We are 155 miles above the Arctic Circle and what a beautiful blue day we have! We are looking at Norway’s largest island, Hinnøya, which is considered the Pearl of Norway! We will be coming along to the port in Harstad, population 23,000, if you include all the outlying villages, Harstad alone 3,300. It is August, but is that snow on the mountain? We should have a good time exploring! Better get a move on, since we have a full day planned!
I thought I should post a map here, so you can scan in and see just how far north we are!
Finally, we’ve docked and the bus is here for us……..
Let me say something about the excursions…….we have at least 12-15 per stop to pick from and they are very diverse. If you like outdoor sports or nature study or hiking, that is available……if you like history, those tours are available……if you like religious shrines and churches, those are available….if you like meeting the folks in their homes and talking with them, that is a choice. There are just lots of choices……so many, that at times, hubby and I have gone our separate ways to enjoy what we like best…… But, I can say, our excursion today, was extraordinary, and I am so glad we chose this one. It was called the Trastad Collections. There will be three parts to it, so follow along!
Now about our bus……..we are used to big, luxurious buses with big plumpy seats, wi-fi, TV, turn down trays for the snacks and drinks being served and rolling air condition……… and toilets. In Harstad, the one and only small school bus was waiting for us! I loved it! Do you know how many years it has been since we were on a school bus? This bus even had seats that faced each other, you didn’t even get to look at the back of someones head the entire time! We could have conversations with are fellow mates. But, you did kinda have to sit sideways a tad or your knees would be glued to your fellow passenger’s knees, since we aren’t exactly the same size as children anymore……but off we went! First, along the pier……we came to the Hemmestad Village wharf, a former trading post on the sea. There is a store here now and that big black, barrely, thingy is a cod liver barrel. Commercial and shipping industries are economically important to this area and it is a base for the oil industry of the north. I don’t know if that means cod oil or oil oil. I would say they do a lot of fishing here……….
The houses along the pier have story book potential…….and it is an exceptionally warm day, the guide tells us…….its in the low 70’s……
All, I can say is that you have to want to be here……it is not a place that you are just going to drop into for the day, just because…….. We are a long way from most folks and these folks have to be hardy! Oh, but to live like this! Harstad does bring the folks in from the neighboring villages and the mainland too, with their flourishing events of the summer…… There is the annual Festival of Northern Norway, the Arctic Wine Festival, the music festival of BAKgãrden, and the Ilios New Music Festival, making Harstad, the hub of activity in the summer months. With their many restaurants and cafes, they are also noted for their culinary skills! Lamb is a specialty, raised right here on the farms! Moving along on our route, just enjoy the scenery!
It doesn’t take us long to get out of the village, as we are traveling to Kvæfjord. Nothing but nature and farms………
What do they grow here? The best strawberries ever! Because of the light from the Midnight Sun, the juicy berries, have long growing days and are the best! Kvæfjord, Austerfjorden and Gullesfjorden are excellent fishing fjords. Better dress warm, warm, warm for the winter months though, but you can fish throughout the year. There are mountain areas with trout and char fishing and the area is also known for its rich bird and animal life.
Every once in a while we see a house or two………….
with a view…….
But, not very many……….
Wow, the color with the flowers along the road………
We must get out here and check out the water! Sparkling and clean!
and I’m checking out the wildflowers too…………
Since she doesn’t live in the village…….this woman has brought the village to her! It is our first rest stop!
We are making our way around the island……what will we come to next? I can’t wait! See you tomorrow! We have three official stops, but I had to show you the scenery on the way there!
PS, Though we did not go to the village of Harstad, (we chose the longest of the tours and out and about) I thought I would show you a view of the village of Harstad on a very mild winter’s day. Beautiful!