Our wild camp was a mosquito den, I ended up with dozens and dozens of bites after only a few minutes of wandering around camp as we took down. Later in the day, the lady at the tourist information desk told us that the mosquitoes were all gone for the season due to such cold nights, but as I scratched all day, I knew that even the chilly overnight temperatures hadn’t scared the mosquitoes off (Ben’s note: Bree could probably find a mosquito at the North Pole. While she had all sorts of trouble with them, I never saw a single one).
We hopped in the car, ready to head toward the end of the Lofotens in a town called A, which we dubbed “the end of the earth.” It was a good fit considering how long we’d been driving.
After another long bouts of twisty mountain driving and plenty of long dark (some underwater!) tunnels, the mountain peaks became more rough and jagged as they reached out of the water. It wasn’t long before any doubts about our ridiculously long drive were gone. This place is amazing!
We came upon a darling harbor, almost entirely abandoned in the early morning. The cheerful looking wooden boats floated perfectly in the reflection of the towering pinnacles. We swerved the car off the road and headed down to check it out.
The colorful array was picture perfect, peeling paint on wood sides, nets and ropes coiled up on the floor, and one boat growing sprigs of grass from its sides. After months full of harbors and boats, these were easily the most darling ones we’d ever seen.
A way down the road, we started noticing big posters advertising a bike ride that was apparently taking place over this weekend and also road closure signs that we couldn’t read in Norwegian. We weren’t sure what that meant for our drive, considering that there aren’t that many roads around these islands. After stopping at the TI we discovered that the whole town closed to traffic for The Arctic Race of Norway, which is apparently in the same series as the Tour de France. We grabbed a race schedule and bolted south before the road closed up on us, vowing to return tomorrow to watch the cyclists.
Whole towns were decorated for the race, flags flying, signs painted on every available surface, and spray painted bikes decorating the way. This race is a big deal to these tiny communities. Thankfully the race also closed up traffic behind us, so as we headed to the heart of the magic of the Lofoten Islands, there were no tour buses to join us. We were among the last cars to make it south all afternoon.