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  • Writer's pictureJeanne Marie

Lofoten Islands, Day 11

Of course I booked an excursion that starts at 8 am. I wasn't really thinking that we wouldn't be in bed until after 1 am. So there we go, another early breakfast. I had expected the dining room to be fairly empty from the late night, was I wrong! Breakfast opens at 7 am and there was a long line! Mark eats super fast, so no worries.

The excursion today is the Vesterålen Islands panorama by bus. We starteed in the port town of Harstad. Harstad is located on the largest island (Hinnøya) in Norway and the largest town population (25,000) on an island. The first stop was Trondenes Kirke, a church located on a peninsula. It is the northernmost stone church in the world from medieval days. It was built 1180 - 1440 and dedicated to St. Nicholas. The church's priest shared a "mini service" for us with the Lord's Prayer, Psalm 23, and a hymn which we could sing in our native language. There was a museum next to the church which included some artifacts from pre-viking and middle ages and another exhibit on the town's shipbuilding history.

While on the bus, we passed Kivæoya which is also called the Island of Animals since there are many animals on this small island of less than 200 people. We passed some fjords with salmon farms in the cold waters. We did stop a few times to get out for photos. At one point, the bus had to drive onto a ferry to get across the Gullesfjorden (long fjord) to Flesnes. Little known fact on why the farms were painted red. In the 1800's, the lowly farmers wanted to paint their farms and barns to protect the wood, but they could not afford paint. The farmers would use animal blood to paint their buildings. Of course it was really smelly in the summer. If you had enough money, you would paint your house white. You would be able to see who had money in your town by the color of their house. Following tradition, farm houses and barns are still painted red, but with conventional paint. On the way back to the ship, we drove through Sigerfjord. It is a small town, but has two notable references. The painter, Edvard Munch's sister lived in the town and he would regularly visit her. Also the reigning queen of Norway enjoys the town's art museum and will secretly visit the town in the summer.

We returned to the boat at a different port than we started. As we were crossing over a bridge, our boat was crossing under the bridge directly below the bus. Passengers on the boat were out on deck waving Norwegian flags. It was quite a sight!

For the meals, they changed things up. Lunch was a sit down 3-course meal while dinner was buffet. During the afternoon, we traveled through the Raftsundet and then into the Trollfjord. Fjords are actually dead end waterways, while a sund is a waterway between islands. The Trollfjord is a narrow fjord that is 2 kilometers long and has mountains surrounding it that are 2000 - 3600 feet high, rising like cliffs from the water. We sailed down to the end of the fjord and then turned around to continue our voyage. We had two additional stops, one was an hour and second was 2.5 hours. We like to get off and walk around for a while on terre firma. The weather was bad at night when we getting ready for bed and the boat was rocking in all directions.


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