After a very fine Scandic breakfast our taxi arrived to take us the short distance to the train/bus station.
I was excited to see that there was a train in situ and managed to get a couple of shots before it glided off.
We were up for the second leg of my favourite ever journey, having completed the train jaunt from Trondheim the day before, it was the turn of the bus to take us to Narvik.
I had fretted in the UK because you were not able to book tickets in advance. However my fears were allayed by an email received from Nordland Bus Company stating that in the unlikely event that the bus was full they would simply lay on another bus! National Express take note!
We didn’t have to test the theory as it happened as we were half full at most. £80 got us a seat each for the four and a half hour journey that would require a change of buses and thirty minutes spent on a ferry.
I had undertaken the same journey twice before in September ’89 & ’92 when the precipitation had been rain, causing impromptu waterfalls to form and cascade down the black mountains.
On this occasion the landscape was icy and white. Beautiful glacial lakes, frozen waterfalls and pine forests weighed down with snow. With a 16 year gap between my previous experience of the journey I unsurprisingly remembered very little about it.
In a throwback down memory lane however I cranked up the volume on my music player (iPod this time as opposed to cassette Walkman) to listen to Grieg’s Peer Gynt.
The celebrated Norwegian composer’s brilliant score to the Ibsen story evoked thoughts of mischievous sprites, moody trolls and dancing fairies, just as it had done all those years before.
The scene outside the window was a wonderful canvas of nature, interspersed with remote homesteads painted yellow, white or red, smoke billowing from overworked chimneys.
There are some photos from the journey below and you can also view a video on my Youtube channel by clicking ICE.
After three hours we arrived for our bus change at Storjord and were soon disembarking once more for the short ferry ride across the fjord.
Mrs Wilbur and I ventured up to the freezing top deck for invigorating lungfuls of fresh air and plenty of opportunities as we set sail.
I had remembered seeing large groups of jelly fish on previous occasions, but it appeared that the waters were far too cold for them to surface this time.
There was just time for a quick coffee before we bused off the ferry once more. The scenery continued to be spectacular and it wasn’t long before we started heading through the environs of the port of Narvik.
The bus station was situated very close to the port and we could see plenty of activity going on with ships being loaded by crane & forklift and trains shunting back and forth.
Although our accommodation was only 15-minute walk away, one look at the icy ground convinced us that a taxi was best once more. Five minutes and £18 later we arrived at our cost AirBNB apartment. On my previous visits I had stayed at Narvik Youth Hostel, which I was sad to learn was no longer in existence.
As the portents for the Aurora were not good for that evening, we decided a night in was in order. The pricey supermarket obliged with some fish soup and tasty rye bread. However, wine was off the menu on account of it only being sold in Government run alcohol shops and Narvik’s only one was closed for the day.
The max strength alcohol available at the Spar was 4.2% beer, which we gratefully supped as a worthy substitute for a nice red.
We were both bushed after so much travelling so hit the hay early. Next day would be a busy one as we would catch the train to Sweden and then go in search of the Northern Lights.