The alarm went off at 6.30am this morning. I had packed practically everything last night. I took one last walk around Svolvaer but first had to wait for the really heavy snow to ease off a bit. My God, I’ve never seen it so bad. I was sitting in the conservatory, looking out the window at the snow and I couldn’t even see the street lamps the snow was that bad!
I went to the Thon Hotel and the Receptionist let me go up to the 10th floor, to the conference room, where you can go outside on the veranda. On a clear night, you get a great view of the town from here. One of the Israeli guys on the tour asked the Receptionist if he could do that and he said it was no problem whatsoever. The Receptionists at the Thon Hotel were very friendly and helpful and they seem to be willing to go that extra mile to help people out. Well, even when I had run out of mobile phone credit, they let me use their telephone to ring Bybus to confirm the tour I was going on the next day. The service is excellent there. Even though the weather was bad, it was still nice to be up there in the snow. You could see the church spire towering up above the rooftops and the main square below lit up by 5 streetlamps. On the other side, I could see that the Hurtigruten had just docked. I went into the Styrhuset pub, which is also owned by the Thon Hotel. It was the only bar in Svolvaer that was anything like a real pub.
I had booked a taxi to take me to the airport. As I was going out the door of the Sjohuscamp, I stepped into knee high snow! It was only a five minute drive to the airport and typically, the day I was leaving, the weather was absolutely glorious. The sun was just coming up at 6.45am and the scene before me was absolutely stunning. It took my breath away. Everywhere I looked, there were dark grey, granite mountains, topped with a layer of snow, which glistened in the rising sun. I’m rarely up at 6.30am but this was definitely worth it. I would definitely make the effort to photograph good landscape scenery like this. But sometimes it’s hard to judge when the weather will be good, because as I learned from this trip, the weather can be very unpredictable.
I checked in my bag and the guy said I would have to pick it up at Bodo and check it in again there. That was fine. The flight lasted for about 20 minutes and we landed in Bodo. I had 4 hours to kill and after checking in my bag, I asked the woman at the SAS desk how long it would take to walk to Bodo. She said “Only 15 minutes or so and it’s a pretty straight walk to the centre”.
I got a nice feeling from the very start of the walk into Bodo. The suburb I walked through was quiet and peaceful. I found the centre and went looking for a cafe as I’d had no breakfast. So I found a cafe that was open in the shopping centre. It seemed that most of the shops weren’t open unil 10.15am. Talk about being a small world, the people sitting at the table beside me in the cafe, were the people who were sitting beside me on the flight. After a sandwich and a cup of tea, I had a wander around Bodo. I walked over by the pier and there was a little marina there. It was so nice in the morning sunshine. There was also another piece of Artscape sculpture. Well actually, this piece consisted of 7 sculptures of stone, which to me looked like sponges. They were made by Tony Cragg from the UK and they were placed at different intervals along the pier wall.
I had another walk along one of the main shopping streets, the other side of the shopping centre and went into this little shop, on Storgata, with candles and household decorations in the window. There was a young woman behind the counter and we got talking. She’s from Norway and only recently opened the business in November last year. She makes her own candles in the shop. We were talking about the weather in Norway, the Northern Lights and the midnight sun etc and how it affects people. She was very nice and we were chatting for a good while.
I’m big into crafts and would love to be able to make candles but I’d especially like to learn how to paint/decorate glass. She asked me what my favourite colour was and I said “Red”. Then she showed me how she waxed the candles. She took 2 tear shaped white candles which had one wick going through both of them. She dipped both candles , one at a time, in hot, red wax. Then to finish it off, she put swirls of wax, of another colour, at the end of each candle. To my surprise, she said “Here, you can have these”. I said “Oh, thank you very much”. That was very kind of her. I told her that I write a travel blog and would put a link to her website on my blog. I’m very happy to promote small businesses like this and Anders Finsland photography, especially if they’re starting out or need help. I know it’s not a “huge stage for them to be on”, being on my blog, but the more exposure the better. You just never know. Anything is possible, that’s my motto! The name of her shop is called Bliss Design. The website is “young” yet. She says she will put more photos of her products on it soon. The shop is on Storgata 7. It left me with a lasting and a good memory of Bodo. I would definitely go back there, if I ever have the chance.www.blissdesign.no
I headed back towards the airport shortly after that. I really enjoyed the few hours I had in Bodo. The sunshine also helped but I got a good feeling from the town. There were no delays in the flights on the way back, so I got back to Amserdam at 6pm and my bag was the third one on the baggage belt.
So would I go back? Yes I would. I was just very unfortunate with the weather these 10 days but I did quite a lot of things and went to see a lot of places. I was glad that I didn’t hire a car because of so much snow and ice on the roads. I made as much use as I could of the buses, considering the bad weather. I did get to take a group tour, stayed out in Hov, did a Swing dancing workshop, which was great and ok, I didn’t see the Northern Lights, but hey, you can’t have everything, now can you? To get a good view of the Northern Lights, I learned that you need to have no light pollution and more importantly, a clear sky. I was prepared for some bad weather and the cold. I knew beforehand that it might be difficult to get places without a car and it was also obvious to me that some of the tours might not be running because of the time of year. It’s all part of the experience of traveling, part of the ups and the downs. I did make use of my thermal underwear though- 3 times actually. Well worth the money I invested in them. It was an enjoyable holiday. The Lofoten Islands are beautiful and the people were very friendly. So I would recommend going there.