We stayed in the town of Svolvær, a bustling little fishing town about halfway down the Lofoten island chain.  We have rented a rorbu, an old boathouse sitting on a rock at the edge of the water, that has been converted into a holiday cabin.  The one we’ve rented is an authentic one, not a prefab reproduction which are also available for rent. They have been honest in the restoration, and you can tell where the old wood ends and the new wood starts.

Our rorbuer cabin.
Our rorbu cabin.

The cabin is really nice inside. The kitchen and dining room are upstairs, and the bedroom and bathroom are downstairs.

Inside the cabin. We had nice views of the fjord.
Inside the cabin. We had nice views of the fjord.

We have views of the harbour, fish-packing plant, and ocean in three directions.

Diana at the front of the rorbuer cabin.
Diana at the front of the rorbu cabin.

Svolvær is spread out over a number of skerries (rock islets) in a bay, and before dinner we wandered around and had a look.  We found huge drying-racks with cod on them (stockfish).  Lofoten is famous for these.  Surprisingly they don’t smell much, and even more surprisingly the seagulls don’t peck at them.  I think it is because they have been preserved in salt.  The backdrop to all of this are the huge mountains, rearing up out of the sea, capped by snow.

Fish racks at the parking lot.
Fish racks at the parking lot.

There were thousands and thousands of fish drying.

Diana at the fish racks.
Diana at the fish racks.

We walked around and marveled at all of the fish.

Fish rack.
Fish rack.

Apparently the major markets for the dried cod are Italy, Spain, and Portugal.  We have had bacalau (dried salt cod) in Portugal before.  Now we know where it comes from!  The dried fish heads are exported to west Africa.

Fish heads.
Fish heads.

We wandered down the road and found more fish.

More fish racks.
More fish racks.

We drove to nearby Kabelvåg, where there is a large wooden church.

Kabelvåg church.
Kabelvåg church.

Just down the road is Henningsvær, another fishing village.  Just like Svolvær, the village is on a series of skerries connected by bridges.

Diana at Henningsvær.
Diana at Henningsvær.

We walked around the colorful fishermen’s houses.

Fishermen's houses, Henningsvær.
Fishermen’s houses, Henningsvær.

And, of course, there are more fish racks.

More cod drying.
More cod drying.

Back in Svolvær we stopped by the tourist info and asked where we could buy some fresh fish.  Is there a market on a certain day of the week?  The guy behind the counter looked at us funny and told us to just go to the grocery store.  But will it be fresh, we asked.  He looked at us with indignation and said: of course it is.
We followed his advice and bought some cod at the store, and cooked it up at our rorbu.  Sure enough, it was by far the best cod we’ve ever had.

Cod.
Cod.
Car touring northern Norway: Svolvaer, Lofoten