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From the Lofoten to Fauske

Home -> Europe -> Norway -> Travelogue Norway -> 01 & 02 July 2002

Monday 01 July, from the Lofoten to Fauske

We leave early to Svolvær to catch the ferry to Skutvik. We arrive a few minutes after nine and a ferry is just sailing away. Our neighbours were less lucky; they arrive earlier than us, but aren't allowed on the ferry because it is just full. But we can take the next ferry at 10.
Leaving the Lofoten On the boat with our neighboursIt seems as if we leave just in time to escape the bad weather when we look at the sky. From an earlier crossing we had already learned it is wise to bring a coat and indeed, we surely need it in the firm and chilly wind. To the right a picture of Elisabeth with our Dutch 'neighbours' as we keep calling them. The crossing takes two hours and most of the time we spend inside, talking with them. We always like to get to know formerly complete strangers a bit in this way.
Coast near Skutvik Coast near SkutvikIn Skutvik the weather is much better and all cars coming from the ferry drive in one long procession 36 kilometers to Ulsvåg and the E6. The road is narrow and winding, so everybody drives quietly on this only road that goes from Skutvik.
The SagfjordAnd again we drive through a wonderful landscape. We picnic somewhere near Tømmerneset, at the beginning of the Sagfjord. There is also a prehistoric rock drawing of an elk here and according to the travel guide it must be very impressive. Well, we don't agree when we finally find it, but maybe we are spoiled by the many detailed drawings we saw at Alta.
Coast near BødøWhen we arrive at Fauske we first drive on towards Bødø, to the Saltstraum. Here is a narrow opening beween the sea and the fjord (150 meters wide, 3 kilometers long) through which every 6 hours (at ebb and at high tide) 400 million cubic metre water flows, in and out, which creates enormous whirlpools.
Saltstraum SaltstraumEbb tide is just beginning when we have a look and the water is flowing very fast. Fish are caught by the current and kids catch them, one after another. A duck with chicken is being dragged along by the current to the middle of the flow where gulls feast on the helpless fish and maybe also on the chicken.
Campsite at Fauske Campsite at FauskeOur campsite lies directly along the E6, a bit past Fauske. Fortunately it is a quiet road so we don't hear much noise. But it isn't as warm as it used to be the last few days and when we want to sit outside we need a sweater. But all cabins we have had until now, were well isolated and inside it is very comfortable.

Tuesday 02 July 2002, Fauske - Namsos (crossing the arctic circle)

The arctic circleToday we will travel a long distance (more than 500 km.) straight to the south and we leave early. This was the last night with a 24-hour present sun, because we will cross the arctic circle again, this time towards the south. But probably the sun hasn't been shining all night, because it is cloudy and a bit dull when we leave.
The region near the polar circle seems to be flat, but in reality we are on a plateau, surrounded by snowy mountain tops. Although the landscape still has some green vegetation it looks much more desolate than the islands of the Lofoten and the Vesterålen.
GronligrottaDespite the long drive, we also want to do and see something along the way and we choose to visit the Gronligrotta, a cave near Mo I Rana. A very steep and narrow sandy path leads up to a restaurant where we buy tickets. A note states that the trip is not suitable for people with a weak health.
Gronligrotta GronligrottaBut even for the healthy the trip is very difficult. It is a walk of less than 500 meters, but it takes us almost 45 minutes. There are no paths and everywhere water comes from the walls and flows through the cave and there are treacherous holes. There is even a waterfall.
Gronligrotta GronligrottaWe get soaked; this is more a survival trip than a cave walk. Some people even go back. We follow the guide but she can't tell us much about the cave because of the noise of the everywhere-present tumbling water.
Gronligrotta GronligrottaWe have seen our share of caves, but never one so 'natural' as this, that is, so primitive, without pathways and handrails and not much lighting. This is the way a cave should be and it is a real adventure, slithering and sliding through the water and climbing several unstable stepladders.
Glad we are outside again...Once back outside we are proud we have made it, but when we ask if there have ever been accidents the guide answers negatively. But it is almost impossible to imagine that nothing has ever happened in there; in our group was a kid of 5 years old who only had been wailing and a lot of grown-ups didn't look very happy either. The risk of getting a bruised ankle is very high, we think.
Cave certificateJust for fun Elisabeth asks for a certificate to prove that she has made the walk through the cave. While we enjoy a cup of coffee, Marianne, our guide, actually brings the document which proves that Elisabeth really has walked and conquered the Gronligrotta!
FjordSouth of Mo I Rana we slowly descend and the sceneries become more diverse, caused by the mountains which look higher because we are lower, and by the presence of the fjords. Eye-catching are the many waterfalls we see, one even more beautiful than the other. And we would keep seeing them over the next days.
NamsosThe trip to the cave has taken almost 3 hours and we arrive late at Namsos. Time for a tonic, Elisabeth thinks (cod-liver oil, or something like that).
We have covered a long distance southwards today and left the polar area. It gives us a little bit the feeling that we are driving home again. We have also seen so many magnificent and impressive things the last few days, that we wonder if this maybe was the last day with such beautiful sceneries. We couldn't have been more wrong!


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