Travel off the beaten track and discover the Scandinavian secrets of the Lofoten Islands, just north of the Arctic Circle. With Bodø, Norway being named a 2024 European Capital of Culture, I can help you make the most of your journey there and then island-hopping at the Lofoten Islands, a region of Norway worth your time this summer as you keep cool under a midnight sun. (Spring and Fall are also options, if you don't mind the weather quickly turning chilly and wet on you sometimes.)
The Lofoten Islands are a beautiful blend of outdoor activities, history, and unexpected artwork. Scandinavia is growing in popularity, and you can avoid all the usual European crowds by focusing on northern Norway, by land or by sea on an expedition cruise. Contact me to organize your adventure!
Excerpt below from 2/11/2020 Virtuoso article by Crai Bower can found here.
The silver cube came into view as the road rounded the inlet from Sydalen. Drawing near, I assumed it was a one-room cabin; after all, rural Norway is known for innovative lodging. I was wrong – I’d happened on American artist Dan Graham’s Untitled sculpture (unofficially known as The Showercabinet), a curved mirror that reflects water, mountains, and whoever is standing before the eight-foot-tall glass-and-steel frame.
I was exploring the Lofoten archipelago, solidly within the Arctic Circle in Norway’s Nordland County, where human settlements date back 5,500 years. The area is home to a mosaic of verdant mountains, outdoor art, fishing villages, and deep history. In fact, just 37 years ago, archaeologists unearthed the world’s largest Viking chieftain house about a 30-minute drive from where I was standing.
This far north, in spite of winters devoid of sunlight, residents maintain some of the world’s highest happiness quotients. Case in point: the Bathing Angels, a group of women who swim in the Norwegian Sea every month of the year except July, when “everybody swims” in midsummer’s balmy 45- to 60-degree water, as one of the Angels told me. Something special has been going on in Lofoten for more than five millennia, and, like other visitors creating a recent tourism surge, I wanted to check it out.To get there, I flew from Oslo to Bodø, then boarded a ferry for the six-hour crossing to Moskenes, near the archipelago’s southeast end. I stopped in Stamsund, a town at the base of Mount Steinetinden. It’s lined, like many coastal towns in Lofoten, with fire-red quayside cottages once occupied by cod fishermen and now mostly available to let. A bartender at Live Lofoten restaurant recommended a visit to Henningsvær, a fishing village strewn across several islets an hour east that doubles as an outdoor recreation hub and artists’ hamlet.
At the Lofotr Vikingmuseum in Borg, bands of light darted across a tethered Viking ship that floated in a body of water across the way. The Chieftain’s House, where the museum resides, is a replica of the one unearthed here during the excavation in the 1980s. The interactive exhibits transport visitors back 1,000 years, with cooking, sewing, and craft demonstrations by historically appareled actors among actual artifacts (sorry, Brunhilde, Viking helmets do not have horns) and other opportunities to embrace the Viking-age lifestyle. Old Norse staples such as fish soup, mutton broth, leg of lamb, and hearth-baked bread are served in the Chieftain’s House for lunch or during Viking feasts in the evenings, when actors perform traditional songs and share Nordland fables.
Walking through the narrow harbor streets of Henningsvær, I found Engelskmannsbrygga, the studio of several artists, including Cecilie Haaland. It was filled with displays of bone-white ceramics; a trio of potted daisies and a slumbering border collie were on the stoop. Kafé Lysstøperiet, a patisserie, brimmed with cinnamon buns; meringues; a forest of coconut-lathered bouchons; and berry, dark chocolate, and lemon tarts. A gaggle of fresh-faced hiking guides were receiving an orientation around its community table.
Henningsvær’s Kavi Fac Ory gallery (aka KaviarFactory) takes its name from the remaining letters on the sign of the former caviar factory that occupied this site. A striking three-story contemporary art space established by Oslo-based curators Venke and Rolf Hoff, the gallery supports young artists and has evolved into an international destination. Ai Weiwei has exhibited here; Yoko Ono was an artist in residence.
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