Friday, July 24, 2009

Fjording Norway: Day 3.2, Lofoten

The boat from Vindstad arrived just in the nick of time for our bus connection, and I ended up having to run from the hotel to the bus station carrying one piece of luggage in each arm and sweating like nobody's business. All's well that ends well.

Even as we were leaving the place, Lofoten never ceased to amaze. On the bus, we encountered more strange meteorological phenomena.

What the hell?


For D. and me, it was mist safari time. I worked the camera, as he barked out instructions from his superior window seat. "Wait moment, wait moment, wait moment, NOW!" We worked in collaboration to capture the elusive well-composed-shot-from-a-moving-vehicle.


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Unfortunately, M. slept through the spectacle. Later, we found out from a local that this kind mist happens in Lofoten after a sunny spell. The Norse weather gods have been very kind to us.

After all that excitement on the bus, we were ready for some food. Since we were leaving Lofoten, we thought our meal should consist of a cross-section of Northern Norway produce.


M. had "klippfisk", otherwise known as bacalao. It's a kind of dried, salted cod that is soaked in water for a few days before being cooked. If you're thinking, that doesn't sound very Norwegian, it's not. It's Portugese. Salted cod was made popular after the discovery (or detection) of Newfoundland, and nowadays Norway, with its similar climate, is the major exporter of klippfisk, or bacalao. One piece of trivia richer.


D. had Lofoten lamb. According to the guidebook, Lofoten lamb is supposed to be meatier, more tender and less fatty than the usual lamb, and with a hint of game. My tastebuds aren't trained to the subtleties of game in hints, so I can't tell you whether that's true or not.


I went for whale. Yes, really, whale. Served with salad and chips. It is rather sinewy, and is a bit more tender than beef, but otherwise identical in texture - quite odd to see rare and bloody sea-animal meat. It was served in a pool of peppercorn sauce, so I couldn't distinguish any whale flavor. To be honest, if it were on a menu, I wouldn't choose it again. Nothing wrong with it per say, I'm just not a big fan of bloody meat.

I can't claim to have mentally munched on any ethical arguments whilst eating the oddly beef-like whale meat, but mentioning whale in context of eating should always be backed up with comments on sustainability, so here goes. The quota for minke whales in Norway is 1052 a year, but allegedly only 500 are caught. The whales are DNA marked, to prove its legality. It is claimed that whale hunting in Norway is less for commercial purposes, and more to support its coastal communities. All of this paraphrased from Insight Guides: Norway.


After dinner we say goodbye to Lofoten, and board our ship to Bergen.

Tomorrow: life on a cruise ship, complete with seafood buffets.

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