As we woke nice and early and left our supermarket car park we were excited to board the ferry and head to the Lofoten Archipelago, Lofoten was a must for us, since we planned this trip we knew we wanted to head to that part of Norway, we were enticed buy the huge mountains, gorgeous fjords and picturesque villages.
The ferry journey was something like a boat trip into the world of tolkiens middle earth, huge mountains towered over the horizon and mist was rolling in from the sea, we hopped off the ferry and started driving in awe of the landscape and couldn't wait to see what the next couple of weeks would bring.
The first night we stayed in a small lay by next to one of the main roads, it was a beautiful spot and the weather was perfect for a bit of drone footage. I had never seen the sky shining in such beautiful colours, the fjord reflected the peachy sunset like a mirror and we couldn't stop staring. As the night drew in we were hoping to get a glimpse of the northern lights something we have not yet seen but always wanted to witness.
At around 10 pm, we wrapped up warm and headed out to a clear night sky we were not disappointed, our first set of northern lights. Draping the sky with a ribbon they stretched across the mountain tops and gave the sky a green glow.
There was more snow than we had expected. Due to the jet stream Lofoten has one of the highest temperatures of anywhere in the world in comparison to its latitude, and yet temperatures were still well below freezing.
From our first night we headed south west along the islands to a the town of svolvaer, Like most of the villages and towns on the islands it still heavily relies on the sea, its main income is from fisheries and we also noticed a huge shipbuilding dock on the outskirts of the town, a huge building which gave the mountains a run for their money.
We camped the night on a small country lane we came across on the other side of the town. popular with the locals as a walking and hiking spot so it was nice and quiet.
The next morning we decided to explore further, travelling down the coast we wanted to visit as many of the fishing villages as possible and one that caught our eye was Henningsvaer, a beautiful fishing village set in a horseshoe around a harbour with a rather famous football pitch, before we headed there we had to find a place to stay, when your in a camper and most of the roads have a lake one side and a mountain the other and any flat land either has a house or farm on it it can usually be tricky to find a spot to rest for the night. We usually use an app called Park4night which highlights good parking spaces you can use recommended by other travellers. Around Henningsvaer there're wasn't much to offer. we found the smallest lay-by and parked up for the night. I had hoped to do a spot of fishing as it was the first place we had come too where the water wasn't frozen over, however the tretcherous climb down to the sea across the snow covered rocks It didn't seem like the best idea.
We had spotted a nice looking beach slightly up the road so we decided to check it out, After scrambling through snow 2 feet deep and crossing a rickety bridge we made it, It was beautiful. The sand was crisp and and water was crystal clear.
The Next day we wanted to spend exploring henningsvaer as we had heard great things. We drove over some amazing bridges and parked up in the only car park, did a spot of drone flying along the harbour and explored the town. Icy streets and beautiful houses with views most people could only dream of it really was spectacular. As it was winter most of the shops and interesting things to do were closed but we still enjoyed our time wandering round, as our legs tired and our hunger grew we both fancied a bacon sarnie, probably the most expensive bacon sarnie we've ever cooked, the prices of meat and most food in northern Norway and Lofoten are astronomical so its definitely something to think about if heading to these parts.
After visiting the little beach near henningsvaer we wanted to find another beach, and we managed to find skagsanden beach. A beach popular with surfers (even at the end of January) we took full advantage of the copious amounts of park ups and pitched up for the night. After waking up, heading to the beach equipped with our camera and spending the following evening watching the northern lights we had a great stay. We also met two Chinese chaps who's hire car had sadly broken down so they used our stove to boil up some noodles and make a cup of tea to warm themselves from the arctic wind.
From there we journeyed even further south, to the southern most point in the Lofoten Archepelego a place named Å, just Å, how cool. again it was a beautiful fishing village, really small but there was plenty to do there, however because we were visiting in early January we had no luck and most places were closed to tourists. The wind was picking up and it was snowing terribly hard so we had no choice to retreat back to the shelter of the van and head back north.
That night we stayed just outside Å before heading to another beach the following day, cameras and drones charged and the sun was even shining so we wrapped up warm and made our way slightly off the beaten track to haukland beach, another beautiful beach on Lofoten, one I would love to visit in summer, however things didn't go quite so to plan, after strolling along the beach for a couple of moments I decided to fly the drone, placing it down everything was set, although my hands were freezing as usual everything seemed okay. I slid my thumb right on the iPhone and the drone took off, but something was wrong, before we had a chance to stop it the drone powered full tilt towards the ocean, As if possessed buy the kraken itself it plowed directly into the crashing waves of the ocean, I dropped my backpack and ran frantically across the frozen crisp sand into the clear water to retrieve the drone, worried most about the memories on the memory card from Lofoten I had yet to place on the hard drive. After a couple of minutes wading around in water upto my waist I gave up hope, until Lauren spotted the drone in the water 30 feet up shore, And that was it, our drone had become victim of the wind and possible impatience along with insufficient GPS. Luckily its Insured.
Feeling rather let down, and with the weather closing in, and with no camp site selected we made our way back to the closest place we had camped before, north to the small lay-by we stayed at near henningsvaer, by the time we got there a storm was brewing, all night the wind battered the van and kept us awake and around 60cm of snow fell over night, because our van was almost on the edge of a small cliff the drifts around it in the morning were huge. As we tried to leave in the morning the van required digging out. Visibility was at a couple of metres due the the high winds and copious amounts of snow. From there, we had to find a more sheltered spot to spend the second night. We tried to make it back to svolvaer but with no luck we headed another 10km north back to the beautiful camp spot we spent the first night. We battened down the hatches and braced ourselves for another night of wind and snow.
We woke up to another thick layer of snow, we heard that it snowed a 1 meter in 24 hours, more snow then we had ever seen, and before long we decided to make our way from lofoten and head east to the next chapter of our journey.