Yesterday, we made a brief stop at Hammerfest – the Northernmost town in the world. It is a tiny place, but there is an interesting museum of the restoration there. It is incredible to think that so much of the far north of Norway was burned to the ground as part of the Germans’ scorched earth policy in WWII. The museum reconstructed the caves where so many people had to live with what few possessions they had managed to salvage. The new houses were built to modern standards, but many people would have preferred to have their old wooden houses back that they loved – very sad. It took until the 1970s to rehouse everyone satisfactorily.
Interesting to see that the supermarket in Hammerfest stocked many varieties of coloured beetroots. Beetroot was also on the coastal kitchen menu – beetroot and chocolate cake with dandelion syrup made locally by a tiny family firm from the brave little flower on the small island of Rolvsoy.
An early start was needed today for the hike to Vesterålen. Not early enough as it turned out – we had to take a bus to catch a ferry to cross the fiord and it was a minute late, so we had an hour to wait for the next ferry. That made the hike a bit of a route march with only 5 minutes to spare at the top to drink in the view. What a view though (and what an effort to get to the top to photograph it – I was walking without a hat or coat I was so hot!)
This area is very productive in Summer – particularly for strawberries, which are harvested late into August.
There was also time to stop at Stokmarknes for a brief visit to the Hurtigruten museum. We only had an hour, which was a shame – even though we were at the front of the queue to disembark.