Saturday, June 19, 2010

Day 10 - A wild ferry ride to Lofoten Island

Note the 192 kph maximum ... clearly the speedo on the Lotus overreads a tad ... because the maximum that we say was 200 kph.

But first, here's some statistics for Fergus Wall ... the total journey to this point ... and hours of analytics for the littl'un ...

Some time later that day ...

Tales of rain … all over Europe it seems … all other travellers that we meet talk of rain wherever they came from … and wherever their other friends went on holiday.

The land of the midnight sun is now the land of the midnight rain … a land where you can clearly see the raindrops at midnight … and where, at any hour of the day or night, you can see the splashes that raindrops make in the large puddles that are everywhere …

Even without being able to see the sun, the reality of 24 hour daylight is quite strange …. To wake up during the night and look out of the window (yeah ... I woke at midnight and again at 4am, both times thinking it must be about 6am ... Karen) … and to see everything as if it were daytime is quite strange. In some ways, it’s more unreal without the sun itself, because you are not aware of the angle of the sun … only the 24 hours of dreary unchanging daylight. Just like the daylight (and presumably for the same reason) the temperature does not change either.   In Bodo, it is 8-9°C in the middle of the night … and 8-9°C in the middle of the day.

A couple of typical Lofoten teenagers ....

Business ... Lofoten style ... drying cod ... big business

How they fish in the frozen winter months ....

Artistic shot ... obligatory in any blog ...

... and Karen watching the world go by ....

Other Trivia ....

An Arctic Circle Lotus Europa Owner

On the ferry I got talking to the man parked next to me (how unusual - Peter striking up conversation with a complete stranger!! I’m not even sure the man was speaking English, but that’s never stopped Pete before …. Karen). He used to have a Lotus Europe back in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. He ran it in Northern Norway, using studded tyres. Now some bloke runs it in Northern Sweden. And we thought that we were brave venturing into the Far North is summer time.

Estimating Journey Times

This is quite straightforward. Googlemaps and TomTom provide quite reasonable journey distances and times, but you need to be conscious of 2 important factors:

1. The Speeds

Both Googlemaps nor TomTom appear to assume that you are travelling just under the posted speed limit. If you travel just over the limit, but still quite conservatively (say 90-95 kph in national 80 kph zones, and always respecting the 50 kph town zones), you will knock a considerably % off the journey time. More than you expect because the difference in speed (as a %) is quite high.
For instance, a 9 hour journey can be calmly (calmly??!!, with all the rain & trucks & caravans, the overtaking manoeuvres made by my driver have been very exciting and adventurous!!!  ... Karen) completed in 7 hours. This is particularly the case for the Elise because maintaining 80 kph is much easier than in, for example, a campervan.

2. The Ferries

Neither Googlemaps nor TomTom make allowance for ferries, either in ferry duration or waiting for a ferry to depart. Many ferry crossings are just part of the road, so bookings are not necessary or possible … just arrive, pay your money and drive on. Ferry journeys are typically between 10 minutes and 1 hour, but you could wait as much as an hour if you arrive just after the previous departure.
So check your route on the map and look for points where a crossing is necessary. It will be fairly easy to spot. You can get all of the details on the internet, but without the internet, you can make an allowance in your journey plan. You don’t want to plan a 9 hour drive and then discover that it takes 11 with ferries. (yes, and the ferries are really fun and exciting!!! ... Karen)


It’s very expensive like everything else. Little cabins, fishermen’s huts, etc can be hired more cheaply and have basic cooking facilities. Being able to prepare your own meals even if it’s just your breakfast will save you a fortune. (taking extra from the brekky buffet to make lunch is a good tip!! ... Karen )

Tips for Elise Travel # 2

Storage of cold climate clothing :

As mentioned previously, storage space in the Elise is at a premium, so packing for colder climates can be a challenge. Bulky jackets, fleeces, raincoats etc are required for a trip such as this but can pose a problem when trying to find a spot for them inside the boot. A solution to this problem is to fold your fleece or jacket neatly and place it on your seat, sitting on it for the journey. Apart from solving the storage problem, this has two distinct advantages:

1. Your jacket is toasty warm when you get out on the deck of the ferry, or the top of a cold mountain road, or arctic circle stop.

2. For haemorrhoid sufferers, this could serve as a soothing solution to any discomfort!!

End of Tips for Elise Travel #2.

Day 10 - to Lofoten Island by Ferry

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  1. So what happened to the 3000mph? ;-)

  2. that has to wait ... till i have time ... and good connections
    even today's ferry went ballistic!!!