Today marks 100 days since our lives changed forever. From being held hostage by man-eating flies in Denmark to sitting under the Aurora by campfire in Lofoten, we can wholeheartedly proclaim our love for vanlife.
Grey clouds covering the sky were a stark contrast to the gloriously clear and sunny skies of the previous day, getting moving is a little harder when the weather is miserable. Saying our goodbyes to Cody and Justyna with the possibility of seeing them later, we drove back to Leknes for some more last minute planning of our return home; organise ferry, print off train tickets, book rental car etc… all fun stuff. During this time the weather had gone from grim to gross as rain fell along with the temperature.
Pulling up at the same location as last night we parked next to their car whilst they relaxed inside, cooking popcorn away from the rain. Drawing our awning out so we could all chat whilst I cooked dinner, me and Theo didn’t realise the rain was misting sideways under the awning, not a very comfortable experience for them! The only option was to tidy our van allowing us all escape the rain, sharing stories of our travels; collectively we’ve explored many countries.
Being cooped up for so long left us hankering for a hike, the next day me and Theo donned our hiking gear, found a suitably steep trail nearby, and began the glorious walk in the sunshine to the summit. The views were gorgeous, the exact spot we’d camped at the night before was a pinprick in the distance, as well as a full panoramic of the entire bay as a Sea eagle glided beneath us across the turquoise waters towards the mountains. A tape player with an assortment of cassette tapes was waiting for us in the letterbox on the summit, sadly we had no batteries or earphones meaning we never got to listen to the recordings, they made exploring the area even more interesting at least.
Once in Unstad we found Cody and Justyna in an off-road grassy area overlooking the sea. They’d saved a perfect spot for us, seemingly made for a van. Unfortunately Belthy struggled on the grass, losing traction resulting in all of us pushing her out of the space and into a less slippy area. The more we struggle with protruding rocks, and now grass, the more determined we become to raise her, and grab some durable tyres whilst we’re at it. Hopefully one day we’ll get round to that so she can explore more.
A fire was quickly assembled before the photographers ran off for sunset, leaving me and Justyna to enjoy Bailey’s hot chocolates and tend to some jacket potatoes; boiling water and baking potatoes is a very satisfying way of multitasking the campfire. Cody and Theo would return now and then to enjoy the heat, or to photograph the camp, telling us to keep still whilst the smoke suffocated us (the unglamorous side to the otherwise pleasant experience of keeping warm outdoors), but they were generally off and about shooting the surrounding area and aurora going on overhead.
They returned a while later with a story involving an encounter with a territorial animal; being chased off from a sheep’s carcass once the aggressive stoat-type animal spotted them nearby, the thought of two fully grown men being charged by a small mustelid had us laughing. A chill in the air sent me to bed not long after, Theo braved the cold and lay on the ground amongst the gravestones to capture the stunning polar lights streaming across the night sky over the small church, on guard for any angry roaming stoats.
The sun was shining again the following day prompting us to hang up any damp items on or around the van to dry, along with the Goal Zero to soak up those rays. By the time we were primed to leave a low level of tension hung in the air; would Belthy make it out over the grassy slope? We stood back ready to push the van if need be, watching Theo drive over the uneven surface, trying to prevent the exhaust from hitting any of the mounds or rocks. Belthy had no troubles with the grass or rocks this morning, no drama today. After saying our goodbyes it felt weird to be setting out on our own again, we’d quickly gotten used to camping with others the past few nights. We drove to Leknes again in search of food to sustain us on our long journey beginning tomorrow, then driving to Reine where the rain was waiting for us, it seems to always rain when we’re in Reine. We held onto the hope that the weather would clear, allowing Theo to shoot a timelapse in Hamnøy on our potential last day ever on the islands but the rain persisted. An early night was had in preparation for the crack-of-dawn drive the next morning to the port in Moskenes, the ferry would be waiting to begin our adventure home for a week.
*we’re now up and running again after the break-in whilst we were in Granada, Spain, meaning more blog posts again, yay!
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