Bronnøysund – July 12
Pleasantly surprisedly this cute little town! Spent the afternoon walking the main drag enjoying the only sunshine on the trip so far! Definitely fisherman here haha. First place we've seen evidence of fish in the sea so we're very excited! There's even a fisherman's memorial at the Church.
My Grandmother and I came across a Norwegian band so she requested her favorite song, Nidelven. As they played it brought tears to her eyes as memories of my Great Grandmother Olga playing her accordion played in our minds. So afterwards there was only one thing to do - get ice cream!
We bounced around different shops and I could not believe the treasures I found!
Bronnøysund is a town of almost 5,000 people and has the best easy going attitude which makes you feel right at home. You can drive from Bronnøysund through Sweden and all the way on to Finland! We just barely missed the big Music Festival by one day which brings in crowds from all over the country! The town welcomes them with all their heart and soul, not to mention the thai food truck, pizzeria, and fresh ice cream all waiting to be eaten!
Have you ever driven there?! What town would you compare Bronnøysund to? Ketchikan, Alaska?
Crossing into the Arctic Circle
Aa, Lofoten – The up and coming Skagway - July 13
This super cute, quaint, and charming little town is perhaps the sister city to Tennakee? The air was salty but with a tinge of something I couldn’t place until I weaved around a dirt road and stumbled upon the source and rank of drying cod! OHHH myyy lawd! I literally held my breath for this photo then jogged through to the top of the hill on one end of town where visitors camp between the muskeg and rock.
It was so nice to sit and take in the view, if only I had a beer or some weed…
I made my way back into town and this time followed a different smell of cinnamon and buring wood. Oh man, so happy I did! At fist I wasn’t sure about going through the closed door that appeared to be a bakery inside. People were certainly coming out of it with pastries in their hands but it looked like someones home! And with several people sitting just outside with their steaming buns I figured I’d better go in before they were all gone! You have to pass through TWO closed doors to reach the kitchen of the bakery, but man is it worth it! They must do that to keep the kitchen at a good temperature to help the dough rise, and it definitely works! With the wood stove oven burning I selected two fresh cinnamon, salted rolls. Yes. Yes I’d definitely come back to Aa just for another roll!
This was one of my favorite stops along the coast. Perfect little fishing village with loads of character and a serene setting. I’d love to come camp on the hill and eat pastries for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! You just can’t beat a wood fired oven.
So happy to have come here! Has anyone ever camped or eaten at the bakery? What did you get?
Nusfjord, Lofoten Islands – July 13
Which Alaska fishing village would you compare Nusfjord to? Port Alexander? Port Protection?
Tiniest harbor I’ve ever seen but no doubt a stop along the highway to stop and enjoy the views. It’s easy to climb up the bare rocks and knolls and sit atop the muskeg blankets. The town has a lingering drying cod smell to it and the sea gulls never let any noise but their own take over.
There’s a small general store that sells some groceris, old glass floats, post cards, and other souveniers, and of course dried cod! I brought a package home for my husband to try and it hasn’t moved from the cupboard yet haha. For someone who has eaten insects in Thailand I figured he’d at least give this a try… apparently not.
I came across a tiny beach and combed the little shore between the big boulders. Tons of shells and loads of beach glass, made my day to find all those little treasures!
Svolvaer, Lofoten – July 14
Strange town, nice people! Svolvaer has an industrious feel to it yet small and definitely has some character. I walked around town early in the morning so I could make it down to Unstad for a surf sesh. Taxis estimate was 1000 Kroner so I opted to find a rental car. Avis was sold out so I stood in line at Europcar which is centrally located in the town venter near the docks. The woman standing in front of me ended up getting the last car of the day! Bummed and almost defeated I went out into the parking lot and knocked on her wondow with no real plan other than, “Are you by chance headed south?” To my surprise she was relieved I’d asked as she was from Australia and nervous as hell to drive. I gladly exchanged an offer to drive for a one way ticket south to Unstad and the Lofoten Island Surfsenter. We had a fantastic drive and wonderful conversation. Took a littler under an hour to drive to Unstad. We headed straight for the beach to check the surf – no such luck. So instead we drove over to the surf shop for a t-shirt. The town is more like a neighborhood so it was incredibly easy to navigate.
Unstad, Lofoten - July 14
I drove us back to the Viking Museum where I called a taxi and my new friend continued on her route south to Aa, Lofoten to go get a cinnamon roll per my recommendation. Needless to say I never got to surf, I was short on time and short on waves! I made it back to the ship without a minute to spare! I was the first one off and the last one on as I heard them calling my name while I hauled ass out of the taxi towards the ship!
Anyone ever catch a wave in Unstad?
Tromsø – The Juneau Equivalent?! - July 15
3rd largest city in the Arcitic with about 75,000 people. Almost reminds of Juneau and Douglas Island as the town is divided by a channel. It’s a busy city with 11,000 students attending the university, a hospital that serves the greater region, and a growing tourism industry.
Visiting the botanical gardens was beautiful and recognized at least 70% of the species with slight variations to Alaska.
Now compare to the Jensen Olsen Arboretum here in Juneau!
The sporting good stores outweigh the boutiques but for good reason as Tromsø is an adventurous city. It was chilly in this northern city but that was because of the breeze and overcast. I’m sure if the sun was shining down I’d be in a t-shirt! Nonetheless I wore jeans, sneakers, down jacket, and mittens in early morning.
We visited the Arctic Cathedral one end of the bridge, then cruised around the island on the other side of the channel. I’d like to come back in winter which seems to be the locals most favorite time of year. Surprisingly -4degrees Celsius on average throughout the winters, but makes sense since it’s a coastal community. The northern lights are a huge appeal and the town often suffers blackouts because the solar flares interfere with the communication systems!
Has anyone ever visited in the winter? What’s your favorite thing about Tromsø?