Friday, July 2, 2010

Lofoten Islands, Norway.

After a while, new places do not look so different from others in the world. The Lofoten Islands reminded me of Iceland, Alaska, and southern Argentina as well as Chile. It is all location and in this case being close to the Artic or Antarctic Circle. It seems that the weather dictates the landscape as well as the building construction. Most buildings are painted red or other vivid colors; and these are mostly built of corrugated metal sheets or wood. And of course, the major historical source of wealth is the fisheries. In the case of these islands as in Iceland, cod fish.

The islands are one of those places that as Patagonia, Torres de Paine, and East Africa, I would like to return time and time again. These islands are scarcely populated with beautiful land and seascapes, picturesque fishing villages and old churches, small farms and not environmentally spoiled. And the weather is perfect; it changes every fifteen minutes—imagine the photo opportunities. I was here in mid-June and it was cold!!!

I had lunch one day at the Maren Anna Restaurant in the fishing village of Sorvagen and was named after a fishing boat that moored at its pier. It has a prominent sign stating that it was close but it was not, I assume that it has recently opened for the tourist season starting in June. It also has rooms for rent. It has a buffet line and I explored the local delicacies, one in particular was intriguing, cod tongues. I rather say that I preferred the wonderful smoked salmon also available as well as reindeer stew and potatoes, I wonder what people ate before the Spaniards brought the potato from Peru to the old world?

Below the bridge over the small creek that provides access to the restaurant, I saw this old rusted cast iron turbine, so down I went to take a closer look, I found that it was used to generate electricity and was first put in use in 1916 to generate electricity for the fishing processing operations in Sorvangen. If you take a closer look, there is a metal plate in the turbine with the following information: Model #177, VAPLANS MEK, Verkstads A.B., 19-NALDEN-09.

Next to the restaurant there is a pier still along with storage buildings in use today for fisheries operations and as nesting for black footed kittiwakes. These birds are quite oblivious to the presence of humans and quite noisy. According to the locals the restaurant was originally a cod liver oil factory and then a cannery

Driving down the chain of islands that have been recently connected by a series of bridges and tunnels, I passed a larger fishing village, Reine. It is located in a cove with a wonderful range of mountains as a background; one of those photogenic places in the world that everyone passing by has photographed. Don’t believe me? Just google Reine and see how many similar images as the one above you will find.

There are lots of fishing villages as you meander along the narrow roads, some are abandoned and others are still in use. And then there is A, a preserved fishing village which is now the Cod Museum in Sorvagen. It is a wonderful place and cod is still processed and hung in racks for drying. For more information go to: http://www.datadesign.ws/nfmuseum/museet.htm
And there is nesting colony of black-footed kittiwakes in the steep rock cliff right next to the piers. Since I was there in June, the birds were just fighting for nesting space.

The Lofoten Islands have a long history of human habitation who earned a living out of the cod fisheries and up to this day, is the major exported of dried codfish to Europe and
Africa. So far, the cod population is not threatened with decline as in New England and the Maritime provinces of Canada and not the subject to cod wars as those that has regularly taken place between Iceland and Britain. The Lofoten fishermen has diversified and developed extensive salmon farms, just as it has been done off the coast of Chile and Scotland. But fishing today is not the major income of these islands. Tourists like me, are their major catch, generating more income than the traditional fishing industry.



6 comments:

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

A wonderful post of a beautiful place Jose and it seems like this was the ideal time to go up there. What a hard life they must have coping with things.

It sems like an extraordinary place with those fantastic mountains.

Glad you had a great time and came back with these lovely pictures.

Anonymous said...

I was so happy to see some new pics of your latest travels!! But, you didn't come back home with an accent like mine!! LOL Larry thinks the turbine pic is awesome!

Karen

家賢 said...

成熟,就是有能力適應生活中的模糊。.................................................................

sebi_2569 said...

nice blog;and nice photo; bravo

啟佐啟佐 said...

如果成為一支火柴,也要點亮一個短暫的宇宙;如果是一隻烏鴉,也要叫疼閉塞的耳膜。.................................................................

懿綺懿綺 said...

人生是故事的創造與遺忘。............................................................