A long train night ride from Trondheim up north to Bodø . Some of us sleeping all the way, some staring at the window to see…something. Norway is a vast country with a small number of inhabitants. The train stops only in main stations. Scattered houses, some flickering lights here and there: this is how main cities in Northern Norway look like. The down-on-earth version of The Polar Express movie.
And we’re here. Bodø is located just north of the Artctic Circle and trains go no further.
From uphill, houses look like little boxes, preserved by the cold protection of mountains and ocean. It’s New Year’s Eve and our plan for the night is to, well, go uphill again. It is cloudy, cold and windy and our expectations for aurora are low but at least we’re going to see some celebration lights.
And there they are. What we would have seen without the cloud cover, it’s up to your imagination, but for now, we were thrilled to actually experience aurora. I’d say the new year is bright. Oh, and the actual fireworks? Nevermind that…
Next day in the afternoon we embark on the ferry and we leave Bodø behind. Is still cold, but now we feel it as part of the rush.
And it’s getting dark already. But its the kind of dark that hits you gently and gives the most colorful and long sunsets there can be.
It took until next day to see where we actually are. It’s all bathed in pink due to short days and now we know that northern lights don’t mean just the aurora. It’s the twilight colours that immerse the landscape and make out of every moment of the day an exceptional scenery.
No auroral activity yet, but the sky looks great and we’re keeping our hopes high.
Our accommodation is in the southern end of the Lofoten Archipelago, in the very picturesque small fishing village of Å , spreading its red houses from under the mountain until the very edge of the ocean.
However, during wintertime the village is quite empty,museums and restaurants closed, the same as in the most part of the archipelago. Reine is the biggest and most active village in the area, still, having its first restaurant open its doors for visitors only in May. Reine is at about 8 km from Å, an renting a car (local company) was the way for us to go. Prices can be high but if shared in five it gets cheaper than using public transportation. Hitchhiking is not really an option in wintertime. Following next, Reine from ground level.
I think I could call this “a thousand shades of pink”. And yes, days are insanely short. Can you feel bad that you overslept when it’s still dark outside?
And at least half shades of orange guarded by a solitary seagull.
And the fish is here! Starting from mid February, the Arctic cod migrates from Barents Sea, marking in Lofoten the beginning of one of the world’s largest seasonal fisheries in the world. The fish is preserved by drying it on racks after old legendary techniques.
The last explosion of colours of the day…
And at last…the first incredible dancing night show is here. You’ve probably seen lots of pictures and have high expectations in what you will see. And you should. When it finally unfolds under your eyes, dancing and playing with your mind, this digital green experience leaves you speechless.
For the last day of our trip, we planned a car tour. And it was great timing since it was a cold killer wind that wouldn’t allow us to be outside for more than 10-15 minutes at a time. The sea is frozen (partly), the sand as well.
Even though the aurora was the icing on the cake, in the end, our trip to Norway turned out to be much more than chasing the northern lights…We leave the country of fjords with new experiences in our backpack and breathtaking scenery that will last in our memory for long. When it’s fading, we’ll be back for part two: the midnight sun.
Bancsi, me & Kevin