We caught a ferry across for a short visit to Senja island, where we spent a few days exploring different sites as we followed the National Tourist Road around the island’s coastline.
We rolled away from Tromsø east to catch the ferry from Brensholmen to Botnhamn, on the island of Senja. There were only three ferries a day, and we had arrived a few hours early for the next one. Whilst waiting we noted that, if booked through a Trøms Region travel app, the ferry cost was 20% less, so decided to try. We downloaded the app and purchased the ticket, only to find that tickets, bizarrely, have a shelf-life of only 45 minutes from purchase, so we were not going to be boarded before it expired. Playing dumb, it took a few explanatory phone-calls to their head office to finally get the original purchase expunged and refunded, and we waited until we were physically rolling onto the ferry before repurchasing a new ticket. A bit of a palaver but it all worked out okay, just, in the end.
We followed the tourist route, in the now driving rain, to Mefjord, not seeing much of the beauty of celebrated Senja due to the dark wet greyness that surrounded us. We stopped on the side of the fjord in a rather scruffy car-park littered with puddles due to the heavy rains, and sat out the worst of the weather. During a short clear window, we walked around the harbour wall and through the nearby town, taking in a little of the pretty bay we had landed in. Later we walked to the top of the hill behind, finding a large circular car-parking area with several day walks leading off into the hills, and wondered if we should move up to overnight here instead, but we were too lazy to move again. The rain fell in sheets and we sat inside trying to imagine how the green fjord would look if bathed in sun.
The next morning we continued a short way along the tourist route, hugging the coast. The weather was much better, dry and clear with only a little low-lying cloud, so the island was beginning to shine for us. We stopped in at two separate viewpoints along the way, both additions as part of the passing national tourist route. The first was a high-sided timber walkway leading to smooth rocks on the side of the fjord, with a lovely concrete barbecue point built into the base at the end for use on better days than this. We walked out along the rocks, surrounded by the steep face of many mountains, their jagged tops hidden in low grey cloud.
The second viewpoint was at at the top of a series of hairpin bends, a cantilevered timber walkway high above the valley that offered great views across the fjord below. It had several curious cut-outs and additions formed in the framework to add interest to the decking. We played here for a while, enjoying the idiosyncratic forms of the wavy timber decking and taking funky photos. The view down the valley was clothed in grey cloud, but still managed to be quite spectacular. The only issue with the viewpoint was the size of the parking – perhaps four cars, or two motorhomes would fit, but not much else, so when others arrived we had to move on to make room for them; no loitering.
We drove on the short way to Senjatrollet, not realising until we arrived that it was the site of many massive model trolls and lots of quirky, fun buildings, with activities mostly aimed at kids. We parked up and decided to spend the night here, even though it was still early. We walked around the interesting café building, admiring the artistic efforts and humorous touches that, viewed together, brought the place alive. There was an old train carriage in the yard available for hire as interesting accommodation, guarded by the big-nosed trolls.
Later we walked around the nearby coastline, looking out to sea from a grassy headland as the evening sun lit up the island-strewn water. This was a rather special view and we lingered to enjoy it, later returning to sleep peacefully under the watchful eyes of our giant troll guards.