Haven't heard of Bodø before? Don't worry - I'll tell you all about it right now. The first thing you need to know is that Bodø is the second biggest city in Northern Norway which kinda makes it an opponent of Tromsø. For the people in Bodø, Tromsø is the "little brother" while for us in Tromsø, Bodø is the little brother. I understand that it's got something to do with fotball but of course, the two cities are pretty similar and the biggest ones in Northern Norway - that's got to evoke some friendly rivalry!
Anyhow, Bodø has some 45000 inhabitants while Tromso has about 75000 - just to give you an idea of their size. Bodø is mostly known for the world's largest tidal current named Saltstraumen, which I'll blog about next week, and also its population of sea eagles. Bodø wasn't a real destination on our trip though but basically only a pit-stop on our way to the boyfriend's parents house in Fauske. I've wanted to see the Lofoten Islands for ages and figured, taking the scenic route from Tromsø to Fauske via Hurtigruten cruise and stay in Svolvær would be a good idea. After we stayed in Svolvær for two nights, we were headed to Fauske and as Bodø was on our way, we decided to spend the day there. Therefore we took the early morning speedboat at 6.30 am from Svolvær to Bodø which was the absolute horror!
Taking the speedboat from Svolvær
We got out of bed at 4am to shower and pack our things as we had to take the speedboat at 6.30 am. Now you might ask why the hell we got out of bed that early to catch a boat at 6.30? And no, I'm not one of those girls who spends 5 hours in the bathroom. I could of course but usually I don't - especially not in the middle of the night! So why did we get up that early then? Well it said on our ticket that we had to be at the pier ONE hour before departure. We found that strange too but didn't want to miss the boat of course so we left the hotel at quarter past 5 in the morning only to find a dark and empty harbour. Of course!
We waited a while but no one was to be seen and it was freezing cold. It had already been really cold on our road trip the day before - about 0 degrees even though the sun was out. That morning though, we had about -5 degrees with an awfully chilly wind and since we didn't expect to be outside much that day, we weren't exactly dressed for that kind of weather either. So we waited and waited but nothing. Since the pier in Svolvær is right next to a hotel, we decided to head inside even though we weren't guests there. So in we went into a 4 star hotel with our luggage, looking tired and exhausted, and pretty boldly headed into the restaurant where breakfast was already being prepared cause we had the best view on the pier from there.
Now that's not something you should do - getting comfortable in the restaurant of a hotel you're not even staying at while it's not even day. Honestly? We couldn't care less though. We waited for 45 minutes until the staff finally arrived at the boat and it wasn't until 5 minutes for departure that we were actually able to enter the boat. Nice. Really nice. The best was yet to come though. Even though we were able to enjoy a nice sunrise over the ocean upon departure, it got kinda rough once we reached the open sea. If you're new to this blog, you might not know that I'm suffering from sea-sickness and already pucked on a Hurtigruten cruise once. The journey this time took only 3 and a half hours but that can be quite a long time if you're stuck on a tiny boat and feeling miserable. We got a really nice breakfast-to-go from our hotel but I couldn't eat most of it until we actually reached Bodø. Instead of eating, I did what a girl with experience with sea-sickness does: Take medicine (more than is actually needed) and sleep throughout the whole journey.
It wasn't a pleasant journey, that's for sure, and whenever I woke up and looked outside, I was getting nauseous again. I had to wake up when we reached Bodø, though I was feeling so drugged that the boyfriend and I stayed at the bus station at the harbour for about 45 minutes until I was able to stay awake and walk properly again. After all, the only reason we took that stupid boat was to explore the town of Bodø before heading further to Fauske in the afternoon. Luckily I felt fine again pretty quickly but I'll never take the speedboat again - at least not if the route leads us over the open sea!
Exploring Bodø's Harbour
Now Bodø is your average Northern Norwegian town and doesn't have too much to offer (no offense!). It definitely doesn't have as many sights as Tromsø but the harbour is a must-see for sure! As soon as I was awake enough again, we headed outside to take a stroll along the moloen - the embankment that is supposed to protect the town from floods and makes a nice walk along the water. Bodø's harbour is definitely prettier than the one we have in Tromsø!
Visiting the Norwegian Aviation Museum
Afterwards we headed out of town to visit the Norwegian Aviation Museum. According to the boyfriend, it is the only sight of Bodø so naturally, we couldn't miss out on it! It was actually pretty interesting. The museum is divided into military and civilian aviation history and they even exhibit actual old planes, some of which you can even enter! They tell you all about military aviation during WWII and about the beginning of mass tourism in Spain in the 1980s. They even had a simulator which the boyfriend dragged me into where we "enjoyed" a 3D movie, pretending to be in the pilot's seat of a plane and flying stunts. Without getting into too much detail, you could imagine how that made me feel like after those 3 and a half hours on the boat...
Views from the Tower
The Norwegian Aviation Museum is situated in the buildings of a former WWII air base and even has a real tower, equipped with aviation radars. You have a pretty nice view over Bodø from there and can even see the real airport. Plus, you can watch planes starting and landing from there and see where planes currently are in the air on a real time radar. Definitely a nice bonus!
Another Scenic Route
I think we spent about two hours in the museum and then headed back to town to go to the shopping mall - the other sight Bodø has to offer according to the boyfriend. I bought some early Christmas presents for my family and ate some ice-cream before deciding that we pretty much saw everything there is to see in Bodø and took the bus to Fauske. The area around those two towns is absolutely beautiful though and I took a ton of pictures on the one and a half hour bus journey!
Bodø certainly is a charming town even though it's quite provincial. If you decide to visit it, definitely head to Saltstraumen and the Aviation Museum but I guess one day is quite sufficient to see the town.
Have you ever experienced a journey like this? Tell me all about it!