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Reine is one of those places that, like New Zealand’s South Island, appears in popular culture more often than you would realise if you hadn’t been there. I, for one, had seen this stunning place over and over again on sites like Pinterest, so when I realised it was only a few hours’ drive from my originally planned starting point in the Lofoten Islands, I knew I had to go.
As soon as I stepped off the car ferry in Moskenes, I knew I was in for a treat. Even though it was 12.30am and nearly at the new moon, I could still see massive walls of snow-encrusted rock rising all around me. Had my tripod not been securely packed away for my flight earlier in the day, I would have been tempted to start taking photos there and then. As it was, I snapped a few photos of the harbour in Reine, a few kilometers to the north, as soon as I got there.
The next morning, brilliant sunshine streamed in my window as the calls of hundreds of seagulls woke me up. Knowing it was a huge change from the snowstorm the previous day, I grabbed my camera and snapped as many photos as I could of the stunning panorama that was just outside my rorbu’s doorstep. It helped keep my mind off the fact that I was about to jump into the freezing cold water too!
My snorkeling trip provided no end of amazing sea-level views as well. It’s hard to truly feel the sheer size of a fjord without sitting near the bottom of one of the rock walls and looking up.
Unfortunately, by the time I had showered and properly warmed myself up after snorkeling, clouds had started to inch their way up the fjord. In blocking the brilliant sunshine of the morning, they gave the fjord a completely different feel. In the morning, the village had felt like a little piece of paradise, a little hamlet by the ocean where people wanted to be even if the temperature was below zero. Now, it became brooding and a bit melancholy.
This didn’t mean it stopped being starkly beautiful, or that I stopped staring in wonder at each new angle I saw as I walked the 4km round-trip to the coop grocery store on the other side of the village. I took more photos to be stitched into panoramas here than on any other part of my trip, which is really saying something since nearly everywhere I went was gorgeous (sorry Kiruna, you’re the odd one out here).
I found the houses and other buildings in the town to be quite interesting as well. I love how the Scandinavians have all sorts of different colours in their houses, especially the bright reds and yellows. Plus, it seems like they’ve mastered the art of building cute, small churches in every town.
Walking over to the coop store rather than taking the bus (which only ran a few times daily, the last time at 2.30pm) meant that I got to see so much more of the village than I would have otherwise. From a speeding bus, I probably wouldn’t have noticed the semi-sunken boat filled with ice, and I definitely wouldn’t have seen the fact that the tractor overtaking me had a scoop (and trailer) full of cod, presumably brought back to port fresh that day.
Even in the midst of heavy snow showers the next morning, I couldn’t get enough of the view. As much as I would have liked it to be another brilliantly sunny morning, I still managed to get a few photos once the fjord re-emerged from the mists. Plus, I saw firsthand how quickly the snow could dump down there. It definitely lent credence to the story that multiple people had told me about how rain had washed all of the snow away in the week before I arrived, only for a big dump of snow the day before to coat the village once again.
Now, to find a way to go back so I can see it lit by the orange glow of the midnight sun…
What’s your favourite view of Lofoten from this post? Bright and sunny or dark and moody?