Every year we slap a goals list sheet up on the fridge with a list of all the things we'd like to accomplish in the year. A third of the paper also includes places we'd like to travel to, so there's never any loss to where we should get out of the house and go see. Norway, and specifically the Lofoten Islands has been on there for the last couple years. After visiting Iceland two years in a row and then Alaska, clearly the trend of Arctic Circle places had to be continued and thus Norway it was!
For this trip my friend and Iceland companion Nick was on board and we planned out a nice little itinerary of travel spots. Once it came time to actually figure out driving times it became clear that:
a] Norway is a huge country
b] Getting anywhere fast was out of the question because of massive fjords, ferries to get across massive fjords, mountain passes and the inevitable sheep in the road. Basically the entire country is one giant mountain pass and fjords block the rest of it. If you're planning on invading Norway, it is not advised.
c] They have the most expensive gas in the world. To the tune of at least $10/gallon, it pays for kids to go to undergrad for free.
Thus it was going to be a bit trickier than previous trips. The Lofoten Islands were a must do, but way out of the way from the rest of the trip, so it quickly became clear that we were going to need to catch another flight up north. Norwegian Air [beware of the fees on everything] made that pretty simple with a $125 flight right into Evenes Airport, on the outer perimeter of what is called the Lofoten Archipelago.
After a 13 hour flight from Seattle to Oslo [connecting in Reykjavik] we switched to domestic and flew an air shuttle from Oslo to Harstad/Narvik Airport in Evenes way up north in the Arctic Circle. The flight into Evenes was voted one of the top 10 approaches in the world, and it was easy to see why. Insane mountain ranges with teal lakes quickly let us know the trip was going to be worth it. We got in late, but smartly didn't stay far away and drove down to the Evenes Fjord Hotel right on the water.
The next morning we were off towards the very end of the islands, about a 4 hour drive.
The weather on the Lofoten Archipelago was insane, constantly changing from raging storm to sunny and uneventful. Mostly crazy storms though which made for some dramatic scenery.