From the Lofoten we took the ferry early in the morning to Bodø. After the 3,5 hour ride over smooth sea we reached the town on the mainland and stopped at the Norwegian Aviation Museum before we tackled the road South over the Saltfjell crossing the Arctic Circle and leaving the North of Norway behind us.
After leaving the ferry we stopped at a supermarket and filled up the diesel and gas tanks, happy that the price was much lower here. From the things Bodø has to offer we decided on the Norwegian Aviation Museum which has a big exhibition on civil and military aircrafts from different eras.
A part of the history of aviation in the North is of course the first verified trip of any kind to the North Pole in 1926, led by Roald Amundson, with the “Norge”, a semi-rigid airship. We had seen the airship mast in Vadso – have a look at our post from the Varanger Fjord.
Turi Widerøe (born in 1937) was the world’s first female commercial air pilot for a major airline. The daughter of aviator Viggo Widerøe, (the founder of Scandinavia’s largest regional airline Widerøe), she was originally educated as a book designer. She later took a pilot’s education, and, employed by Scandinavian Airlines System.
The temporary exhibition shows a special Messerschmitt plane, which crashed into the sea during WW2 and was left undiscovered at a depth of 67 meters for 67 years, before it was discovered by divers ten years ago. The aircraft was raised and taken to the museum for restoration. Ten years and 33.000!! work hours later the final result is presented, marking the 75th anniversary of the end of WW2. The exhibition is dedicated to all who lost their lives in aerial combat.
On the 24th of March 1943 the 19 year old Gunther Serapim had a problem with the aircrafts motor and crashed into the sea in occupied Norway. A farmers wife and her son saw the incident and were conflicted about whether or not they should help. Olette Blikø then said to her son: “ He too has a mother”, and they took their rowboat out and saved his life. Gunther later returned to thank the family, but he died in 1945, just a month before the capitulation. Nevertheless the family of the rescuers and the Serapim family embarked on a friendship after the war, which lasted a lifetime.
The Germans had many squadrons of Ju 88s in North Norway. The main task was bombing the Allied convoys between Great Britain and Murmansk.
The aircraft on display was stationed at Lakselv. After attacking the two Russian naval vessels in 1942, the aircraft ran out fuel during the flight back. The crew of four bailed out near Hammerfest and the aircraft crashed on a mountain.
It is approximately in the condition as it was found. The paintwork is deteriorated after 40 years of weather and wind, but to begin with it had the original splinter-pattern camouflage.
Our trip south started with nice weather, but the closer we got to the Saltfjell, the colder it was and soon we had snow around us, making us drive much more carefully.
After passing the highest point with 692 metres we crossed the Polar Circle again after 1,5 months north of it, an experience we enjoyed very much and which will bring us back here for sure.
Before we reached Trondheim, we took a little detour to a historic place called Bølareinen, more about that on our next post!