Day 4: Å – Svolvær – Henningsvær
Unfortunately, we already had to leave the beautiful Å for our next destination. We started at 9 a.m. with the bus from Å, heading to Svolvær which is a 3.5 hours bus ride away. With more time we would have made another stop about half the way. There are two attractions, which we particularly would have loved to see – the fishing village Nusfjord and the Viking Museum in Borg. Maybe next time! The bus ride again was quite scenic – riding the bus was always a bit like a sightseeing trip of its own. The coaches were – like everything there – quite expensive but always punctual and comfortable. We could stow our luggage down on the bus, and after some time we finally reached Svolvær.
Our “hotel” was within walking distance from the bus station, and we were greeted cheerily by the young staff. With around 70 Euro per night, the Svolvær Sjohuscamp was the cheapest option we could find in Svolvær when we were planning the trip and searched the internet. We had booked a double room with shared kitchen and lounge. The wooden room turned out to be tiny and had a shaky, unstable looking (and sounding) bunk beds, two uncomfortable chairs and barely enough room to have our luggage inside. The rest of the big house was much better – the lounge for common use was spacious, and we could use the kitchen. The bathrooms were clean but had to be shared. Unfortunately, it was a bit noisy – you could hear the people in the room next door and above and in front of the room door, where the lounge is, and later there were also young people sitting directly in front of our window where benches are, drinking their beer. It was all a bit too much for us coming from a spacious and peaceful Rorbu in Å, where all you could hear at night was a seagull. The location was great though – only a short walk away from everything, including the marketplace, the harbour and the bus station. The house is primarily on the water, quite scenic. We left the guesthouse soon for a sightseeing trip into Svolvær.
Svolvær is the biggest city on the Lofoten with around 4.000 inhabitants. When we walked into the centre with the busy little marketplace and the harbour you could see already the difference, there was much going on with many tourists and cafes, pubs and restaurants. At the dock, they offer tours to the Trollfjord among others, and you can buy fish and seafood right from a boat – I couldn’t resist and got myself some delicious shrimps! At the marketplace, there is also the helpful tourist information, where we got information on a ferry connection from Harstad to Tromsø, which we wanted to take a few days later.
After getting the first impression of Svolvær, we took a bus to visit Henningsvær, a little fishing village set on a string of small islands. We had read that it’s a bit like the Venice of the Lofoten. It wasn’t really, but it still turned out to be beautiful with the ocean around, the mountains and the Rorbu. We just walked around there and went to some rocks and wooden racks called “hjell“, where they dry stockfish or codfish, enjoying the views. We also found out, that the Norwegians really love their waffles – there were even children selling them out in their garden. We had some time left because the bus back to Svolvær would leave only after 8 p.m., so we got dinner at a nice restaurant, overlooking the water. I couldn’t resist when I saw that they offer whale meat. (*Whale meat and products are restricted btw. Visitors to Norway are not allowed to bring it outside the country), I had to taste it once in my life. My friend asked me later if I felt guilty, well I said no. It didn’t really taste good. Maybe because it also lacks spices. Being an islander myself and coming from a fishing village in the Philippines, fish and marine life is our life. We eat it. What I felt wrong about was that it was insanely expensive.
When we came back to Svolvær after a thirty-minute bus ride, it was still bright enough to walk around a bit. So we took a look at the little island Svinøya, which is connected with Svolvær with a bridge. In Svinøya there was a lot of Rorbu-accommodation, restaurants and there seemed to be a party for elderly people with live music – not exactly what we were looking for. But I got some beautiful photos of the otherwise less impressive area.