters but what the hay! This house particularly appealed to me with its cellar door on the front side. I am not entirely sure if this was for storing canned goods or a place to ride out severe storms. The ones my paternal grandparents had was used for both actually.
We then passed this group of Sea-houses on stilts. They are called Rorbus in Norway. A family, couple or individual can lease them and fish directly off the deck of their house. absolutely ingenious in my opinion. Most offer either shared kitchens and bathrooms or private facilities. They have apartments also which have seating areas for relaxation, and all have great views. The bedrooms have between 2-4 beds, while the apartments have 3-6 beds spread across multiple bedrooms in each apartment.
Once we left the area with the Sea-houses we came upon this view as we headed into the “beach” areas. It was a beautiful country road with hardly any room to pass. At times the bus driver amazed me with his skills and knack for forecasting oncoming traffic. I’m not sure how this was accomplished.
Then we came around a corner and I thought I was in the Caribbean. The Haukland beach lay before us and it was truly gorgeous. I don’t know if my photo does it justice. I seriously wonder when the temperatures warm up how people manage to swim in the cold waters. The bay was very protected and hardly any waves were present. Probably a great place for snorkeling, if underwater fish are present.
We only drove by this beach and didn’t stop for taking outside photos. The bus driver did halt his driving for a minute or so in order to take a few photographs of these wonderful beaches through the buses’ windows. On the way to Uttakleiv beach we passed this guard house below that the local ranger inhabits according to our tour guide. I’m not sure I could really live in such a desolate place. Of course if you consider the tourists that visit daily it might not be all that bad.
Then Uttakleiv beach appeared and it was gorgeous also, but had a multitude of large boulders on the side. The stone appeared to be either a lava product or some type of granite. The entire side of the mountain appeared to be of this substance and over the years erosion had chipped away and strewn stones and boulders down the side and into the ocean.
One of my favorite photos was this naturally sculptured heart shaped rock at Uttakleiv Beach, along with a heart formed with small stones from the beach. When they were combined it was a very romantic gesture in this old man’s opinion. I have always favored romanticism in human beings!
This plaque on the beach represents a very important piece of Norwegian history of this portion of Northern Norway. In 1814 the long distances meant that Northern Norway was not represented at Eidsvoll. Eidsvoll is mentioned in Old Norse manuscripts. In the 11th century, it became the site of court and assembly. Elections were held, but everything happened too late for anyone from the north to join the National Assembly.
Christian VIII was the King of Denmark from 1839 to 1848 and, as Christian Frederick, King of Norway in 1814. During the dramatic events of 1814, the whole of the northern part was in constant deficit with regard to knowledge on what was going on in political Norway. The long distances and a problematic postal service brought news only weeks, or months, after the proceedings themselves. When ballots were cast all over the country for a constitutional assembly, the distance became crucial for Northern Norway. The messages reached Nordland, Troms and Finnmark too late for anyone from there to show up in Eidsvoll. Keep on reading and my next post will be in reference to Tromso.
*** Portions of our cruise were sponsored by Viking Ocean Cruises. All opinions, as always, are those of my own.
Posted By August 9, 2019
Norway is one country I love to visit..I know little about the country though.. Your write up gives me the feeling I’m in Norway already
I can’t recommend Norway enough. It is certainly a favorite country of mine now. I had no idea how gorgeous it really was until our cruise! Wow it’ really fantastic! Thanks.
With this warmer temperature, it is best suitable to get a livelihood here. It also has a magnificent view, where mountain meets the sea.
It isn’t really a warm climate all the time. We were just very lucky. It was certainly gorgeous weather when ewe visited, but it can really get cold in Norway! Thanks.
The neighborhood is like any usual neighborhood out there but the sea side is wow. It reminds me of cast away by Tom Hanks.
You certainly have an imagination. It reminds you of Castaway? Really? Wow that’s pretty friend!
I love the mountain side and the houses design. I know it looks more like a storage room but it is okay. As long as it is functional I am okay with it.
Thank you kindly for your thoughts, but I am a little puzzled by your comment about a storage room. That’s an interesting thought! Thanks.
The troll always catch my attention in your post but I wonder how the people would have love to tell wonderful stories about the welcoming troll. Norway is a beautiful country, I look forward travelling with you someday!
I love the trolls and feel that they are a very different kind of mascot. I am not sure I have seen them in many other places around the world. They are different and I like them, but they can be fairly off putting at times! Thanks.
Thanks but I would like to suggest that you should have a writing on all the trolls on a single post. I’m looking forward to read the article!
I think that is a great idea, but I have around 12 more blog posts before I can begin writing new ideas. It takes about a week to edit photographs, place the selected photos in a order of their occurrence and write my post around the photos, along with other thoughts that materialize as I construct the post. It is really isn’t as easy as most people think. I will definitely endeavor to write a post on the “Trolls of Norway”, but I can’t guarantee I can complete all the posts I plan to write and then add posts to my committed thoughts. I hope you can understand. Thanks again for your response and for the additional request. Hopefully one of these day you can visit Norway and see its beauty and all the Trolls! Thanks.
So much to do with your cruise in Norway, look at the Troll with you. Lovely sights and sounds.
I love the trolls and they are everywhere in Norway! Obviously they are associated with the culture and are present in just about every city we visited. The trolls are present and have dedicated statues, etc throughout the country! Thanks.
What a way to have fun while cruising along. You capture very beautiful photos of your cruise. I love all the photos.
I appreciate your kind words and your compliments on my photography skills! Your kind words are appreciated! Thanks.
Awww that is sweet. Did I just see a heart shape on shore? I do not know your plans but with places like these a cruise is not such a bad idea.
Yes maam you are correct. One of my photos was of an outline of a heart made from stones gathered from the mountain slides, etc. It was a genuine heartfelt moment when I saw this and enjoyed it probably as much as it sounds like you did. Thank you for your warm words and best of luck on taking a cruise!
What a way to describe what you had during your cruise like nice mountains, protected bays and a pleasant summer conditions. These will make anyone day
We were very fortunate and experienced rather nice climate. It usually isn’t that good. It rains usually two out of every three days and is cloudy much of the time. I can’t tell you how fortunate we felt! Thanks.
It would be memorable for me if I go on a cruise on an island like this,I’m sure I will learn and capture alot too.
Interesting thought. I agree cruise can be very educational and I always learn a great deal on every one we take. Viking Cruises always does an excellent job of capturing unique and different subjects on their tours that we normally wouldn’t think of. I hope your wish comes true and you are able to experience a cruise like this one day. Best of luck.
Norway is such a beautiful country that it is always the go to spot if a movie is looking for a royal or mystical vibe it is always a go to. Now I can see why? Just the shore alone will make a good show piece.
Until our cruise I had never been in Norway and had no idea how gorgeous it really was. It was magnificent and I urge you to go if the opportunity ever presents itself. Thanks.
This cruising will be so enjoyable for me if I’m opportuned to be on board of this too. Enjoy yourself life isn’t that hard.
I am glad your life isn’t hard. There are people though that have difficult lives and sometimes struggle daily. I realize I am a lucky man and appreciate every day left on this planet. At my age they all count! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Nomadic Texan Viking cruise is just an experience I will love to experience and explore right away. You made your post so inviting.
I am truly glad you feel that way. This makes me happy and I hope You are able to take a cruise before too long. Thanks.
Viking Tour Guide Lollipops is a good idea especially new visitors to know their way around. You had an enjoyable cruise.
The first time I was with them and saw them used I was very happy. Otherwise I would have gotten lost for sure! Thanks.
Your experience on your trip to Norway is enough to put any interested fellow through for vacation trip to Norway. The Country Road to Lake Region of the Lofoten Islands is so neat and straightforward for safe driving. I really love your photoshoots, they are brilliantly captured. Thanks for this exposure post.
You are too kind. Thanks for your nice thoughts and I really appreciate your comments about my photography skills.
You are welcomed Mike.
The truth need to be said as for you to keep progressing in it. Your kind of free life is so difficult to find in the outside world today. Thanks to you boss.
I do not see any food feast he he. Seriously!!! I imagine a viking is like Thor when it comes to food so that said, A viking recipe perhaps but this is okay as well.
Please stay tuned. One of my blog posts coming up will be about the food served on our Viking Cruise. You are correct. Their buffets were enormous and had so many choices. Thanks.
Norway has always been a beautiful country to me. I have been there before but never got the chance to roam around. This makes me wanna go back for a vacation this tine around.
I would encourage you to go back and venture out from the large cities. Norway really is a beautiful country! Thanks.
The Lofoten Islands looks like where a cruise will fantastic with I and my fiancee. She so love to cruise and maybe surprise her with a proposal. Fond thoughts.
Norway has several locations that would work well for your surprise proposal. It really is a romantic country full of gorgeous sites! Thanks.
Taking a cruise on an island like this will be a dream come true for me. Life isn’t about work, getting off work and cruising around sure will help the body to relax better.
You are entirely correct. One has to work hard and then play hard as we never know when it will end. Cruises are our favorite type of vacations! Thanks.
The ship in village by the grocery store is very eye catching. So many things are photo worthy here!
Thank you kindly for your thoughts and compliments. I appreciate you making these comment.
You do take amazing photos! Thanks so much for documenting this and sharing it 🙂
I appreciate your kind words. It does my heart good to hear you like my photos! I try very hard to pick the best photos I take at locations. Thanks again.
The Naturally Sculptured Heart Shaped Rock has to be the best photo in the whole collection. I can’t get over how lovely it looks!
I appreciate your nice thoughts. Actually I think the heart stones were intentionally placed in that design for others to look at. I thought it was unique and took the photo to share. Thanks.
Your sense of adventure is very admirable. I wish I was as outgoing as you are.
Even though you think this, I am actually not that adventurous. I am getting up in years and this has forced me to slow down dramatically. Thanks you for the nice words.
It’s impressive how you give some historical background with each of the places. Quite informative and well laid out 🙂
It takes quite a lot of research to insure I write the correct descriptions, etc. I appreciate your compliments. Hopefully everyone feels this way also. Thanks.
The Uttakleiv Beach is very rocky. I have never seen a beach like it before.
I agree. It was interesting and to have so many rocks and stones it almost reminded me of some beaches in California with cliffs filled with boulders and huge rocks. Give me a white sandy beach with lots of sand any day! Thanks.
Norway has a certain beauty to it that can’t be found anywhere else. I will most definitely have to visit Norway some day.
I think that would be a wise decision. I hadn’t ever been to Norway before either. It really surprised me how beautiful it really was in person. Thanks.
All the houses look so cute and beautiful. The Norwegians are great builders indeed.
The Norwegians have great architecture in all capacities. Their wooden houses are very charming and appealing. I loved visiting the various cities and viewing homes and buildings. Thanks.
If I lived in such a peaceful countryside I would be the happiest woman on earth! This is so much better compared to the city life that I am used to.
It is definitely very peaceful, but it is also very expensive and has one of the highest cost of living ratios in the world. Good luck with living in Norway! Thanks.
I must say these Lofoten photos are the best from your entire visit to Norway. I’m in love with every single one of them 🙂
You are too kind. I thoroughly appreciate your kind words and comments. They are nice to hear. Thanks.
This has not been on my radar to be honest but this could change my mind. That said this place is giving a strong case for tourist to visit. I myself is intrigued by this.
Thank you very much for your nice comments. They make me feel great! I hope your wish comes true and you can make a cruise! Thanks.
I do not see any contact details. Perhaps you can add that for future articles. That way if anyone is and will be interested they can catch a ride for a cruise. A website would be nice.
I thought everyone used Google. My apologies. Their website is this link below:
I sincerely hope you are able to obtain a cruise with Viking as they are truly the best in the business! Thanks.