Lofoten always charmed me, even by the sound of its name. Whoever planned a journey to Norway before, knows for sure that this archipelago is a sunny spot, warmed up by the gulf stream, and one of the best places for watching the aurora borealis. And fishing is the inhabitants main activity.
While sailing from Bodø to Moskenes I read that people here are quite different from the rest of Norway. Even their physical traits. And that 80 percent of the codfish caught here is sold to Italy.
Behind these peculiar features is the story of a seamen who lived about at the same time as Columbus, Pietro Querini, a noble Venetian ship owner. While shipping white wine from Crete to the Flanders, a terrible storm surprised him beyond the Strait of Gibraltar, destroying rudder and mast. The seaman was forced to leave on a lifeboat with a handful of sailors and the gulf stream took them on a rock not far from the Lofoten archipelago. Here the locals welcomed them and offered food and shelter. While the captain looked for a way to turn the accident into a profitable business, his men were more interested about the welcoming women they met. While the one returned to Venice with a full selection of stokfish – dried cod – the others moved on the little islands and started a new life.
Since then, it didn’t change much on these islands. The ferry points to the huge rocks resembling mountains coming out from the sea. At a closer look, coloured houses are to be seen: red for the fishermen, blue and yellow for the other workers. Time flows slowly here, relaxing under the sun or in a traditional rorbuer – small stilt-house. Henningsvaer, also known as “the Northern Venice”, is an unmissable trip, while heading south the street ends and the road signs are surprisingly written in Italian. At the end lies Å.
Å is the last letter in the Norwegian alphabet, and it’s the name of a beautiful little village which testifies more than any other the strict link between the Lofoten islands and Italy. Behind any turn is a stunning view, therefore it shouldn’t surprise that National Geographic ranked the Lofoten archipelago as the world’s third most beautiful islands.