Whether by accident or design, my camp was ideally placed for the sun
to wake me as it came round the mountain to my east around 9am. The low
cloud of yesterday had quite cleared and the sun shone warmly from a clear
blue sky. I made a leisurely breakfast before setting off, pausing just
down the road to refill my water bottle at a deliciously cold mountain
stream. I was nearing the end of my route - Moskenes, from where the ferry
leaves, was only some 20 miles away, so the emphasis was on leisurely exploration
rather than distance covering. The scenery was superb as I came round the
wide bay, tall grey mountains streaked with snow shining white in the sun
stood out vividly against the blue sky and cyan sea. I stopped to take
I soon turned off the main road to take the side turning down to Nusfjord. I'd seen photos of this remarkably pretty village while planning the trip and was delighted to have the chance to visit it in such excellent weather. The approach was striking. The mountains here had a more "raw" look than previously. Instead of being cracked and broken, the sides formed magnificent curves with, in places, what looked like flow patterns, as though they had only just solidified from molten lava. A blue lake below the most impressive of these mountains formed an excellent foreground to my photos!
Nusfjord itself was, as someone had remarked to me on seeing its photo, rather like a Legoland town with its bright red and yellow houses. I believe the explanation for the lurid red which colours most of the wooden houses on the islands is that it is the natural colour of the traditional paint made from cod liver oil, cod being the main local catch. Yellow, which is also not uncommon, I don't have a ready explanation for! But the brightly coloured houses of Nusfjord cluster around a tiny harbour, all set against cliffs of the same curved rock as the larger mountains behind. Its certainly pretty, and I took the requisite photo. But as elsewhere, I felt that the inhabited parts are not what these islands do best. There were quite a few people milling around, but although I wondered about having lunch there, the only place that looked as if it might serve food - a few tables outside a red wooden building - had but one person sitting there, with a drink but no food, and no sign of any menus or waitresses or other indication as to how one might go about getting food. I retreated back to the lake I'd admired earlier for oatcakes, cheese, chocolate and dried fruit.
While I was eating a change came over the weather. Moving rapidly, and against the still northerly surface wind, an even layer of cloud came across the sky from the south. The breeze strengthened as it did so, and put paid to my notions of an after lunch bathe in the lake. Instead I packed up and cycled off, panting up the steep hill to the low pass, then chilled as the wind swept past me on the rapid run downhill. I rejoined the E10 heading south. Nusfjord was the last village on my wish list that I needed to make a diversion from the main road for, but I was still in two minds as to whether to explore the last two side roads anyway. In fact, as I came to the junctions the scenery looked more promising on down the E10, and with the clouds beginning to turn darker I began to fantasize about hot baths and restaurant food in a hotel in Reine, the next large town, rather than a night under wet canvas. I cycled on down the coast.
It was clear that the road had not much further to go before its end at Å. While, when I'd started out at Svolvær, it had been a newly surfaced, smooth highway, here it was old and potholed, and I had to pick my route with some care to avoid the holier bits. Two suspension bridges had clearly seen better days, too. While structurally intact, the concrete curbing was missing in many places, while the road surface was almost worn away.
I passed through a shower, then the road swept round a corner and into Reine. This is a magnificently sited town, occupying a string of islands across the mouth of a bay, from the shores of which mountains of stark grey rock rise up nearly 3000 feet. Nonetheless, search as I might, it doesn't have a hotel! "Rorbu", the 2-6 bedded self catering apartments that are popular conversions of the traditional fishing huts, there were in plenty, but nothing to pamper me with food, hot water and the promise of an extensive breakfast the following morning. I gave up in disgust and cycled on!
In fact I found an excellent camping spot just a few miles further on.
In a spirit of defiance I set up my finest camp to date, put the curry
on to boil and curled up with "Martin Chuzzlewit". The rain was good enough
to hold off until after I'd finished cooking, when I could tuck myself
cosily into sleeping bag and bivvy bag, book close at hand. Who needs a
hotel, anyway? I hope it stops raining for breakfast, though!