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This blog post is a reflection of my 300 days in Lofoten, it’s a visual homage to the breathtaking and abundant beauty of this vast changing landscapes. Few words would suffice to describe my saturated emotions, the deep contentment and the existing balance, caused by nature. That, however, would not fill a blog post so let me describe and dive into the issue more deeply. I arrived in January 2018 to take up my position as Managing Director at Hattvika Lodge in Ballstad, Lofoten. The time of the midnight sun. The midnight sun refers to the sun when it is still visible at the time of the lowest point of its orbit in the sky at midnight, and in areas north of the of the (Arctic) polar circle  in summer. At that time, winter was still not here, not so, the northern lights.

The aurora is a luminous phenomenon through excited nitrogen and oxygen atoms of the high atmosphere whose appearance fascinates me again and again. With incredible elegance, these lights dance across the night sky, mesmerising and captivating observers in a vacuum of joy, fascination and wonder. Definition: Aurora borealis

In winter, the focus of outdoor activities is as follows. Northern Lights Photography, Ski Touring, Sea Kayaking, Surfing, Fishing, Mountaineering and Snowshoeing Hikes. There are no lifts on the Lofoten Islands, except for two very short children’s ski lifts. So all the tours we are talking about are, more or less, remote backcountry ski tours. As most of the peaks do not or only seldom exceed 1000 meters in altitude, it is common to go out for two to three ski tours a day. Unspoilt slopes, vast pristine terrain and descents, in every angle of steepness, are here enjoyable throughout the winter.

Hattvika Lodge, Discover Yourself - YouTube

In Lofoten, there are only a few trails, paths and mountain tours, which are signposted and described as such. On my days off I was always out to explore new terrain and with some experience, this is an outdoor enthusiast’s heaven! For guided tours, of course, I relied on trails and mountains well known to me and in the next video you will see such a guided tour with crampons and ice axe to Skottinden 671 m.

HATTVIKA LODGE, SHARING ADVENTURES - YouTube

The climate is mild in winter due to the fast flowing ocean current of the Atlantic Gulf Stream and the thermometer rarely shows below -10 degrees. Among the other significant differences compared to the high alpine area in Central Europe is that, in the most real sense of the word, you are outdoor when you walk out the door. And last but not least it’s the size, the amount of space, which results from the sparsely populated landscape, about 24000 inhabitants in Lofoten. So no wonder that the outdoor activities always feel like mini-expeditions. But let’s change now from the mountain peaks to another level, to sea level and the history of Norway’s fishing industry.

Norway is one of the largest fishing nations in the world and the Norwegian fishing zone extends to the banks of Newfoundland. Mostly cod (Torsk / Skrei), saithe (Sei), haddock (Hyse), herring (sild), mackerel (mackerel) and shrimp (Reker) are caught. In addition, in the past 20 years, fish farming has become more critical in so-called aquacultures. Especially salmon and trout are bred there. Fish and fish products account for 5.3% of the country’s total exports, making them the third largest exporter after oil & gas and metals.

Norway also had a very long whaling tradition. With the ban on commercial whaling in 1986, this industry has largely lost in insignificance. Norway is one of only a few countries in the world who is out for commercial whaling again – albeit in relatively small proportions. This is internationally very contradictory and is strongly criticized by the European Union. On the subject of fishing there is, of course, another, not to be forgotten product, namely fish oil and so the next picture shows you a plant for the production of fish oil. 

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While the last two blog posts were based on my adventures journey to some of the hidden tribes of Ethiopia, this last blog post will be divided into a historical sightseeing tour of Ethiopia, Gondar & Lalibela and a (maybe) more relaxed, less challenging but definitely superb wilderness area, the Simien Mountains.

The picture shows you the second part of my journey, carried out with Ethiopian Airlines and a private driver. The first stop was at Bahir Dar (1830m) and on arrival, I took a boat trip to Lake Tana – Ethiopia’s largest lake, covering 3673 square km and the source of the famous Blue Nile River. Many of the small islands scattered across this lake shelter monastic churches, some founded as early as the 14th Century. The walls of several of these churches are ornately decorated with stunning mural paintings. but there is more to see like the monastery of Ura Kidane Mehret on the Zeghie peninsula and Blue Nile Falls, known locally as Tissisat (“Water That Smokes”).

From kings and churches to emperors and castles: another not-to-be-missed stop on Ethiopia’s Historic Route is what has been called the ‘Camelot’ of Africa: Gondar, the first capital city of the Ethiopian empire, which began in 1632 with the reign of Fasilidas. In Gondar, there are a dozen castles built by various emperors over the course of 236 years. The city seems more European than African and also has Islamic influences. Today, I visited the residences and baths of Fasilidas, the church of Debre Berhan Selassie (Light of the Trinity), which is located at the summit of a hill and surrounded by interior is decorated with beautiful frescos. Following, the Gondor Castle.

Gondar is a Royal and an ancient historical city of Ethiopia. Its the home of many Emperors & Princess who lead the country from the 12th century to the last decade of the 20th century. To mention just a few Emperor Fasiledes, Empress Mentwab, Iyasu I, Tewodros II, Empress Taitu. It is the home of the highest mountain in Ethiopia, Ras Dashen, and the Simien Mountains National Park. Gondar Castle, dubbed the Ethiopian Camelot, is not a single castle, but instead is the name given to the entire complex of castles and palaces in the area. The oldest, most impressive of Gondar’s imperial structures is the two-storeyed palace of Emperor Fasilidas, built of roughly hewn brown basalt stones held together with mortar.

Around 2km northwest of the piazza lies Fasiladas’ Bath, which has been attributed to both Fasiladas and Iyasu I. The large rectangular pool is overlooked by a charming building, thought by some to be a vacation home. It’s a beautiful and peaceful spot. Although the complex was used for swimming, it was likely to have been constructed for religious celebrations, the likes of which still go on today. Once a year, it’s filled with water for the Timkat celebration. After the water is blessed by the bishop, the pool becomes a riot of splashing water, shouts and laughter as a crowd of hundreds jumps in. The ceremony replicates Christ’s baptism in the Jordan River and is seen as an important renewal of faith.

Besides the Gondar Castle, there are numerous historical sites, such as the Debre Birhan Selassie Church. From the outside, it is rather plain, but its interior has made it one of Ethiopia’s top tourist attractions. The walls depict biblical scenes and saints and the ceiling is covered with the faces of hundreds of angels. Icons of the Holy Trinity (three identical men with halos) and the Crucifixion have pride of place above the entrance to the Holy of Holies.

Since I am outdoor rooted you can imagine that, after spending two days of historical sightseeing, I got, itchy-feet’! It was about time to get out there again and so I went next morning to Simien Mountains. In Amharic, ‘simien’ means ‘north’.  Six hundred million years ago, the mountains were an enormous volcanic mass; rain and ice have carved deep fissures into them and rivers have continued the work of erosion, creating one of the most significant sculptures on the planet:  peaks, canyons, gorges, clefts and pointed amethyst-colored pinnacles like obelisks. The Simien Mountains of Ethiopia offer superb wilderness trekking with stunning scenery, enormous cliffs and escarpments and the chance to spot unique wildlife such as the Walia Ibex and Gelada Baboon. Welcome to the spectacular Simien Mountains.

The main attraction of the Simien Mountains National Park is its biosphere: the steep cliffs and the cool climate at the altitude of the Erica tree line (3600 to 4000 m) have created conditions that are appropriate for the survival of an ibex species (Capra ibex wee) endemic to the Simien Mountains. Gentle highland ridges at altitudes above 3600 meters above sea level, covered with grasses, isolated trees, and the bizarre giant Lobelia are found on the high plateau that ends abruptly at 1000- to 2000-m deep escarpments. There are short and multi-day hikes possible, the scenery is just breathtaking and the wildlife encounters are guaranteed! I just loved watching the endemic Gelada Baboons. The gelada sometimes called the bleeding-heart monkey or the gelada baboon is a species of Old World monkey found only in the Ethiopian Highlands.

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By traveling through Ethiopia you have to expect the unexpected, neither the less I tried to plan and to structure the journey as accurate as possible. Therefore I will display and describe this adventure as happened, providing you, with an authentic process. The title: LUCY of this first (out of two following) blog posts is related to the common name of AL 288-1, several hundred pieces of bone fossils representing 40 percent of the skeleton of a female also known as Dinkinesh, which means “you are marvelous” in the Amharic language. Lucy was discovered in 1974 in Africa, near the village of Hadar. More about: Lucy – Australopithecus

Let me start with a brief overview. Ethiopia has an immense natural, cultural and historical resources. Many argue that the country is the birthplace of humanity. Ethiopia has many different UNESCO world heritage sites and is known for its exciting landscape, ancient religions, and unique alphabet and calendar. There are also more than 80 different ethnicities, with their own distinct culture and language. Ethiopia’s tourism potential is mostly untapped and should be of enormous interest to foreign and local visitors interested in historical, cultural, or eco-tourism expeditions.  Ethiopia has a diversity of wildlife (with many unique, indigenous plant, bird, and mammal species), exotic landscapes, prehistoric sites, and architectural ruins of historical and religious significance.

Currently, tourism and travel contributes only 1.2% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is planned to reach 9.0% of Ethiopia’s GDP by 2024. Many tourist sites in Ethiopia are completely undeveloped and lack the major facilities such as toilets, shops, drinks and resting areas. The relative lack of infrastructure (hotels, restaurants and tour facilities) is a primary inhibiting factor for the development of the tourism sector. With a high volume of transit passengers transferring through Addis Ababa Bole International Airport to global and regional destinations, there is a need for increased international standard accommodation near the airport.  Additionally, as Ethiopia is the headquarter of the African Union and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the city of Addis Ababa serves as a frequent venue for international conferences and events. Ethiopian Tourism Organization (ETO) is focused on developing the tourism sector over the next few years. But before we start the trip now, I like to point out several misunderstood topics about Ethiopia which are trivialized in a big way!

  • Ethiopia is officially the Federal Democratic Republic but in reality an authoritarian regime!
  • Bride kidnapping, also known as marriage by abduction is NOT a sex crime in Ethiopia!
  • Human rights and traditions: Human rights policy of Ethiopia
  • An Assessment of the Law and Practice of  Women rights

Let’s start the journey – The picture below shows you the first part of my tour, fourteen days and about 2200 km.

For thousands of years, the Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia was a crossroads for droves of people migrating to new lands. Today, it is undoubtedly one of the unique places on earth because of the sheer diversity of tribal groups that live in this remote area of the Great Rift Valley. For a long time, I wished to be part of this extraordinary opportunity to immerse in the fabric of some of these societies, including the Mursi, Hamer and Karo tribes, each with their distinct culture. By doing this I knew I had to expect a real adventure with basic conditions. The Omo Valley is an incredible reminder of an Africa that has not yet seen (much) modernization. Addis Ababa lies at an elevation of 2,200 meters; the population is about 3,5 million. The city itself is a universe of its own, and after exploring some parts, I went to the suburbs (big laugh) to dive into the local lifestyle and food tasting.

Beforehand, a couple of months, I had to organize two different drivers for the distinct locations I wanted to see, making sure (laugh again) everything works out, more or less than planned (even more prominent laugh). From Addis Ababa, we drove to the Omo Valley region and enjoyed a boat trip on Lake Chamo to spot hippos and an array of water birds. For the next days, we moved from village to village, witnessing traditional lifestyles. The Mursi traditions, whose women insert large clay plates in their lower lips, and the Hamer, who scar and paint their bodies in a mark of their culture, are incredibly fascinating. Returning to Addis Ababa, after fourteen days, was a good choice as well as a needed break for a conclusion of this adventures trip. Reflecting on this memorable experiences of (more or less) whole cultures, ceremonies, and astounding natural environments while celebrating an Ethiopian Christmas at the Genna Festival. On the way to lake Chamo.

I am sure many things have changed in Ethiopia, but some circumstances haven’t changed at all! While men are not seen, woman do most of the work, and that is, besides to give birth, to collect firewood and walk or stand in line (for hours and hours) to get fresh water.

Drive from Addis to Arbaminch, (450km) via Hossana – The name of Addis Ababa, in Amharic, means “new flower.” Founded in 1886 by Menelik II, it is located at 2,500 meters above sea level in one of the highest parts of the Entoto mountain chain. It enjoys an excellent climate all year round, with an average temperature of 25°C.  Addis Ababa is the third highest capital city in the world, and the altitude may fatigue you quickly so take it easy when you arrive. If you have time in Addis Ababa before/after the trip you can undertake a tour of this fascinating city, and visit the National Museum, take in the city’s tree-lined streets or the bustle of the “Mercato” (market). This colorful market has an array of fascinating goods and curious, providing an excellent place for exploration. Throughout the city, some shops sell typical artisan wares, materials, and antiques. And YES  there is lots of effort regarding changes going on in Ethiopia but as mention (especially in Addis Ababa city) it is a mess in many ways like mismanagement, corruption, and chaotic planning. Sewage, electrical installation, and waste management concepts do exist in a very pure state.

Boat trip on Lake Chamo, drive to Jinka – This morning I enjoy a boat trip on Lake Chamo, one of the best in Ethiopia. There is a chance to spot many hippos and large concentrations of giant crocodiles. Waterbirds abound, and the scenery is truly unforgettable. The lake is about 32km long and provides rich wetland habitat for many species of flora and fauna. In the afternoon we drove to Jinka (250km).

Mursi village visit, Jinka Museum, drive to Turmi – Today my journey began with an excursion to a Mursi village (approx 70km from Jinka). The Mursi are one of the original ethnic groups in Ethiopia. They live in very low huts made of straw leaves and the women like to wear (by tradition !!!) terracotta jewelry on their enormously stretched lower lips and earlobes. The men are famous for their hairstyle. Then I visited the Jinka Museum, which contains the Southern Omo Research Centre’s permanent cultural collection and continuing research of the various ethnic groups and provides an in-depth overview of the people and traditions of the Omo Valley. In the afternoon we drove to Turmi (120km), one of the largest towns in the region. At this point, I like to mention that you have to pay, in one way or the other, for taking pictures while visiting any of the ethnic groups! As you can imagine everybody is asking for money and meanwhile it is very annoying! I tried to use this as my last option and most of the time I was able to trade, food for pictures, which (at least) gave me a better feeling.

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Gravity…, by John Mayr is a great song and describes pretty well how I felt, writing this blogpost. There are moments and places which monopolize me totally, like getting pulled by a gravitational field towards the core. If contentment could be sized, heaviness would be its measurement. I felt delighted, content and centered at that place where time transforms into silence. I had a look in the rear-vision mirror and the small village of Henningsvaer did fade out to a tiny little spot before it disappeared at all. In front of me and still driving west we reached Hamnoy, which connects to the slightly bigger town of Reine. Enclosed the last pictures from Henningsvær.

Moskenesøy is part of the southern group of islands of the Lofoten where the central town is Reine. More villages around Moskenesøy are among others Å i Lofoten,  Sørvågen,  Sakrisøy and Hamnøy. The fishing industry is up till today the primary economic factor all over the Lofoten. Cultivation of salmon or fish farming is prominent, but tourism is catching up rapidly. The Europe road 10 is connecting the island of Moskenesøy with the other northern islands of Lofoten which are all reachable by roads now (since 2007).

Hamnoy & Reine, Lofoten - YouTube

Reine, existing since 1743 is the administrative center of the Moskenes municipal and counts around 400 inhabitants. The village is secluded, well at least in winter it is, because in summer thousands of tourist are rushing around in a fixed and focused ‘selfie’ mode between the cute red photogenic Rorbu houses. Azure blue waters, rugged cliff formations and breathtaking scenery are awarding the village of Reine with majestic features. A place to arrive and to linger. The main livelihood of the Lofoten people is besides the tourism, the fishing industry. Every year in winter, between mid-January and mid-April, hundreds of small fishing boats are gathering. The main catch is the Atlantic codfish. In their prime years, the did catch up to 146.000 tons per season, in 2015 the amount went down to 65.195 tons of Atlantic cod (Tørrfisk) which gets mainly exported.

Å i Lofoten (just click on the following link to see the position of it). Å is a tiny village with approximately 100 people, it hosts an excellent fishing museum which shows you the history and the long tradition of stockfish in Norway. Besides that a real detailed information about the different grading of commodities and the quality expectations will await you there. Until today you will find the Tørrfisk frames all over the Lofoten. Fishing is one big issue here, but do not forget the great hiking possibilities around this area. A paradise with breathtaking views will await you and it is a fantastic adventure to explore flora and fauna of this fare western region of the Lofoten.

A i Lofoten - YouTube

We are unfortunate but for us this lovely place is our turning point. Of course we had planned several detours on the way back to the capital, like a visit at one of our favorite coffee shops! Therefore I’d like to share some of the best coffee places  with you. We marked all kinds of different places on the maps where exploration looked tempting and the next collection of pictures show will you a diverse variety of those regions. Get inspired!

The amount and waves of impressions were immensely right from the beginning of our journey and even it is just 300 km. from Evenes airport to the western village of Å i Lofoten, we covered 1800 km. in 14 days! But now it was time again to find a relaxing and cozy accommodation (after sleeping in the car for several nights) where you get this ‘ welcome home’ feeling as soon as you step in the door. Christiane did find such place quite fast (thx. to the internet) and ..oh yes that was the perfect place! Welcome to Guri, Kristian and the team of HATTVIKA LODGE  in Ballstad.

The refurbished with lots of love, patience and money some old traditional Rorbu (seasonally used fishing houses) and made a real heart touching lodge out of it. Besides that, Ballstad is a real great basecamp and getaway for all sorts of outdoor activities such as seajacking, hiking, mountain biking, stand up paddeling, diving, rock – or alpine climbing. The Hattvika Lodge offers accommodations with a fantastic cozy character in a family style atmosphere. I just love their place (besides all the great tasty food of course). The tours..

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Slowly we were making our way towards the intersection Nr.888 which connects with the E10 just shortly after Vestpollen and continues to Svolvær, the most prominent city of Lofoten. Still, dizzy from what was laying behind us we were breathless by the first visual encounter ‘around the corner.’ No wonder that we called almost everything ‘excessively cheesy’ because it just was to mind-boggling to believe or describe. The natural environment felt surreal, like a miniature world or a movie set up for ‘Lord of the rings.’ The sky did mirror all kinds of colors on the glassy surface of the fjord, no separation, just unity.

Either you are a thief of words ore you have to dig deep into the philosophical aesthetic to come up with some graceful expressions to describe such beauty.

The land of the Troll’s entranced us, and so we did stare at the intangible whose grace overwhelmed us emotionally. Distraught and deeply moved I spy through the viewfinder and realize how my eye continually switches between the solver and the rear sight, like the picture I get by looking through the viewfinder isn’t real. My finger felt glued to the solver of the camera, and it felt like if I was going to take the last pictures of my life. Pure excitement pushed my level of adrenalin to its peak which got only disrupted by gasping for air.

Bird's eye perspective - YouTube

After realizing that the world is not going to perish and that I already hat lots of great shots in my camera I slowly released my finger from the solver. Because of this incredible weather i was real busy with setting up the tripod, changing lenses and filter, calibrate the drone, checking wind direction, the remote control and GPS signals, charging the batteries and finding proper locations for the next lift off with the drone. Hm.. now it’s a good time to mention and place a personal and vital note. On this journey i needed an average of four hours a day to check and clean all the equipment, to reload the batteries and to transfer all pictures and videos. In this four ours I did not include the time for taking the photographs neither the image editing! It is not a secret that the morning light usually provides the best light spectrum for images which means, here at the Lofoten, that photographers have long days because most of them travel north to see and take pictures of the Aurora Borealis. So my days began around 06:30 am and went on to about midnight each day, in order to capture the full range of the incredible north.

Sildpollnes- Church ⇑is a parish church whose origin goes back to 1891. Restored in 1961 and because the church is so close to the main road, it is a major attractive tourist spot. Sildpollen sjøcamp ⇓ lays just next to the curch in Ausnesfjorden, 16 km from Svolvær towards Fiskebøl and about 8 km away from Svolvær Airport – Helle. The mirror reflections in this beautiful Fjord are pure pleasure and is a deception for the eyes. The contours are sharp, the colors unbelievable clear and nuanced, which all adds up to a magnificent mesmerizing and exceptional experience.

Landscape motives and mirror reflections caused by the crystal clear water are blending all into a surreal picture.

We are reaching Svolvær, a city of 5000 souls which is laying on the Gulf stream and therefore has quite a mild climate compare to place on the same latitude as Alaska or Greenland. The average temperature is about + 14° C in July and + 1,8° C in January. The months with the lowest rainfall are May and June where the average is about 40 mm. Svolvaer offers besides the amenities of a city lots of outdoor and exploration possibilities, a real getaway for adventures.

A real tourist magnet is of course the Hurtigruten. Hurtigruta meaning, the fast route, is the traditional name for the Norwegian Mailboat, which was sailing along the 2700 km long Norwegian coastline since 1893! Today it is a combination of cargo, passengers, tourists and cruise industry which are sailing between Bergen and Kirkenes in six to seven days. Whereby the actual mail delivery appointed in 1984. In the summertime, those ships are so passing through Trollfjord and Geirangerfjord.  Here is the link to the different Hurtigruten Ships. 

Svolvaer is quite expensive, and so we just stroll through town, focused on robbing the next coffee shop. The smell was leading us and soon we had two great coffees and some most delicious cinnamon buns with icing on top!!! Satisfied and sipping hot coffee we took our time to find a place for the night. Thank’s for today’s technologies and WIFI we found something which was slightly cheaper than the Thon Hotel. Before leaving town, we made another walk through the idyllic harbor side and drove further to Kabelvag.

At Kabelvåg,  just six kilometers away from Svolvaer we found a cozy small house right next to the sheltered harbor. Finally, a couch to stretch the legs, hot shower, and enough sockets to recharge all batteries. Strolling along the pier, watching the sunset and looking towards the lighthouse gives me a glimpse of an idea on how it must have been hundred years ago when the harbor was packed and jammed with wooden fishing boats. But what had happened next is by far one of the most incredible and indescribable things I have witnessed. The northern lights, a spectacle of nature. Aurora Borealis…, or polar lights are visible when electrically charged particles of the solar winds from the magnetosphere are hiding oxygen-nitrogen atoms at the upper parts of the atmosphere and then ionize. Due to the energy transmission, the electrons are sliding to the outer bound of its shell but later on back in. This process of electromagnetic radiation is emitted and sends out the light.

‘Those messengers of lights’ were causing a real emotional rollercoaster within me and transferred me into amazement, deep respect and..

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I feel unwell by trying to subsume terms like virginity or nativeness into words. Only the name subsume causes me shivers, presses and confines the whole dimension of immensity. A paradox, subsume and immensity! Being here to enjoy the spaciousness of raw and pure nature, in all facets and elements, sparks off the fire of genuine excitement within me.

My amazement spreads unimpeded and moves like the morning fog over the rugged but also mellow landscape while the ocean breeze builds up a salty crystal layer on my dried out skin. Deep-rooted and needy for experiencing the moment transforms misery and sorrow into unity. Its places like that where the death of desires nears definitiveness through fulfilment! Where pain and joy dances in a resonance of tenacity, where the observer disappears, where substance gets significance and where life reduces itself to the final moment. Breathe…

Lofoten, Northwest Norway…, what an abundance of beauty, spiked to the extent by forces of nature which claim their respect. Ragged and spread are the islands as if god seasoned the ocean with it!
We travel to experience and explore new things, and sometimes we look in the mirror, estranged from itself. So do not be surprised if this post about Lofoten and Vesterålen is less of ‘regular’ blog post and more a personal story, a compelling visual saga about the beauty of the country and life itself. On the move with me on this sweeping trip was Christiane, best travel mate ever! Each journey lives behind certain impressions which rise and sink, like the tides. To put things we have seen, felt or listened to into words is one way to share experiences – but not this time! In this case, I’d like to let the pictures tell (most of the stories) for themselves.

Only the phonetic sound of the names Norway or Lofoten unleashed my exploration and discovery instincts for this rich historical northern land. Pictures from those (partly remote) regions moved me from the beginning and now, fall 2017 it was finally my time to visit! Welcome to Lofoten and Vesterålen in Norway. Lofoten was the original name of the island Vestvågøya. The first element is (i.e., “lynx”) and the last part is derived from Norse fótr (i.e., “foot”), as the shape of the island must have been compared with that of a lynx’s foot. To tour the Lofoten was a very emotional journey right from the beginning, surprising and easily disturbing.

Whensoever I sling my legs around the words it usually worked out, but this time it doesn’t seem to be enough. Latitude and longitude serve as references, supplying us with hints and clues but are never able to deliver the whole taste of this mesmerizing landscapes. Everything from the outside, all I perceived and each emotion sank deep into the inner core of the cells. I did not have any tools to handle this sustained amazement which was responsible for the overall resonance. I felt open, vulnerable, exposed, blank but anyhow connected. Ready for the journey we cruised, blessed by the weather and the unpredictability of the next moment.

North coast of Austvågøya, Lofoten - YouTube

For everyone who is intending to visit Lofoten, here comes the first hint: Dig up your treasury of adjective words and do not forget to find descriptions for all kinds of RED, you will need it! I feel dizzy because of the abundance in general, the spectrum of light and the vibrant colors. Having a camera around my neck never felt more unnecessary in which direction I looked I was surrounded by a natural unsurpassable installation of nature. No arrangement could ever compete in comparison to this composition of diversity which was omnipresent in its presence. The challenge for photographers is not to find motives here at the Lofoten; it is to avoid the majority of it!

The follow pics I have taken with the drone between Fiskebøl and Laukvik. Your drone has to be ready at any time for take-off because the weather conditions can change rapidly and most of the time there is just too much wind for a safe flight.

I love the idea of coincidence, the unknown mystery of how and why I encounter things and people. Personalities like Rolf, a down-to-earth Norwegian, a cattle farmer and a very warm and heartfelt person. His Airbnb accommodation, a wooden house near Fiskebøl, offers every needed comfort (in such environment) including a great fireplace.

For all of you, who HAVE NOT looked up till now, on how you get to the Lofoten, here is another hint or recommendation. The easiest way is by flying to OSLO and then change to an onward domestic flight to either EVENES or SVOLVAER. At both places it is possible to rent cars in various deliberations, just make sure to book in advance (especially in summertime). We just choose to drive the main road, the E10, if there was no alternative route to it. Most of the time you can find smaller roads to cruise along, which makes way more fun regarding explorations. Our rented Skoda 4 x 4 had the additional asset…. because we could sleep in it (after moving all our stuff out of the way). But route 888 which starts at Fiskebøl had some more pleasant surprises for us. Rolf mentioned Rolf’s Bar, a small cabin which he offers the community to use and something about a wooden shelter for cyclists. Hm…, what a surprise!

There are no signs but we found booth the place anyway and for those of you who using GPS, here are the coordinates: 68.421272,14.567374We were blown away by the generosity on one side and the convenient architectural surprise on the other. The shelter was a great place for a night, especially with Rolf’s Bar next to, which had a fireplace. We cooked inside the older cabin and laid down on our mattresses and sleeping bags in the newer, stylish ‘shelter.’

Lofoten Austvågøya - YouTube

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