We spent Monday in Bodø, before catching the ferry to Moskenes. Our day began at a local hotel which offers a deal to overnight passengers of Norwegian rail. It's a choice of breakfast buffet or, for those feeling particularly grimy after a night on the train, buffet + shower. Since it's Norway, the buffet offers at least 5 or 6 different kinds of fish.
It wasn't until we'd gorged ourselves on smoked salmon, that we ventured out to pick up our rental car. Since we didn't expect a tremendous amount of tourist infrastructure in the Lofotens, we thought it wise to get a car where they're readily available. We didn't want to depend on possibly sparse bus transport in the Lofotens. This turned out to be good choice, as the Lofotens really consist of many, very small villages providing just a smattering of services, consisting mostly of a few restaurants and rorbuer (places to stay). More on the fantastic rorbuer in another post.
Things in Norway are slower and trust is greater. For example, train stations still have lockers for luggage stowage, something I no longer see in the States anywhere except the gym. We were able to leave our bags at the station during breakfast and our walk to the rental car place, a little reminder of how trusting we used to be Stateside many years ago.
Bodo is small. We walked from the buffet hotel, across town to the airport rental car office, in just 20 minutes. With the freedom a car provides, we found a trailhead leading up a small mountain with panoramic views in every compass direction. At only 366 meters, we easily hiked up Mount Kaiservarden (red dot on Google map) in the afternoon before catching the Lofoten ferry.
Bodo is beautifully situated on a peninsula with wide-ranging views in every direction. From the top of Kaiservarden, we look up two fjords, across the hills to Bodø and out to the seascape which we would soon cross in a ferry.
This little (Kaiservarden) mountain is quite a popular local destination with joggers & walkers, as we encountered many of both on our little hike. The top is marked by one of those directional plates, showing compass directions and distances around 360º. It showed The Lofoten Islands some 88 km away across the Vestfjorden, the path we were to follow with the ferry later that evening.
Bodo airport shares facilities with the Norwegian Airforce, which flies sorties off these runways. It's a total visceral experience to hear the throaty whine of military jet engines, watch fighters scramble off the peninsula, scream across the fjord and realize that powerful, bone penetrating noise is being generated miles away!
Norway is just a few short air miles (~300?) away from Russia. With recent Russian incursions and provocative testing of the airspace of other countries, I wonder if the Norwegian fighter scrambles were for training or to actively intercept a Russian MiG?
Next post: Ferry to The Lofotens