This day had a promising start. The sun wasn’t exactly shining, but at least there weren’t any low-hanging clouds and it wasn’t cold. The hotel had complementary breakfast and it was a pleasant surprise as there was a huge selection of breakfast items. Because we had only a relatively short drive ahead of us this day, so we decided to visit the Arctic Cathedral and Polaria, which is the world’s northernmost aquarium. The cathedral was of interesting shape, but we had to pay a fee of 40 NOK (approx. 5€) per person to get inside.
After the cathedral we headed for Polaria. The road to the aquarium went inside the tunnel, but it wasn’t any basic tunnel, but it had at least three underground roundabouts which led to other tunnels. I’ve never seen anything like that before, so it was a very interesting experience. We happened to arrive to Polaria so that they started feeding the seals within 15 min of our arrival, so we caught a funny show. Otherwise Polaria was a pretty small place, so we didn’t spend a lot of time there.
The idea for the day was to drive finally to the Lofoten. The trip was only 225km to Gryllefjord, from where we needed to catch the ferry to Andenes, so the final 40km part would be a ride on the ferry.
So we started our way towards Gryllefjord and we were supposed to take a tiny detour to take a look at something called the Senja Troll and also stop in a village called Hamn i Senja. The road scenery was great as usual and the weather turned nicer the further we drove. It was pretty nice, but for some reason every time we stopped to rest we were always very quickly surrounded by bees and horse-flies, so we had to quickly keep going and be really thankful for thick biker gear. 🙂
Finally we saw a road sign for the Senja Troll, which is in the Guinness book of record and it is 17,96m high. There were a lot of families with children, so this troll was a much more popular sight than we thought. There was a restaurant and there is supposedly an exhibition inside the troll and during the summer season there is some sort of show twice a day. We just stopped, took a few pictures and left. 🙂
Finally we ended up in Hamn i Senja, which looked like a cabin resort type of place. There was a small harbor and a lot of cabins for rent. It looked very idyllic and the day couldn’t be better weather-wise.
There was also a restaurant, so we decided to have lunch. They had a really nice terrace, but we decided to hide a bit from the sun and eat lunch inside. The food they served was one of the best culinary experiences we had in Norway. Main courses, drinks and a shake for dessert cost together 610 NOK (approx. 76€), which for once felt reasonable because the food was totally worth it.
After lunch we continued to Gryllefjord, where we joined the waiting line. There was still a couple of hours left before the ferry’s departure, but only a handful of cars and bikes arrived after us, so everyone was there well before departure time.
The driving to the ferry worked the same way as before, that is the collector walked among the cars charging the fee and another person pointed the cars to the ferry. This ferry departs only twice per day except in July when there are three departures per day. We planned on taking the last ferry of the day at 19:00 and it worked without any problems. The ferry was really big and I think that all the cars and bikes were taken onboard.
This time we had to tie the bikes down and it seemed to be a required procedure. There were special assigned spots for bikes near the walls of the ferry.
The crossing took one hour and 40 minutes as was promised. The surrounding nature was great and I couldn’t stop taking photos.
Finally we reached Andenes.
We had booked a room in Hotel Marena and I think that we booked the last available room in the entire town of Andenes. In the guidebook the hotel was described as being design hotel, but it seemed pretty average to us. As I mentioned we didn’t really have any choice when booking the accommodation, so we had to pay 1220 NOK (approx. 150€) to stay in Andenes. Breakfast was included in the price.
Hotel was again very clean, but the room was small, but we fit with our stuff just fine. There are parking spaces right beside the hotel and because this is a very small town the parking was free of charge. The downside was that everything seemed to be closed when we arrived around nine. We managed to get to the grocery store before it closed and bought some food, which we ate at the hotel. We walked a bit around Andenes, but there was basically one main street and not much else, although the houses were interesting.