On the dock of the bay
TEXT: MARIANNE HEEN JOHNSGÅRD | PHOTOS © NORDLYSBUA
A visit to the Nordlysbua fisherman’s cottage in Norway’s Lofoten archipelago leaves you in the land of the northern lights, while the cabin’s location has you staying not just next to the sea, but actually on top of it.
“Let me take you back to the 19th century,” says Michael Pettersen, one of the cabin’s owners. “Fishermen spent long periods away from home. Rather than sleeping on board their boats, many rented a small shack – a ‘bu’ in Norwegian – in one of the harbours along the coast. These buildings were small shelters placed partly on land, partly on poles in the water.”
Today, Nordlysbua is one of very few remaining original fisherman’s huts in Stamsund, the small northern coastal village you can reach by car, plane (to nearby Leknes) or ferry. The hut is situated at the very end of the dock, with its own garden, and a stay there feels private, while at the same time you are very much part of the community. The cabin from 1874 sleeps six, in addition to two baby beds, and has been modernised without losing its old-time charm. Both bathroom and kitchen were installed only a few years ago, so that you can take a warm shower or prepare a meal after a day of enjoying the great outdoors.
The cabin’s closeness to nature is a key reason to stay at Nordlysbua. “Climb up the Tinderekka mountain range to look at the midnight sun during the summer, or try downhill skiing in winter,” Pettersen recommends. The northern lights, which the cabin is named after, are frequently seen in the area, and are spectacular to watch from a mountain top or from the cabin itself. It is also possible to get your sea legs. “Many guests rent a boat and go fishing. If you are lucky, you might even catch some fish for your dinner.”
Back on land, you can stroll along the dock, watch the fishing boats unload their fresh finds or welcome the Hurtigruten ferry on its daily stop in Stamsund. You find the grocery shop close by, as well as the Skjærbrygga restaurant and bar. “The food is really good and the locals are friendly, often encouraging visitors to take part in the weekly quiz on Fridays,” p Pettersen.