I received a text late last night saying that Lyn's case has made it to Andenes Airport, and to contact them to arrange delivery. We are going to Andenes for shopping today anyway, so it seems a much better idea for us to collect the bag from the airport, rather than having to arrange a time for delivery, which means we have to make sure we are in the house when they arrive.
This morning promises some nice, albeit cold, weather, and Lyn and I wander down to the coast while David scrapes the ice off the car.
Mountains reflecting in the still waters
Everything looks better with a sprinkling of snow
We are heading across the rather impressive 750 metre long Andøy Bridge, which takes us from Hinnøya to Andøya – two of the islands that make up the Vesterålen archipelago.
The bridge is pretty impressive from whichever way you look at it, and approaching it by road from our end, it looks impossibly steep.
It is, in fact, 30 metres high to allow for ships to pass under, such as Hurtigruten, the coastal voyage ship which historically provided a lifeline to the people living in isolated village, and these days also ferries tourists along this coast.
There are not many roads on the island, so the plan is to drive up to the top on the west coast, and back down on the east coast.
The scenery is breathtaking, with steep, craggy cliffs and the sunrise reflected in the inlet with its broken up ice.
With short daylight hours (the sun rises at 8:30 and sets at 14:00), the light is wonderful for most of that time, changing between a delicate pastel pink and a shocking orange. And all the shades between.
At one of our stops we see a Sea Eagle flying overhead, but he is way too quick for me to photograph. The ground is icy, and walking is quite precarious.
Small and very unassuming, the airport is deserted when we arrive. I spot a security guard in the back room and call out. He saunters across and tells me the staff member we want (the only one there apparently) is outside “seeing the plane off”. After a few minutes the man we apparently need comes back in again, looks at us and states: “you're here to collect the bag”. Moments later he brings Lyn's case out from the back room and hands it over, shrugging his shoulders at my suggestion that he might want to see the paperwork. That's laid back.
An emotional reunion
Andenes is a 'big town' and we do a little drive-through sightseeing before stopping for a food shop as well as petrol.
REMA 1000. Although a 'discount store', prices are still about double what we are used to from the UK
While we were enjoying the sunrise earlier, it has now evolved into sunset.
We stop at the small village just short of the bridge to take in the last half an hour of the setting sun.
That bridge again
Cormorants on the bridge legs
Red Breasted Merganesers taking off (a new bird for us - yay!)
Flying into the sunset
Sunsets and light are strange bedfellows: standing facing the sunset, I get this dramatic view...
… while immediately turning 180° with my back to the sun the light is altogether more delicate.
Before the light disappears completely, we make a recce of possible places to photograph the northern lights tonight should it decide to play ball.
From here maybe...?
Despite not being able to see anything interesting in the sky, we make a trip out after dinner and head for the place identified earlier. The night view is nice, but the very feint lights are not really in a good position. We are also disappointed that the bridge is not lit at night
David spots a small arc at 90° angle to the bridge, just over the hill at the end of the road.
Nothing spectacular, and the foreground is dull, so we move on.
Interesting foreground, but the lights are still rather pale and the moon somewhat dominates the picture
On a private road near a farm we have a good view, but the street lights are a nuisance.
Fearing the aurora is not going to do much more this evening we head towards home, but on a whim I suggest we take a road not yet explored.
For the next hour we watch as the lights glow, fade and pulse; varying from an intense flash to a gentle glow and an amazing radiance over the entire sky. At times they appear to dance across the sky with greenish swathes of light moving in waves and creating dramatic patterns of illumination. What a wonderful experience.
We move on to one last location before calling it a night, sated with the delights of what we came here for: The Aurora Borealis.