Lofoten Islands, Norway
Lofoten is an archipelago lying within the Arctic Circle in Vesterålen, in the county of Nordland, Norway.
Even if you’ve been travelling in the north of Norway for a while, the stunning barren landscape of the islands would still come as a surprise to you. And I can guarantee that you will never forget the thrill you’d experience and the shivers running down your back as you approach the islands by ferry. Cold and fresh Arctic air, piercing your lungs; the bluest blue icy water strewn with spiky rocks sticking out of the sea, as though some ancient water monster was lying in wait; and the sky like a kaleidoscope, showing all possible shades of blue, purple and pink. All this forms one of the most astonishing spectacles on Earth with you right in the middle.
During my stay in the Lofoten Istalnds, I found myself in the tiny fishing village of Nyksund. In peak summer season it is inhabited by about 40-60 people which in winter decreases to around 10 souls ready to face the tough arctic weather. However, nearly 40 years ago Nyksund was literally a ghost town, abandoned by everyone after a disastrous storm that ruined the houses and chased away their inhabitants. You can still see remnants of this not-long-ago era in the form of some shattered boats anchored to the bay and numerous ramshackle buildings occupied solely by seagulls.
Even in summer there is not much vegetation on the infertile soil. In this nearly tundra landscape you will only find stalks of grass and rocks covered by a thick and colourful blanket of moss.
The village has a melancholic, almost gloomy air and its daunting silence is only occasionally broken by the whistling of the frosty northern wind and the cries of seagulls. As you walk along this desolate town, you hear nothing apart from your own thoughts knocking rhythmically inside your head, as you ask yourself: Why would people ever settle down in this extremely inhospitable land?