The hospitality along the coast along Finnmark and Troms is famous and in our experience rightfully so!

RSKE Year 2 Day 13 1st of August 2019: Waiting on weather on Arnøy. Today weather did not permit.

That was our good luck. That luck materialized itself in the shape of Kåre Nilsen. As Erling stuck his head out of the tent, Kåre was just on his way down to check on what the ocean had washed ashore overnight.

The hospitality along the coast along Finnmark and Troms is famous and in our experience rightfully so.

Kåre had one concern: How quickly would we be out of the sacks and ready for breakfast and coffee?

Answer was very quick indeed. When we came in Kåre’s wife Laila had coffee, smoked salmon and home baked bread and rolls ready. Luxury indeed.

It turned out Kåre was a retired teacher with a keen interest in local history. In particular what is known as the “Arnøy tragedy”. The tragedy occurred in August 1943 when 11 people were killed or executed by the Germans for assisting two Red Army partisans that were at Arnøy to report on German shipping activity to Kirkenes.

The small community of Arnøy thus became the community in Norway with the highest per capita casualties during WW2. The awareness and memory of these events are very much kept alive.

Not least by Kåre and Laila’s friends Edmund and Jorunn who have made a great effort to privately build a local museum documenting life and livelihoods on Arnøy in the old days.

The Arnøy tragedy features prominently, but most of the museum is dedicated to everyday life, from the kitchen to the workshop to the barn to the perhaps most important; boats and fishing gear.

Kåre drove us around Arnøy and gave a quick introduction before we spent a couple of hours in Edmund and Jorunn’s museum.

There is a phrase about “the good old days”, and surely people had their joyful moments then as now. But what the museum documents is first and foremost “the hard old days”. And how new innovations like electricity, the combustion engine, tools and technology to build proper breakwaters etc, slowly but surely transformed the hard old days to the times of relative effortless affluence that we enjoy here and now.

Speaking of luxury. When we got home to Laila and Kåre’s well built and well kept cabin, a luxurious dinner was ready.

And so was the annex where we will sleep tonight.

Tomorrow the weather looks more permitting and we hope to make our penultimate leg toward Tromsø.

But first a good nights sleep in Laila and Kåre’s annex.

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