Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fjording Norway: Day 2, Lofoten

On the ferry from Bodo to Lofoten, a camera orgy broke out on the deck. Of course, I had to join in. After about fifteen minutes of overexcited camera clicking, I realized that there isn't really much to see, unless this is your first time on a boat in which case the ocean may be an item of curiosity.

Approaching Lofoten
Approaching Lofoten
Approaching Lofoten

We approach Lofoten, landing at the Moskenes port. Not much to see here.

When I was planning this epic trans-Norway vacation, I had read in a travel guide that Reine was claimed by some to be Norway's most beautiful place. Nothing appeals to me quite as much as a superlative in print, so I booked us a night at a converted fisherman's cabin in Reine. This was possibly the best travel-related decision I have ever made.
Reine rorbuer
Ours is the one with blue window frames.

Fisherman's cabin in Reine

When we walk in, we are met with the smell of wood (much like freshly opened IKEA furniture). We discover, to our great delight, that the cabin is much bigger than expected. It has an upstairs with a cozy mezzanine, a downstairs with a kitchen and an outlandish view, and an abundance of bedrooms and bathrooms. It is big enough to house two families with one child each, or a family of four and two lonely fishermen. The family spreads out over its new found luxury.

Reine rorbuer
Inside Reine rorbuer
View from the cabin

To the patio. The patio is the best part of the cabin. It sits on stilts, over the ocean, which you can see through the cracks between the wood panel floor. Leave me on that patio for long enough with pencil and paper and I will produce at least one major work of literary and/or visual art. It is so inspiring that I vow to buy myself a cabin in Lofoten one day when I'm older and richer.

Reine rorbuer
Reine rorbuer patio

After several hours of appreciation, we go for dinner. And my God, what a dinner. We ordered the following mains:

Monkfish with apples flavored butter sauce and cauliflower puree
Monkfish with apples flavored butter sauce and cauliflower puree

Grilled stockfish with chorizo, almonds and apricots
Grilled stockfish with chorizo, almonds and apricots

Stockfish with bacon, carrots, capers and butter sauce
Stockfish with bacon, carrots, capers and butter sauce

With that we were served homemade bread with dips, and a shot of cold tomato and ham soup.
bread with dip
The grilled stockfish was unanimously deemed to be the best dish. The meat has a very distinctively substantial texture and flakes beautifully. It has a mildly fishy aroma, but is otherwise flavorless; here, it borrows flavor from the salty mash and chorizo.

What is stockfish? It's dried cod. The fishermen catch the fish in the winter, which they hang on wooden racks for two months. Before cooking, the fish is soaked in water for nine days. Which is why it tastes so fresh. It can really only be produced in Norway, and goes to show the powerful impact of geography on food. This also means that Norway has a monopoly of sorts on stockfish, so it is ridiculously expensive to buy in supermarkets.

Photo by Morten Andvig via reinerorbuer.no

After dinner, we sat on our patio sipping tea and studying the arctic sun. Our findings: the sun is actually circling above our heads, constantly above the horizon. This also means that for several months of the year, the sun makes its rounds underneath you. Funny, this concept of day-months and night-months. It's so unnatural to man. It's almost like living on another planet.
Lofoten at midnight

A fisherman throws out some fish gibblets to an anticipating pack of squawking seagulls. All is well.
Aggressive seagulls

Tomorrow: The family goes on mist-safari.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment