Friday, July 28, 2017

Will the sun ever go down ..? Nor Way! We are in Lofoten

You can’t help but hum George Michael’s… “don’t let the sun go down on me” now that we are in the Arctic Circle.
We are currently cruising through perpetual daylight. Not being accustomed to a room with a window, it really is quite surreal when you wake through the night thinking it is morning, but the clock says only 1 am.
For the first time during this trip the Sea Princess lowered its tenders to take us ashore. On a world cruise, there is no such thing as Priority Tendering, as those who do not qualify would only fill one tender anyway.  Tickets are given out in the selected dining room at a first-in best dressed system.  We were booked on a private tour with 16 others and we queued early to make the first tender. 
Once ashore we were welcomed by Princess staff, eagerly handing out hot soup to get you started.  We had time for seconds as we had a bit of a hiccup with the start of our trip.
The representative of our company was there to greet us and confirmed that our bus was on its way.  Norwegian 15 minutes is a little slower than Australian 15 minutes.  Things move slower in the cold, maybe time does too. We see a bus arrive but it stopped some distance from us. We watched as the driver and guide popped the bonnet and inspected the engine.  Eventually, the guide came over and told our representative that the bus was broken!  The representative told us, “that’s ok, I have another bus, but you all won’t fit. Good news, another bus is on its way but you will need to split in two.  So, 10 of the more nervous passengers raced onto the first bus.  The six of us used to private tour hiccups hung back, knowing that all will work out in the end.  And it did!  The bus had plenty of room for us to move around as the best scenery changed from side to side.
Lofoten is made up of islands, and you can travel to each one over bridges or undersea tunnels. The landscape is mesmerising and the homes that dot the countryside are built new, or restored in traditional fashion.  Predominately timber, we are told it is preferred as they are easier to heat.  Dirt is placed and grass is grown on the roofs to help with insulation and coming back into fashion.  Getting long, don’t worry, just stick a goat up there.
First stop was a glass blower; well not a lot of blowing but he did make a cute little bird.  Different to one we saw in Venice - here they were showing how they added colour to give a marble effect. 
It’s all ‘bout that cod, ‘bout that cod, no salmon, It’s all ‘bout that cod, ‘bout that cod, no salmon. Yep we are now in the part of the world where it is all about the fishing…  and our next stop was Sund. Visiting a local museum, about what?, you guessed it , fishing!  Among the exhibits there is a blacksmith come artist, who shows examples of how he forges his wrought iron sculptures using traditional methods.
How much fish can one man eat?  To ensure a good supply of fish, especially during those winter months when the lakes are frozen over, they dry it.  As you pass each fishing village you will often see these timber structures, they are drying racks for the fish. Nothing is wasted, and today it was mostly the heads that we saw hanging.  Apparently a very popular export to Asia.  Although fresh is abundant, it is the dried and salted cod that is the favourite.  Dried till it is rock hard. When rinsed and stewed, it is softened into a delicious meal (or so I have been told).
Today was cloudy, no rain and it was summer, perfect beach weather if you live in Norway it seems, but wetsuits are mandatory! We pulled at our beanies, tightened our scarfs as we passed these brave beach goers frolicking in the water, whilst we sat in the comfort of our heated van.
Nusfjord is one of Norways oldest and best-preserved fishing villages. Now under UNESCO protection, it has been turned into an open-air museum. The small huts and buildings have been restored to allow you to experience what it was once like.  Just refreshing my memory by reading the guide they gave us, it mentions a Cod Liver Oil factory.  I just want to say, those of us that used to line up for milk every day at school, think ourselves lucky. In Norway they used to line up for a daily dose of Cod Liver Oil…..
Our way back to the ship took us past more of Norway’s beautiful scenery. Just as we were farewelled this morning, we were welcomed back at the dock with a cup of lovely warm chicken broth before boarding the tender back to the ship.
Gaznjo’s Port tip:
If you meet a beautiful woman along the road, count her fingers…. She may be a TROLL

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