I had stayed a second night in my cute honeymoon suite, spending the day with updating my blog and going for a short hike. But after two days I had to move on. It was still a long way to Gibraltar, or at least to Bergen, where I had a plane to catch. And so I parted from Unstad with a heavy heart.
On the upside: the wind had died down. But on the downside the temperature had dropped as well and showers of sleet and hail continued throughout the day. Winter had returned to the Lofoten. Twice I had to seek shelter from bad hailstorms in one of the many bus shelters on the way. Locals confirmed, that spring was about four weeks late this year. Tough luck!
Via Nappstraumen tunnel I crossed over to the Flakstadøya, one of the main islands of the archipelago. The tunnel turned out to be better than its reputation, and apart from the very noisy ventilator, it was an easy pass.
Given the bad weather I decided against the detour to Nusfjord, one of Lofotens’ oldest fishing villages. I later learned, that I had been right in my decision to forego the visit. Other travellers confirmed my suspicion of the place looking too spruced up. I was circling Kilanleira and Flakstadpollen with beautiful white sandy beaches and cristall clear water. Once again I had the strong impression of some Pacific islands, but only as long as I blended out the craggy and hostile mountains in the background.
Flakstad camping was still closed, so I continued on to Ramberg, just a few kilometers away and less exposed to the northern wind. As a further bonus, the campsite came with a restaurant, so no cooking needed this evening.
During the night I woke to the rain hammering against my tent and the flaps were pushed in by the wind. I went outside to check, but the guy lines were still well secured. What I had mistaken for rain, though, had actually been ice pellets, which were now lying around my tent. I quickly dived back into the warmth of my sleeping bag and hoped for better weather next morning.
On my last day on the Lofoten I only had a short leg of 40km to Moskenes from where I was going to take the ferry back to the mainland. The rain showers continued all morning and I was dawdling over breakfast. But the weather forecast did not proclaim any change soon, and grudgingly I packed my gear and the soaked tent. I really do hate packing wet gear (Have I mentioned already, I am a sissy?). So far I had been blessed with dry weather, something I was gettig accustomed to very easily. Well, beggars can’t be choosers, so I rode out.
With everything packed, I reluctantly set off in the direction of Moskenes. At least the cycling went easy. My bike was just rolling, eating away the kilometers. Quickly I reached Hamnøya, a tiny fishing village just short of Reine, one of the popular places on the Lofoten. The red rorbuer formed a nice contrast to the clouded, freshly powdered mountains.
Reine, however, turned out to be a bit of a letdown, though. Admittedly, its location, nestled between the high mountains and the fjord, is sensational, but I found the village too touristy. Originally, I had considered hiking up on Reinebringen, the mountain towering above the village. The view from up there down on Reine and far over the Lofoten mountains is supposed to be breathtaking. But the weather was to bad, the climb would have been very tricky on the wet rock and fresh snow. Additionally, as the mountains were still in the clouds, there would’t have been much to see. Who would have thought, that an hour later most of the clouds were gone and the sun was shining bright as ever?
I continued to Moskenes, and was rather surprised to find absolutely no infrastructure at the pier. No café, no shelter, no shop. Apart from the camp site further on, there was just the barrier at the ramp. As Moskenes is one of the main gates to the Lofoten, one would think, that there would be some facilities or amenities for the waiting passengers. Since I still had a couple of hours to kill until the ferry’s departure, I headed on to Å i Lofoten. Halfway I found a little restaurant in a tiny dwelling called Sørvågen, where I had excellent mussels with french fries (I’ve truly lived the life of Riley lately.). While I enjoyed lunch, the sun had come out and I decided to go to Å afterall.
All main attractions – the museums, a local bakery, that is famous for its delicious kanelsnurrer (cinnamon buns) and the café were already closed, everything still being on winter schedule. As I had just eaten anyways, I whiled away the time by strolling through the village, before heading back to Moskenes and the ferry to Bodø.