Continuing our trip through Northern Norway, we made our way to Ballstad, a small fishing village not far from Leknes. There we stayed at Kræmmervika Rorbuer, also known as HI Ballstad. The hostel is structured a little differently than other hostels – it is composed of 25 cabins mostly located on the shore and guests can either rent a whole cabin, or share rooms with other guests in some of the shared cabins. The main building at Kræmmervika is kindly called Fisker himmel, which means fishermen’s heaven, as before becoming a hostel they were used by fishermen that came to Ballstad during the cod season to earn a living. Until today the hostel still receives many fishermen in the cod season to fish, but mainly as a sport.
Although HI Ballstad is spread through several different cabins it is still a very social hostel. During our stay, we met many guests from different places in the world. We got the chance to dine halibut and risotto cooked by Ingvar, the hostel owner, together with a very multicultural group from Italy, US, India, Philippines and Bulgaria, do a sauna and snow session (in a very Norwegian style) with the captain of a cruise boat and go on a aurora hunt with a professional photographer from NatGeo.
Following Ballstad we continued our journey to Å, the last village of Lofoten. Å has this name because “å” is the last letter of the Norwegian alphabet, so as it is the end of the alphabet it is also the end of Lofoten. As all villages in Lofoten, Å used to be a small fishing village, but today the houses are preserved as a museum and also as the hostel HI Å. Guests of HI Å will actually stay above the museum, in one of the buildings where the cod was processed during the fishing season. Our stay in Å was very calm and we had a very nice meeting with Martin, the hostel manager, to see what the hostel is doing and to give them ideas of other sustainable initiatives they could start.
After Å the final destination of our trip was Bodø, a city 3 hours south of Lofoten by ferry. Bodø is usually used by tourist as a starting or ending point for their trips to Lofoten and northern Norway since it is the biggest city in the region and the northern train stop in the country. Near Bodø you can also visit Saltstraumen, an area where the sea forms very powerful currents and shapes unique whirlpools which you can actually go over with a boat.
The hostel in Bodø is very well located, right above the train station, and near the center of the city. During our stay we had a meeting with Svatava, one of the employees of the hostel that also helps managing it. The hostel already had some sustainable initiatives such as book swap shelf, recycling system and a few games for the guest, but they want to do more.
Our trip through Northern Norway was incredible and very productive. We had the chance to learn more about the sustainable initiatives taking place in Norway and also help the hostels with new ideas and with the HI-Q/S certification. Thanks all for the amazing hospitality! 🙂
Written by: Renato Albernaz and Yousra Makanse
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