Travel: Arctic Circle, Norway – June 2013 – Day 10

Norway

If you missed the start of this journey, jump to the beginning  here:

Day Ten

TRAVEL DETAILS:

Svolvaer to Henningsvaer

SOUNDTRACK:

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BLURB:

Wake up Svolvaer. Head on foot, over the bridge onto the seemingly deserted industrial spot (Bukkedauen leads to Gunnar Bergs Vei). You’ll get up front and personal with stock fish hanging off the a-frames, drying in the air, lots of severed fish heads adding to the vibe. There’s a concrete pier that stretches out into the sea and an enigmatic statue with one arm raised, placed out to sea at the entrance to the port welcoming visitors who come in by boat. There’s not a lot else to see in Svolvaer. Some nice modern café spots by the marina itself. They run high speed rib tours (2 hours) to Trollfjord or more sedate 4 hour tours, but we didn’t bother: we’d done enough ferries and water journey’s to give us a flavour of what it would be like.

Leaving Svolvaer you’re into a slow day because the next destination – Henningsvaer – is only 15 miles away. Henningsvaer is a must to visit and sleep over. So either you find things to kill time (small road trips) or you don’t spent the previous night in Svolvaer, but stay somewhere else and just pass through on the way to Henningsvaer. The drive into Henningsvaer is very memorable. It’s a tiny, tiny place, hanging off the coast connected by thin strips of twisting roads and single-lane bridges. Once there, you should definitely eat something at Klatrekafeen, a canteen style café / bar built to serve the large number of mountain climbers who use the area. If they’re serving “bacalao” then do not hesitate to order it. Almost as good as my mum used to make and that is saying something.  For supper, there are several very good places to eat. We opted for Fiskekrogen.

To sleep: if you can find a room, I would definitely book into Henningsvaer Bryggehotell. We weren’t able (even 2 months in advance). Instead we ended up in Finnholmen Brygge – which was OK but I  think Bryggehotell would have been more to my flavour.

travel photo svolvaer arctic circle norway - badly parked audi  - image copyright David J Rodger

Svolvaer – badly parked audi – image  David J Rodger

Random parking. But in a way this kind of sums of Svolvaer to me. Expensive and luxury items surrounded by a little bit of chaos. I’d certainly go back there.

Day 10. Lazy morning. Sat downstairs outside a cafe that did free refills. A couple of hours there just letting moments slide by. Then back to the hotel and time to leave Svolvaer. Our next destination is Henningsvaer, only 15 KM away so it’s a strange day for travel, and lack of it.

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travel photo the road to Henningsvaer arctic circle norway - image copyright David J Rodger

The road to Henningsvaer – image David J Rodger

As soon as we left Svolvaer we find ourselves getting caught in rain. We’re heading towards a significant mountain range. A tunnel punches us through it and on the other side it’s lovely sunshine.

Henningsvaer is like something out of a fairytale. Or Highlander. You leave the main highway 6 KM from it and take a very narrow strip of tarmac that winds back and forth around the shoulders of giant peaks. You’re mainly at sea-level so it feels as if the road has been made artificially, built on top of rubble thrown into the sea to allow it to exist. And then you pop over two small, very steep humpback bridges. Ugly concrete and only wide enough for one vehicle at a time.

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Henningsvaer

travel photo Henningsvaer arctic circle norway - a view of the town sitting on island out to sea connected by bridges

Henningsvaer – view of town sitting on island out to sea connected by bridges – copyright unknown, please advise and I’ll credit

Abruptly the road and the bridges sweep you out to sea. And you’re jumping between small clusters of land. Henningsvaer is popular with mountain climbers and fishing. I’m neither but this photo, taken by a mountain climber (name unknown) provides a perfect birds-eye view of the route leading to Henningsvaer. The town itself is two tiny pieces of land lying parallel to each other, sitting out in the ocean, separated by a stretch of water. A small tank bridge has been slapped between them at one end and smothered in tarmac to connect them, thereby doubling the size of Henningsvaer. It’s a remarkable and unique place. And we’re spending the day and night there..

travel photo arctic circle norway - tourist map of Henningsvaer

Tourist map of Henningsvaer

Here’s an alternative view of the place. You can see how the road hugs the shoulders of the mountain before the bridges start popping you over water and out into the sea. The town itself is tiny. And very, very, chilled out. We had a hotel at point (10) on the map, so you had to travel down one length and then cross over and come back on yourself. Despite the small distances it still felt as though we were very remote from anything.

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travel photo Henningsvaer arctic circle norway - old fishing hut  - image copyright David J Rodger

Henningsvaer – old fishing hut – copyright David J Rodger

travel photo Henningsvaer arctic circle norway - main town  - image copyright David J Rodger

Henningsvaer – main town – image David J Rodger

Downtown. There’s actually only one main street to the place, which runs more or less from the big concrete hump back bridge through to the “tank bridge” that crosses over onto the second, smaller island.

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travel photo Henningsvaer arctic circle norway - Nord Norsk Klatre Skole - poster

Henningsvaer – Nord Norsk Klatre Skole – poster

Poster. Remember the photo I snapped back in Svolvaer the previous night. The two giant’s teeth left jutting up from the rocky mountain ridge above the town.

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travel photo Henningsvaer arctic circle norway - Klatrekafeem Krambua Overnatting

Henningsvaer – Klatrekafeem Krambua Overnatting

A cornerstone of the mountain climbing tradition that is building up in Henningsvaer and an insanely comfortable place to grab a drink and some food. The food. Oh my god, the food. They had bacalao on the menu. This is something my mum used to make for us all the time. So I ordered it. When it arrived it was swimming in this top layer of spiced oil, which was perfect for dunking your bread it. The food was amazing. I think this place would be a treasure trove of atmosphere and memories if you were hear on a cold spring or autumn evening, exhausted from a climb and hungry for food and ale.

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travel photo Henningsvaer arctic circle norway - Graffiti In Cod We Trust Pobel  - image copyright David J Rodger

Henningsvaer – Graffiti “In Cod We Trust” by Pobel – image David J Rodger

travel photo Henningsvaer arctic circle norway - stunning waterside view with mountains reflecting on surface  - image copyright David J Rodger

Henningsvaer – stunning waterside view – copyright David J Rodger

This is taken from the “tank bridge” that connects the two small strips of land at their far end, I’m looking back down the stretch of water that separates them. Just beautiful, isn’t it.

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travel photo Henningsvaer arctic circle norway - cyclist  - image copyright David J Rodger

Henningsvaer – cyclist – image David J Rodger

A cyclist enjoying the road. Gives you a sense of the 6KM journey from the main highway to and from Henningsvaer.

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travel photo Henningsvaer arctic circle norway - arctic beach with turquoise water and white sands  - image copyright David J Rodger

Henningsvaer – arctic beach with turquoise water and white sands – image David J Rodger

Just before you return to the main highway (which is there running along the base of the mountain) you discover an incredible beach. There were cars parked all along the road – already narrow in the first place. So we just pulled over and took and wander down. There were families, placing wood on a bonfire reading for lighting in a few days when it would be mid-summer’s eve celebrations. People were sitting around with small BBQs, beers and coffee. Lovely atmosphere.

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travel photo Henningsvaer arctic circle norway - painted house and graffiti by mr hmm  - image copyright David J Rodger

Henningsvaer – painted house and graffiti by Mr. Hmm?? – image David J Rodger

One of the houses on “our side” of the two islands, where we were sleeping, had covered its lower floors in artwork. And then I noticed Mr.Hmm?? Same character I saw Svolvaer. was this his work or had he just overlaid his character on top?

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travel photo Henningsvaer arctic circle norway - view from hotel window  - image copyright David J Rodger

Henningsvaer – view from hotel window – image David J Rodger

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READ DAYS 11 ONWARDS HERE

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