It was bright and sunny this morning when I got up….for all of about 15 minutes! So I decided I’d try and get to Skrova. Skrova, which is about 20 minutes by ferry from Svolvaer, offers the best views of the Lofoten Wall, the line of mountains that stretch nearly the whole length of the Lofoten Islands(apparently!) It has some great beaches so I’ve heard and offers some great opportunities when it comes to photography, if you’re lucky enough to get to see it in good weather. Skrova has been a centre for fisheries and whaling for years.
Two of the students who were staying at the Sjohuscamp, were going to Skrova too because they were supposed to stay there until Saturday. So we decided to walk there together. There was a French couple also staying at the Sjohuscamp and when we got there, they were there too. They had already asked the staff on board if the ferry was going and they said that they weren’t sure and it would probably be better to come back for the 1 o’ clock ferry. Even then they weren’t sure if that would be going because of the high winds. Well I thought if they weren’t sure if it was going, how could I be sure if it was going to come back?
I went to the tourist office to see if there were any other alternatives. The girl there said I had a few other options: 1)taking the bus at 12.30pm to Stokmarkness, arriving at 2.20pm and taking the Hurtigruten back. This sounded great but, the uncertainty was whether the Hurtigruten would stop at Svolvaer on the way back southbound. If the winds were too strong, then they’d have to go straight to Bodo and arrive there at 2am. I would then have to start looking for a place to stay at that time of the morning.2) I could go to the Viking Museum in Borg. But I had just missed the 11.10am bus and the next one was at 13.45pm, which would get me there at 14.45pm and give me an hour to see the museum. The only thing was, the next bus back wasn’t until 9pm. 5 hours to kill and without getting plastered drunk, which I didn’t have the money for, what else was there to do there? Not a lot. 3) My last option was joining a group that were being shown around the Gallery Harr in Henningsvaer at 7pm.
There was going to be a presentation at 7pm and then we could spend a while after that looking around the gallery and the shop. The bus back was at 20.15pm. So I decided to go to the Gallery Harr. If it had been earlier on in the holiday I would have considered the second option but I went for the safer one this time.I had lunch in Bacalao and had a burger, on a bed of salad, new potatoes and delicious dip. It had started snowing again, so it was nice to be inside, with the fire on and those wonderful photos of Anders Finsland to look at.
I got to Henningsvaer early and just chilled in the Brygge Hotel. The gallery was open from 6.30pm and the guy behind the counter, the owner, I think, only charged me for the group price of 65NOK instead of 80NOK. The Gallery Harr used to be a fish factory and when the painter Karl Erik Harr said that he wanted to display some of his paintings in Henningsvaer, the fish factory was changed into the gallery. It celebrated its 20 year anniversary last year.
There are 3 floors, all showing paintings of artists such as Karl Erik Harr, Even Ulving, Thorolf Holmboe and Gunnar Berg amongst others. The ground floor is the main gallery, with the presentation room. The paintings are spread out over the first 2 floors and the third floor is mostly photographs of the fishermen and their work. There are also 1 or 2 examples of Lofoten Rugs that the people used to make. I liked Gunnar Berg’s paintings. But I especially liked Karl Erik Harr’s ones. They depict and were influenced by the fjords, the landscape and the way of life of the people of his coastal home.
On the second floor there is a section of his drawings and I really liked those. You have to be really good to able to draw well. Harr’s paintings are exhibited all over Norway, in churches and galleries and even on some of the coastal steamers such as the M.S. Nordkap. He was a painter, graphic designer, illustrator and author. I wouldn’t mind having one of his drawings on my wall. At 7pm the group arrived and the owner brought us all into the presentation room and showed us a video of Alf Jensen’s photos, put to music, with the sounds of nature and sea life. It was well done and lasted for about 20 minutes. Then the gallery owner gave an explanation about the gallery itself and the paintings (I think), in Norwegian.The gallery was only open this evening for the group but from tomorrow onwards, it was going to be open from 11am to 4pm until May and even longer during the summer. It was a lovely gallery and shop. www.galleri-lofoten.no I’ve been told that Henningsvaer is absolutely mobbed in the summer.
The gallery was closing as I left, so I headed back up the street to catch the bus that was due to arrive at 8.15pm. I flagged it down and on the bus, got talking to the driver. He was saying that it would be a good idea to come back here during the midnight sun, from 23rd May until 23rd July and to hire a car. Of course the prices are more expensive in the summer but if you have the money, he said it’s worth doing it.
The storm that was expected yesterday announced its arrival loudly at 2am in the morning. God man, the hailstones were being pelted against the windows, there was a very loud clap of thunder and several flashes of lightning, with the water thrashing itself against the jetty outside. The worst of it only lasted for about 10 minutes. I was kind of hoping that it would go on for longer as I could see it right outside my window and would have been happy to sit and watch it for a while but it died down for the most part after 10 minutes.