Excited as I was by the prospect of having 24 hours of sunlight, this one adventure wasn't half as easy-breezy as the islands. With this advantage of summer, a much sought-after privilege during European winters, I decided to make the most of it by setting-off on a ferry ride after two flights to arrive in the Lofoten islands at 3:30 am! But having more hours to spend outdoors isn't always very pleasant, especially when sleep deprived. There were many to kill before I could even request a check-in and the long walk from the ferry port into town left me exhausted. (Well at least the Norwegians know how to sleep under dazzling sunlight, if not me. So I didn't expect them to run public transport during the odd hours!) With nowhere else to go, I decided to sleep in one of the cute cabins that serve as a local bus-stop. Trust Norway to be a safe-haven for solo-travellers!
Never felt happier waking up. It was finally 8 am and a reasonable time to dial the guest house for an early check-in, as many hotels allow this. Alas, being extraordinarily digitized, they could only send out hourly OTPs past regular check-in time :/ I had no idea how I was going to stay put until afternoon because the wee hours had passed and it wasn't the best idea to spend any longer in my 'temporary accommodation'. Nevertheless the Norwegian wilderness offered great company and I set-off to hike the nearby Reinebringen hill which was crumbling under a fatigue, more collossal than my own. It was impossible to find the trail even after 3 attempts, the cause of which became known to me when I arrived back promptly to check-in at 2 pm, because buoy, I was desperately in need of some rest!
Back in the hotel which was safe-guarded by the OTP that allowed guests to retrieve a key from a safe box to open the main door and unlock their room, it seemed unnecessary to have such heights of digitization where the possibility of breaking-in is as remote as the island itself! Add to this, the Norwegian habit of carrying a Mattepacke (packed lunch) everywhere, next day's breakfast too, was set aside in a dainty basket inside the fridge, with my room number on it. It honestly felt like being transported to a future that is not far away. In those moments of disconcertedness, the warmth of a human voice and the regularity in nature's cycles like day and night became evident. Fortunately though, in walked another girl with a huge backpack with who, I could get chatty. But the 36 year old from Montreal who had backpacked through New Zealand and was now, in Europe on travel visas permitting work, left me feeling dismal-more than the Reinebringen that would not let me conquer it, earlier that day. She wasn't even going to attempt the famous hike because as unknown to me and other enthusiastic hikers, it has been bearing our weight without any complaints. With the number of local tourists seeking an adventure having grown exponentially in the last few years, the steep, rocky trail leading up to the 450-odd meter 'view-point' is battered from landslides caused by overuse. As a measure of responsibility, the municipality of the islands warns tourists of taking the path up at their own risk and requests donors to step forward to re-establish the trail. This level of responsibility towards nature, it seems is harder than just climbing the Reinebringen!
However, Lofoten being picturesque all around, there was no need to go hiking. Even a walk in its tiny hamlets that are subject to unpredictable weather was impressive enough. With sod-roofed houses and conventional ways of fishing still in practice, it was hard to let the disappointing factors overshadow the enthusiasm of this chance to unwind by strolling in the prevalent shadow of the Viking era.