Reasons to Love Summer in The Lofoten Islands | Northern Norway above the Arctic Circle | Oregon Girl Around the World

8 Reasons to Love the Lofoten Islands in the Summer | Arctic Norway

Summer hums above the Arctic Circle

For a while now, my internal compass has been pulling me north. Recently, I answered the call. And I am so happy I did. We just returned from a 10 day trip to Northern Norway. Above the Arctic Circle. I had seen pictures and read stories but truly underestimated the awe I would feel. We loved The Lofoten Islands in summer. I am home now with lungs still full from breathing in nature. My soul is content from so much wonder and awe. Lofoten was beyond lovely at summertime. Let me share with you why.

So Many Reasons You Should See The Lofoten Islands in Summer
1 | THERE ARE MILLIONS OF MOUNTAINS

I will admit, it was mountains I was seeking. That drew me to this place. And I found them. So many. Ok. Maybe not millions. But it feels like there was yet another peak in every direction you looked. Jagged and rocky, they define these islands and set this scene. A backdrop for memories of mountainous goodness.

Reasons to Love Summer in The Lofoten Islands | Northern Norway above the Arctic Circle | Oregon Girl Around the WorldReasons to Love Summer in The Lofoten Islands | Northern Norway above the Arctic Circle | Oregon Girl Around the World
2 | THE MIDNIGHTS are FULL OF SUN

For one month before and one month after the summer solstice on June 21st, the sun does not set this far north. At all. And while we missed the true midnight sun by a week or so on our visit in late July, it never truly got dark. Even when the sun sets at midnight, it rises again at 2 am. Sunset…. sunrise. Sunset… sunrise. If you have trouble sleeping or a photographer’s fear of missing out, it may mess with your head. But we fell in love with the perpetual twilight that threw lots of light in the sky every night.

3| WHITE SAND BEACHES WILL tempt you

Who knew that the Arctic has some of the best beaches in the world? Here you will find sugar fine sand that sits in wide white crescents. Take off your shoes and wiggle your toes. Look for pink clam shells, striped limpets and fragile urchin skeletons. Dare to take a dip. We did and you should. It’s not THAT cold. But maybe we’ve been Scandi conditioned. The water here is so clear and such a brilliant aqua blue that it felt perfect to cool off in after a hike in the hills. We loved the swaths of perfect white sand at Kvalvika, Haukland, Uttakleiv and Ramberg Stranda.

Reasons to Love Summer in The Lofoten Islands | Northern Norway above the Arctic Circle | Oregon Girl Around the WorldReasons to Love Summer in The Lofoten Islands | Northern Norway above the Arctic Circle | Oregon Girl Around the World
4 | There are hikes in them hills

The Lofoten Islands offer hikes for all abilities and energies. With a good pair of shoes, you should be all good to go. We hiked over hills to white Arctic beaches. We scrambled up rocks to see views over villages. We strolled along cliffs with no ascent needed for stunning. Stay on the trail and pack out what you pack in. This is the Lofoten code of conduct. Protect this beautiful place for all to enjoy.Reasons to Love Summer in The Lofoten Islands | Northern Norway above the Arctic Circle | Oregon Girl Around the WorldReasons to Love Summer in The Lofoten Islands | Northern Norway above the Arctic Circle | Oregon Girl Around the WorldReasons to Love Summer in The Lofoten Islands | Northern Norway above the Arctic Circle | Oregon Girl Around the World

5 | TRY A KAYAK TO CRUISE

Back down at sea level, take to the water. A kayak is a perfect way to see into the clear water. We loved paddling around Skrova with WildSeas Adventures. Keep watch for Sea Eagles in the sky or little crabs scurrying on the seafloor. It is that clear. Quiet and calm, serene and safe. There is something magical about the sound of paddles dipping and pushing as our boats slid smoothly over the sea.


RELATED: SUMMER GLAMPING SAFARI ABOVE THE ARCTIC CIRCLE

6 | SO MUCH FRESH SEAFOOD TO TASTE

Fishing has been important to the peoples of the place before written history. Cod is king here and you’ll see stockfish drying on racks all over the islands. Try some as jerky or in a tomato stew-like dish called Bacalao. In the southern archipelago, don’t miss Anita’s Sjømat on Sakrisøy for the best fish sandwich or peel and eat shrimp.


RELATED: OH DEAR COD, EAT THIS IN NORTHERN NORWAY

7 | You can rent a RORBU TO SLEEP IN

Those classic Norwegian fisherman’s cottages, rorbuer have been renovated for your Lofoten respite. Rent them all over the islands in darling seaside villages like Å, Reine, Sakrisøy, Henningsvær, Nusfjord, Ballstad, Kabelvåg and Svolvær – just to name a few. There is something special about sitting out over the water and watching the sun set behind the mountain ahead of you.Reasons to Love Summer in The Lofoten Islands | Northern Norway above the Arctic Circle | Oregon Girl Around the WorldReasons to Love Summer in The Lofoten Islands | Northern Norway above the Arctic Circle | Oregon Girl Around the WorldReasons to Love Summer in The Lofoten Islands | Northern Norway above the Arctic Circle | Oregon Girl Around the World

8 | Blossoms Blooming, there are WILDFLOWERS TO FIND

For a place that is covered in snow much of the year, I couldn’t stop marveling at the many wildflowers blooming. Fields and forests were blanketed in color. Like icing on the cake on why there’s so much to love about Lofoten in the summer.

Reasons to Love Summer in The Lofoten Islands | Northern Norway above the Arctic Circle | Oregon Girl Around the WorldReasons to Love Summer in The Lofoten Islands | Northern Norway above the Arctic Circle | Oregon Girl Around the World
WHAT TO PACK:

Weather in Northern Norway can be unpredictable – I was happy to have waterproof pants, sturdy trail shoes and my red raincoat while we were there. I can recommend all of these products for your trip north. 

Reasons to Visit the Lofoten Islands in Summer | See the Midnight Sun above the Arctic Circle in Norway | Oregon Girl Around the World

Suitcases and Sandcastles

Godt Nytår from Copenhagen! Happy New Year!

I don’t like New Year’s resolutions, but can’t deny that the turn of the calendar definitively promotes fresh starts. 2014 was a year full of opportunities seized, plans made and challenges faced. Moving from Portland, Oregon to Copenhagen, Denmark was definitely one of those opportunities that has fulfilled and challenged many of our best laid plans. We left Oregon mid-November and after a brief tour of Barcelona and Madrid, spent the remainder of the year attempting to set up life in Denmark – not so easy as it turns out. (More on those comedies later).

It is a new year. Godt Nytår as they here say in Denmark. Here we are. In a semi-IKEA-furnished flat in the middle of Copenhagen. Seizing opportunities and making new plans. One of my goals for 2015 is to be creative daily. How that creativity expresses itself is up to me, the day and what I have access to. This is supposed to be an attainable goal. Resourcefulness – using what is around me. In that vein, today I used the fruits of our family’s fishing endeavor yesterday – namely 13 frisk torsk. Fresh cod!

We woke in the wee hours and boarded Spar Shipping‘s “Skipper” skib in Østerbro Harbor yesterday. It was a 5+ hour tour of Øresund – just known as “The Sound” around here. It is the body of water between Denmark and Sweden. Cod is in season now – plentifully swimming in schools not too far from shore gorging on crabs near the bottom.

The "Skipper"

Despite the cold, it is pretty easy fishing – throw your rod and lure overboard, gently jig the line up and down and wait for the strike!

DSC_3849DSC_3851

Success! We brought in 13 nice cod. Not as big maybe as some of the others we saw, but for a first go – pretty satisfied.IMG_0185A quick lesson in gutting and heading your fish on board makes teenage son feel important while wielding large sharp knife and into a large plastic sack our fish go.

DSC_3864

Home now with 13 friske fisk.

DSC_3889

A bit of background, I’m not actually the fisher-person per se in my family. My dad endeared us as children to the wonders of baiting and casting and waiting and CATCHING. He was also the one who cleaned the fish. I have never actually cleaned a fish myself. Oh dear cod! So catching cod is conclusively easier than cleaning, filleting and skinning said cod. What to do when you would like to use all the recipes that friends so charmingly forward to you for usage of the cod you advertised? Why you YouTube how to fillet a cod of course. So I watched this one “Passionate about Fish – How to Fillet a Cod” … maybe 17 times. (It is quite difficult to hit pause and rewind when you are covered in fish slime and scales.)

My first attempts were not pretty and did not afford the beautiful presentation NOR the fish mongers yield.DSC_3830 BUT – after nearly 2 hours – I now have 11 (we baked two whole last night) cod all cleaned and ready! DSC_3835 They still would not fly in any master cooking show – of which we have been watching a lot because TLC is one of the few channels in English here in Copenhagen, but they will be utilized in a myriad of ways.

Here is last night’s attempt at baked whole cod:

IMG_0206

Rubbed with olive oil, S&P inside and out, placed with sliced lemons and rosemary sprigs into oven at 200C til separated easily from skin. Not family’s favorite application, and I see that the bones were an issue, but easy and quick whilst still slightly wobbling from Baltic boat tour.

This was deliciously easy and quick lunch fashioned today – which I can highly recommend:

Creatively using freshly caught cod for lunch
Creatively using freshly caught cod for lunch

Steamed filets with S&P and dusting of ground ginger, served over baby spinach and refrigerator pickled red onions and a little bit of olive oil on top. So delicious. Fish and chips to come for littles tonight. Will let you know how it goes! Feel free to share ideas on how you are creating your new year. Skål!