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      August 2014 > A Journey from Oz to Å

A Journey from Oz to Å

My excitement was growing from the moment we left shore on the Bodø-Svolvær Express – and our first glimpse of the Lofotens confirmed that we were on a voyage to a unique destination, the majestic granite rocks seemingly leaping out of the sea as we drew closer to our destination.

Self-guided walking holidays in Norway

As keen Aussie hikers who have undertaken treks in South America, Africa and Nepal, we were keen to include some hiking in our travel to Europe this summer, but looking forward to the luxury of day walks with comfortable board and lodgings! We were eager to visit the Arctic Circle and our research led us to Inntravel, and ‘A Journey to Å’, the opportunity to walk on the Lofoten Islands in Norway. From the moment we received our first reply to our initial query to Inntravel we knew we were in the hands of a professional travel company. This professionalism extended to all of the accommodation and transport organised through Inntravel for our stay on the Lofotens.

Self-guided walking holidays in NorwayOur Express ferry landed at Svolvær at around 11pm, and we were transferred to our first rorbu lodgings. My excitement meter was already through the roof – the midnight sun streamed through the windows of our rorbu – a gorgeous self-contained house which had four spacious and comfortable rooms!

A light supper was awaiting us in the fridge, and we broke open some duty free wine bought on the way in! For three nights this was our base for exploring this part of the Lofotens and every moment was a delight.

Walking on Lofoten was simply magical – every view seemed better than the last! While we had read of the ‘elevated temperature anomalies’ of the Lofotens (basically that means it’s warmer than you would think given how far north it is) we were still surprised by the sunny days, where we were mostly quite comfortable (once we got moving) with a light jacket. Each hike could be a story on its own, but here are a few edited highlights.

Self-guided walking holidays in NorwayTjeldbergtinden may only be only 367m high, but it proved to be an energetic climb nonetheless, and one which gave us our first spectacular views over the whole Svolvær area – so many little lakes. A highlight was reaching the little ‘technical bit’ at the top – as it turns out this little climb using a fixed rope can be avoided by walking around the back, but a short spurt up the rope provided a great sense of achievement for this middle-aged softie!

Climbing Justadtind was no doubt the top point of our walk! At 738m this was a good workout, and we had some cold winds to keep us alert! The snows had not fully melted (we travelled in June) so we got to walk through a little snow towards the peak. The two walkers ahead of us turned out to be Peter and Chris from Inntravel, updating the Lofoten walking notes and kindly stepping out the track through the snow just in front of us! Be warned Inntravel – we expect this personal service on all Inntravel tours we book in future! It was wonderful meeting two of the Inntravel staff, who turned out to be helpful, friendly, and curiously keen to engage in a little Aus-England rivalry!

Self-guided walking holidays in Norway

Walking from Eggum and watching the midnight sun was definitely one for the ‘bucket list’ – we walked along the beach looking out towards the North Sea – seeing the sun gently drop down towards the horizon but not quite make it before rising again is a sight I will never forget. Initially we were a little disappointed that we had some cloud and then light rain, but the midnight rainbow that appeared was truly our pot of Norwegian gold!

Self-guided walking holidays in Norway

Wandering up the coast from Nesland to Nusfjord and seeing orcas frolicking in the water as we ambled up the coast is another “never will forget this” moment.  Even paying 32 Australian dollars for two cappucinos and two muffins at Nusfjord (no denying that food and alcohol is very expensive in Norway) did not diminish the enjoyment of this walk. The boulder field on the way was a bit tricky (following the red Ts was essential), but surprisingly was much easier on the way back.

Self-guided walking holidays in NorwayMonkebu – a challenging walk but well worth it. We started this walk in fine weather but by the high point it was freezing! The last part of the walk was in snow, and we felt like Arctic explorers! Even in days of average weather, we got some great views and the scenery was dramatic at every point.

We loved that we were able to experience a variety of conditions but, overall the weather was very good. Being able to return ‘home’ each evening to a hot shower, a wonderful meal (included in the package) and friendly hosts really made Norway a total joy.

Indeed, the accommodation was a highlight in itself, while the itinerary from Inntravel meant that this trip was totally stress-free, with the walking notes leading us to some of the top spots in the Lofotens.

Thanks so much to Inntravel – we will be back (but we do expect the advance party to make our tracks through any snow!)

PS. And a special thanks to the man from AVIS who brought our (upgraded) car to meet the bus from Svolvær with a minimum of fuss.

Self-guided walking holidays in Norway
Posted: 11/08/2014 09:08:55 by | with 0 comments
Filed under: food, islands, journey, landscapes, Norway, opinions, travel, walking, whales

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