Like being at home
Without doubt, the cosiest forms of accommodation are ‘rorbus’. These are old fishermen’s houses with wooden exteriors. They have been converted into hotels equipped with a lounge, kitchen, bedroom, and some of them even offer an outdoor Jacuzzi. Another of their charms are the sea views.
Esben and Trond have been working for 15 years in the turbulent waters of the Arctic and they look around 60 years old. The sun hasn’t yet risen when together they launch the boat out into the open waters. We cast anchor several miles out at sea from the port of Grunnfarnes. They invite me to fish. In perfect English they tell me that the day before they had returned to land with three tonnes of ‘skrei’, the most sought-after cod in the world. And unique, because it can only be caught in Lofoten from February to April, when the fish arrive from the Barents Sea to spawn. Their day’s work doesn’t end there when these coveted fish are trapped in their nets, as they then have to gut them and hang them on wooden racks in the open air. In pairs, held motionless, sunlight falls upon them pitilessly, giving them their traditional character that heightens the sense of smell. They will stay like this for three months.
Fishing is a serious business in Lofoten, and they celebrate it to the full. Hundreds of tourists visit the port of Svolvær every year to attend the World Cod Fishing Championship, which is held on 1st and 2nd April. The person who catches the biggest fish wins. It’s captivating how naturally Lofoten uses tourism to exploit the sector that has been the driving force of its economy.