Lofoten, Svolvær and the Fishery Museum

We went to bed late yesterday and had to get up early for some tea and our shore leave to Lofoten. We arrived before Svolvær and through anchor at 8:00 am. We took a shuttle boat at 8:05 and met our guide for Svolær and the Lofoten museum. The guide was originally from Sigmaringen, supporting the narrative that Suebs can be found everywhere on the globe. He settled in Lotofen this very January. He left Germany after a tour through Norway because it loved how relaxed Norway is compared to hectic Germany. It is even more relaxed than Kiel.

He toured with us through Svolvær and we had some time to shoot photos from Svolvær, its harbor and the Svolvær goat. The latter is a rock formation with two pointy ears. The story goes that in the past when a couple wanted to marry, both had to climb up one of the ears of the goat, one for the bride and one for the groom and then the latter had to prove his courage by jumping over to the woman’s pillar, I mean ear. The distance between both pillars is approximately 150 cm make a jump possible, but in case you miss, you fall to your demise. Under these conditions, I would have stayed unmarried.

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Our next stop was at the Norwegian Fishing Village Museum in Sørvågen. The building ensemble was a fishing village in the past until the village owner went bankrupt and the town Sørvågen took over. They transformed it into a nursing home and then more recently into a museum, because of all the tourists roaming the islands in the summer.

The museum comprises an old main house where the administrator and owner lived, living quarters for fishermen, repair shops, a blacksmith hut and boat sheds. The owner’s house was painted in white. White indicates a rich owner, as the white paint had to be imported which was expensive. Some people only painted one side of their homes white. Usually the one facing the sea, as the sea was the main road in the past. The sheds were all painted red. In the past they used fish blubber and fish blood to mix the paint resulting in a reddish color of the sheds and houses.

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Inside the museum, they illustrated how the people lived on the Lofoten in the past and worked in the past. It displays the development from early fisheries in Lofoten up to the early 20th.

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The interior of the owners’s house illustrates how those fish barons lived in comfort, while the fishermen usually had little to nothing, as they had to sell their fish to the owners and use their facilities. Looks like private monopolies are not a good idea. Later this monopoly was broken up by the state, but the fish village owners built fish factories where the fishermen had to sell their fish.

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On our way back to Svolvær, we came across the Lofoten Cathedral. A lovely wooden church. The present day implementation is the third version of the church at this place. The predecessor was dismantled and reassembled at another village.

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We concluded our trip in Svolvær with a visit to a local bakery where we sampled some local coffee specialties and bakery products. Finally, we hopped on one of our shuttle boats back to the cruise liner. On route to our ship, we were able to take pictures of the local fish drying facilities.

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