Sunday, Sep 29
Today is Sunday. Pretty much everything is closed on Sunday. The weather this morning was sunny, but very windy. Both of us were woken this morning to the howling wind outside. But, tomorrow is supposed to be rainy all day, so I wanted to get out and do something outside today. We knew that most things would be closed today, so we decided to head to the north side of our island to settlement called Eggum. There is supposed to be a sculpture of a person’s head along a walk near the beach and an old radar installation built by the Germans in WWII. We were the only car on the road as we approached the parking area. And the sun had disappeared, leaving us with temps of 45, winds of 20mph. It was pretty miserable. We parked, the only car in the lot, and headed toward the old stone radar installation, dodging an excessive amount of sheep poop along the way, much of it fresh. The only other people there were a couple just packing up their tent. I can’t imagine camping there in that wind and cold. We checked out the stone tower from the radar, but the rest of the building was closed for the season. Then we set out to find the head statue. Rob tried to intimidate some sheep, with little success. We walked for about 10 minutes and still couldn’t see the statue in the distance. We stopped and debated continuing. The way out was with the wind, so the way back to the car would be into the wind. Based on that thought, we turned around and headed back to the parking lot. As we turned around, we noticed very dark skies ahead of us and wondered if we’d make it back to the car before it rained. The answer to that question was, “no.” We ran the last little bit, past a bus load of Chinese tourists who had arrived behind us – they were also rushing to get back on their bus.
Our next stop was a cheese shop that advertised they were open every day. We drove about 20 minutes out of our way, down gravel roads, through sheep pastures to get there. When we arrived, the sign on the door (thank you Google Translate) said something to the effect that they had gone to church. So, no cheese for me.
On our way back to the house, with rain showers on various horizons, we stopped at the grocery store in Leknes. One of the 4 grocery stores is open on Sunday, the same one we’d been to yesterday. It’s a good sized grocery store for Norway. We were surprised as we pulled into the parking lot that the few cars that were there were all parked toward the back of the lot, not next to the front door. That’s when we noticed people going in a little door at the back. We headed inside and found a small separate little “store” taking up one corner of the main grocery store. It was stocked with the most basic items (thankfully that included the Giflar Cinnamon rolls that Rob was after). The doorway to the main store was open and an employee was standing guard while she let one shopper go inside. I noticed that the door had been closed by the time we were ready to check out. It all seemed so weird we figured that there had to be some law that required this strange setup. Once home, Rob got to researching. There is, indeed, a law that says only shops smaller than 100 square meters can be open on Sundays. It was passed in the early 1990s, so isn’t some strange old law from 100 years ago that never got removed. The purpose of the law is so that nearly everyone has a day off each week to spend time with families. I guess that’s nice if you have family nearby to spend time with, or if it’s a nice day and you want to go for a hike. For everyone else, though, it seems like it might be a pain. This does explain why the grocery stores were so full of shoppers yesterday afternoon – everyone had to get their shopping done before the Sunday shut-down. Maybe not surprisingly, the majority of the shoppers in the little mini-store today were tourists (several Chinese tourists and us).