Lofoten Islands, Norway

In my twenties I lived vicariously through Climbing magazine, a glossy publication that granted me access to the world of mountaineering and sport climbing through images like these. The September 94 issue had stunning images of the granite walls of the Lofoten Islands that I dreamed of visiting and climbing. A decade later we had the opportunity to visit Norway and finally see (but not climb) these walls.

We flew to Oslo and took the train to Bergen, a pleasant but uneventful town. Then we boarded a Hurtigruten ferry, a coastal service that provides mail, vital supplies and transport to those who live in isolated coastal townships.

Richard With ferry Norway

As we approached Bodo, we crossed the Arctic Circle – this image was taken at around 2am:

From Bodo, we took the ferry to Svolvaer Harbour in the Lofoten Island of Austvagsoya, where a statue of a fisherman’s wife greets returning fishermen and climbers jump across the horns of the Svolvaer Goat. The lattice work in the background are racks where fish are dried to make a delicacy called stockfish.

We hired an old Corolla from a no-frills car rental business and drove toward the tip of the islands, using the bridges that connect the major islands:

And visited lakes where angry Norweigan seagulls made a painful and sustained attack after I walked on their mud flats to take this photo:

The next day we drove to Reine Harbour where we stayed in a Rorbu, a fisherman’s hut. You could even fish from a hole in the kitchen floor.

And this was taken at around 1am from the southernmost point on the island of Moskenesoya:

We then drove back to Svolvaer, took the ferry back to the mainland and boarded a train back to Oslo. As a holiday it was painfully expensive but exceeded my expectations, even those built up over a decade.