Lofoten Islands have been in my thoughts ever since I saw images of its visual stunning fishing villages. I knew I have to make a visit and this was how the trip came about. My apology for the delay in updating the blog, as it took me a long while to sort out all the images. The Artic wonderland of Lofoten islands is so amazingly picturesque that I went shutter happy. Maybe way too much but how do I resist? And for those who have asked – the cameras used on this trip were Pentax K-5 and Sony RX100.
The start of my trip to Lofoten Islands was rather eventful, no thanks to Qatar Airways’ change of flight timing five weeks prior to departure. My initial flight plan consists of 4 legs: Singapore-Doha and Doha-Oslo via Qatar Airways, then Oslo-Bodø and finally Bodø-Leknes via Scandinavian Airlines/ Widerøe Airlines. The Singapore-Doha flight was axed for some god-knows-why reasons.
Thank goodness for some excellent service recovery works by Mr James Ng at Qatar Airways’ Paragon office ensured that I need not make changes to connecting flights and accommodation. Kudos to him! He got me on a Singapore-Kuala Lumpur flight so that I can continue my onward journey to Doha. But it adds another leg to my tiresome flight plan while spending one full day on flights and transit. I took that as a head up for my future South America trip.
Qatar Airways’ Flights to Oslo
Despite the initial booboo, my first travel with Qatar Airways was rather impressive. The aircraft looks new and the seats are comfortable enough for my liking. The legroom space is adequate for their Economy class. But I think more efforts are needed in their meals and entertainment system. I can hardly sleep on flights so I need plenty of videos to keep me entertained throughout the journey. My mobile phone loaded with movies and seasons of The Big Bang Theory will always be on standby just in case.
My first Norwegian experience
I got my much needed move-around time at Oslo Gardermoen Airport after three flights. The modern airport in its woody Scandinavian design is good-looking and very easy to navigate around. It’s definitely among my favourite airports for transit with ample comfortable seats.
And then my first experience on Norwegian’s infamous price level at one of the restaurants. My egg and bacon breakfast set and a bottle of Imsdal 0.7l mineral water cost me NOK 158 which is a whopping SGD 26! Thank goodness it tastes great.
The next flight brought me to Bodø where I hopped onto a smallish Widerøe Airlines’ aircraft De Havilland DHC-8-100 Dash 8 to Leknes. My Backpack will not fit into the overhead compartment and also barely fit underneath the seats. But it’s just a short 30 minutes flight so all is good.
The Arctic wonderland
I picked up my Toyota Prius from Avis Car Rental at the small Leknes Airport but they ran out of GPS despite me reserving for one. The friendly Norwegian staff assured me that I do not need it as the only major road here on Lofoten Islands is E10. He gave me a map after showing me the car and waved goodbye. That’s not very comforting since it’s my first overseas left-hand drive and in late winter condition. Nevertheless, I am on my way to Reine village after connecting my phone to the car’s head unit, playing familiar songs in an unfamiliar land.
And my, the landscape here is truly stunning even on an overcast day. I cannot help but stop the car at the side of the road on many occasions (safely of course!), to take in the beauty of this stunning wonderland.
Perhaps to make my maiden drive on Lofoten Islands a more memorable one, the kind Viking Gods decided to let me witness my first snowfall.
Then there’s the nice looking bus stop hut against a beautiful backdrop. The buses do not seem to run often when I was there during early May. I suppose the frequency will be better during the summer. But I would highly recommend getting a rental car as it offers so much more freedom, allowing me to take as many photos while I move along.
The jaw-dropping scenery of Lofoten Islands never fails to wow me as I drive towards Reine village. The Islands located above the Arctic Circle has such dramatic mountain landscapes rising from the sea that makes it a wonderful place for landscape photography.
STAY: Reine Rorbuer
It took me a while to reach Reine Rorbuer since I stopped to take photos way too often. The Reine Rorbuer against the backdrop of Reinebringen is such a wonderful view. Reine is also one of the most picturesque fishing villages on Lofoten Islands and a great base to explore the surrounding coastal areas.
The colourful Rorbuer, similar to those around Lofoten Islands, are traditional cottages for fishermen in the past but many are now refurbished as accommodation for the tourists. The prices are rather steep but I take it as an essential part of my Lofoten Islands experience. There are also extra fees for bed linens and clean up upon check out since this is not a hotel.
The check in was fuss free, the friendly receptionist told me that I am their only guest for the next three days. And the kitchen is closed so I will have to drive out for food. The Rorbuer for my stay is called Trineloftet which has three different sections: Entrance + Bathroom, Living + Study area and the bedroom on the highest level.
The stairs leading up to the Living + Study area.
And the bedroom with a low ceiling where I knocked my head on several occasions.
There is a rack of Cod stockfish being hanged to dry right outside of Trineloftet and the smell is something which I can remember till now. This is one common sight at most of the fishing villages around the islands anyway. Overall, the stay was really pleasant and everything works well for me. I particularly enjoy walking around the compound of Reine Rorbuer as the surrounding views are just astonishing.
The scenery perks me up despite the tiredness from all the commuting and I went out immediately after a quick freshen up to explore Reine.