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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Norway: Land of the Midnight Sun

Day 1: Berlin - Oslo - Bodø

After having seen beautiful pictures of the Lofoten archipelago on the internet, we just had to go there. The only question was how and where exactly. After some research we found out that the town of Bodø in northern Norway is a very good starting point. It has an airport with cheap flights from Oslo, a ferry connection to Moskenes on the Lofoten and even a train station with trains coming in from southern Norway.

So off we went with two cheap flights, with Air Berlin to Oslo and continued on the same day with Norwegian to Bodø. With four hours between the flights, we had some time in Oslo at the airport. All said, we started at 11.30 a.m. in Berlin and finally arrived in Bodø at 6.40 p.m. - we had chosen a cheap connection, and the waiting saved some money. That was a good thing, because already in the airport of Oslo we realized, that Norway is as expensive as people say. Even a little snack cost a fortune! We were warned before, but didn´t really believe it until then.

Finally in Bodø we were a bit whacked and didn´t really have the energy to find the bus to our hotel at the airport, so we took a taxi - we knew it wasn´t that far away. Our hotel of choice was the City Hotell. It cost about 95 Euro, which sounds very expensive but is actually one of the cheaper ones in Bodø. Our room was small but o.k. with a bathroom, TV and curtains - the curtains are important because it doesn´t really get dark in the area in the summertime. It wasn´t special and actually too expensive but for Norwegian conditions it was o.k. The main reason we booked the hotel was its nearness to the ferry port anyway. Our plan was to leave already the next morning for the Lofoten. And the hotel is just a short walk from the ferry. 

For us it was actually great, that it didn´t really get dark, so we still had some possibility to see a bit of Bodø. My friend insisted on going to the ferry terminal first, to look how far it is really away and to look, if they are still open to buy the ferry ticket for the next morning. It turned out, it is not far but the ticketing office was already closed, so we just went along the coast and got a first impression of what was about to come - the sea, the mountains and a very special atmosphere. It was quiet and felt like a different continent.

After a short stop at the little shopping mall "Glasshuset" we wanted to go to a pizzeria, but thought again when we saw the prices - I think it was more than 10 Euro for the cheapest and most basic pizza. We ended up in a snack bar, which seemed to be the cheapest option (but was still ridiculously expensive) and talked to the salesman, who originally came from northern Africa and who complained about the cold Norwegians and raved about the warm (lol) Germans he experienced once in Hamburg. That was new - usually Germans are said to be rather cold and reserved (especially in northern Germany), but I guess it´s just a matter of perspective.

It still wasn´t dark, so we tried our luck for a supermarket to get some beverages and snacks for the next day - they seemed to be open quite long, and we passed one, when we came by taxi from the airport and thought we could find it again. On the way we passed the interesting Cathedral, and after some walking found the still open supermarket, just when we were ready to give up looking.

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