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Thanks so much for the great response of part 1 and to all that subscribe to my stories, it means a lot.
(If you haven't seen part one yet head over here.)
So, we were staying a few nights at the familiar hostel in Å, Lofoten...
Always great returning to this place and funny that I always get the same room every time I stay there. A little harsher in winter but still very cozy. This was our base and from there we headed out for excursions during the days on the windy and harsh islands of Lofoten.
Lofoten is bigger than most people realize, especially if you're driving from one "end" to the other (going from Narvik and going towards Å as we did) and you need a lot of time to take in the shifting landscape. As I mentioned in the first part I won't get into that many details on the locations of each image in the story, but rather cover it more generally. So if the first part was us going form Lappland and the two eastern of the main islands (Austvågsøya and Vestvågøya) of Lofoten...
...this second part will be more about the two western main islands - Flakstadøya and Moskenesøya. Then heading back to Lappland and Sweden.
The best thing with staying at the very end of the E10-road means that you drive past all kinds of breathtaking scenes every day, except that you get to see them in various lights and conditions.
Weather change drastically here so one view will never look the same.
Reine and the surrounding islands
A destination many has on top of their list when heading to Lofoten. It is from here that you have some of the most dramatic scenes of them all and it's very accessible from the road. This means there is usually lots of tourists and people stopping to enjoy the views.
The red little Rorbuer
Me and Johan took some time just walking around the little town-center (super small) and just look at all the red fishing cabins (called Rorbuer) with their thatched roofs and iconic red looks. Their rugged looks and features fits even better in a harsh winter setting than summer to be honest.
We climbed up Olenilsøya to get a proper view over this ridiculous scene in front of us. The heavy clouds and slight rain did not deter us in any way, quite the contrary it contributed to the overall experience. The palette here is quite incredible - the crystal clear turquoise water, almost orange grass and the variations of blue in the clouds. A faint rainbow did not make the landscape any less spectacular!
View over Sakrisøya and the bridges connecting the other strips of islands.
Quite the sight.
Johan taking in the landscape in his viewfinder
Some views are better than others
I've said it before - the roads here are just unbelievably adventure-esque. This particular shot below is from the bridge crossing over to Fredvang, technically between Flakstadsøya and Moskenesøya.
The roads here are so understated.
Too few take a brake and just walk along some of great stretches.
The beach at Ramberg is without a doubt one of the most photographed places of Lofoten. Surely it is a great sight and for many passing by towards the southern tip of Lofoten it is extremely conveniently located along the road. You have to go down to the beach and walk along it a couple of times, not just stay up in the parking lot.
I've been fortunate to see this place in various conditions and season, and trust me when I say there is no best or worst weather. Everything here just adapts so well to all kinds of weather. I've shot a wedding here in summer and also of course documented it in two of my other stories (Lofoten Revisited) from summertime here in Lofoten. Go ahead, have look and see the difference in scenes and what I mean.
Wintertime in Lofoten
Just a couple hours later and the mood and weather changes so quickly. Below looking out over Flakstad (beach) and the long shutter making the waves get all foggy and mesmerizing.
Reine at nightfall
I've found that it is simply impossible not to stop every single time that you pass through Reine. Event though I have countless times stopped here to enjoy the incredible landscapes it never ceases to amaze.
Skjelfjord and the abandoned Campervan
On our last day of our stay we took a little detour out to Skjelfjord and found this cool Ford Campervan in an exquisite state. The raw nature of Lofoten seemed to have made this part of the landscape.
The stillness at the pier
Completely overcast and a slight drizzle in the air, felt fitting to the scene.
We took some time to hike around for a while and feel the soft, mushy moss.
Third time's the charm.
I think this is my third time coming to Nusfjord and honestly I must say I don't think it's one of the more important stops you have to make while in Lofoten. At least the other two times was kind of annoying with so many tourists here. FYI, Nusfjord is a quaint little fishing village squeezed in between cliffs and mountains, and said to be one of the best preserved of its kind. And yes, it is a beautiful place but the problem is tourists. It is being marketed hard and a lot of people stop by so they have turned it into living museum more or less. In summertime they charge you a fee just to walk around.
However, this issue is pretty much only apparent in summertime, since now we had the whole place to ourselves more or less!
And when you lose the tourists and crowds, Nusfjord is pretty great and lives up to its promise.
Camp vibes with a view
Stopped just nearby Nusfjord by the water and cooked up a real nice little camp dinner.
A true Swedish classic as well - Ärtsoppa med pannkakor!
We decided to head out to Vikten for our final afternoon and evening before heading back east. The sky was shaping up to some really good potential but it was still a while left before sunset so we took the opportunity to explore the place a little better.
If you travel to Lofoten make sure to exit at Vareid and head out here, definitely worth the little detour.
Without a doubt the coolest basketball court around.
I can honestly say I'm not much of a horse-person, but this guy right here, he was alright. We got along just fine!
I think it is safe to say this sunset is one I won't soon forget. Even though it was late winter/early spring, the sunset was incredibly long and seemed to take new shapes all the time.
We were left amazed, just trying to take in the scene before us.
I could/would have wanted to show you a million different shots from this, but there is simply not enough space or time for that.
But believe me, it was something special and something that I know both me and Johan will always remember.
Leaving Lofoten is always sad. Really sad.
This place has a special place in me soul, there is no doubt about that.
Even though we made a pretty swift travel we also made sure to keep an eye open for views like this below.
(that's Swedish spelling right there if you wonder)
We arrived back in Jukkasjärvi and Sweden perfect in time for some quality time with the reindeers before the sun was setting. Again I must thank Johan for being such a great travel buddy, he just knows the area and all the people it seems all the time, which makes the experience so much better since you get to see so much more than I would have otherwise!
The small ones were hungry too!
We had a great playing around with the reindeers. It's really first after you get back home that realize and appreciate all fun stuff you get to do. And here I was only some 16 hours away from my flight back to Gothenburg, back to reality. Photography can help me cherish the moments just a little bit more.
Everyone gets a piece, I promise!
We managed to squeeze in one final visit to the Ice Hotel on the way back also.
If I do remember it correctly, that block of ice in the right image below was the first of the piece of next years edition of the Ice Hotel. Taken right out of the Torne River, they began to harvest the ice which is now at its thickest point in the beginning of spring and provides the necessary quality for building an entire hotel out of Ice.
The craftsmanship is real.
On my final night (Johan was staying longer) before flying back south, we had the agenda set for one thing and one thing only - hunting for that green stuff in the sky!
And wow, we most definitely had the fortune in our favor this evening.
The forecast had looked pretty promising, with mostly clear skies and the occasional cloud here and there. Then again you never know about the Northern Lights, they can come and go as they choose.
That elusiveness is obviously only adds to the experience.
Johan was a far, far more experienced night watcher than myself (only having seen it briefly just days before when heading to Lofoten, story over here). We were dressed in more layers of clothing than I can count and well prepared for a long and cold night. It did not take long for some faint green shimmering to appear in the sky, which I was very excited for. Then, to our displeasure, clouds started to move in from the northwest and quite quickly the sky had turned thick with clouds.
By this point everything about this trip had been a complete success and such a great adventure that I didn't mind if the clouds were covering the sky. I was happy and more than satisfied with what I had gotten to see. However, Johan made me have a little more patience and we decided to stick around for some time, just in case the sky revealed itself again.
And wow, were we happy to stay!
As you may suspect, the clouds disappeared and revealed a true show in the sky - featuring a headline number by Ms. Aurora Borealis in full force. It was nothing short of spectacular. Hearing Johan say "well, now you've seen the northern lights for real" assured me that this was the real deal and that we had gotten a really good show.
One last photograph of this incredible adventure.
A big thank you to my friend Johan Adermalm for showing me around these northern parts of Sweden and for another great adventure in Lofoten (which was where we first ran into each other on a hike in the middle of the night, cameras in hand). I have no doubt we'll continue to make these trips many more times in the future.
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