Gunnar Eilertsen (60 years old), Kabelvåg
‘I like driving and I love talking to people. I never get tired of hearing people telling me how beautiful Lofoten is. It always makes me very proud.
Gunnar Eilertsen is a happy Lofoten native who has lived in Kabelvåg his whole life. For the last 20 years, he has been a bus driver - and there is no doubt that the jovial 60-year-old is passionate about his passengers. Despite long working days and intense routes with many connections, he is happy doing what he does.
What is the typical destination for one of your passengers?
‘I drive between Å and Narvik. People heading to Narvik are often going to take the train to Kiruna or a plane to Tromsø. People who come to Lofoten come for our natural landscape. People most often stop in Svolvær, since this has some of the best accommodation options. But there are also some who travel on to Å. Regardless of where people are going, there are so many beautiful things to see.’
Have you learned anything from tourists?
‘When I was growing up, I thought it was boring to live in Lofoten. But after I started driving buses, that changed. I particularly remember driving a group of Germans from Stokmarknes to Kabelvåg in fog and rain. We stopped at the church in Valberg, and all the tourists were so happy with how lovely it was. That was when I understood that I had been blind to my surroundings, and that I live in the middle of paradise.’
What do the tourists think about travelling by bus in Lofoten?
‘They are fascinated by where the roads go. In between precipitous mountains and the open sea, and with light the like of which is not found anywhere else in the world. If we’re lucky, we might see killer whales in the ocean.’
What’s your favourite place in Lofoten?
‘I’m very fond of Olenilsøya in Moskenes. You get there by boat via the Reine fjord, and get off at the head of the Bunes fjord. From there, it’s an easy - but beautiful - walk over the mountain until you reach the outside. When my wife was alive, we would spend whole days out there. The beach is so picturesque, with panoramic views of the ocean. And there's plenty for the kids to do. It’s quite simply a gem.’