If you have ever visited Holmen Lofoten before, you might have noticed a tall man, with wild curls, usually holding a cup of coffee in his hands. His name is Håvar, meaning guardian in old Norse. A fitting name indeed, as we in many ways could say that he is the one that guards Holmen. Being the son of owner Ingunn, he has looked after Holmen Lofoten for as long as he can remember. Here is a person who oozes patience, a sense of calm, and who is always there beside you when needed. Håvar is the one that always makes sure everything runs smoothly. This means everything from securing Holmen for the next storm, to driving many miles to get much-needed equipment, or simply enjoying his time together with the guests.
His favourite day of the week is Friday – then he always gets up early in the morning to make the 1-hour drive to our local suppliers. With a shopping list as long as his arm he sets out, planning the best route on our winding roads that will be the most efficient for the day (he enjoys this as a “challenge”). His first destination usually involves something sweet: “My first stop is to visit Tove at Åland Gård (@aalandgard) – and the best thing about the stop is the delicious breakfast – usually a peace of goat-cheese-chocolate cake or waffle – and the golden coffee along with it.” With some extra energy, he picks up the fresh herbs and cheeses on his list, and is ready to continue his route. Oh – wait – suddenly his phone rings again, and someone says they forgot to tell him that they need that “thing” – “there” – and his shopping list grows and grows, and his amazingly planned route is suddenly (..and sadly) not so efficient anymore. Good thing he had such a delicious breakfast, and the essential coffee. He continues his journey, and puts together the extra pieces of the puzzle: newly butchered meat is bought, fresh greens, extra candles, light bulbs, painting, fishing equipment and so on, and gradually his shopping list shrinks. Before he knows it, another shopping day has come to an end, and he can sit back and simply enjoy the breathtaking scenery along with some music on his ride back home.
Back at Holmen, his work continues. Everything needs to be carried down to our hotel, and this involves walking down a steep hill followed by a bridge. Usually we all pitch in and help with this – but the physical work doesn’t end here – Håvar is usually the one to carry firewood down from the parking place and over to the stone oven as well as out on the quayside, where we fire up a hot tub for the guests. When he is standing out on the quay with firewood in his arms, he might discover that our fisherman-neighbour Yngve is returning with fresh cod! Seconds later, the firewood has been neatly placed where it should, and Håvar has magically appeared over at his neighbour to claim some of the latest golden cod. You see, Håvar is what we in Norwegian call a “hot potato” – he is everywhere, but for a short amount of time, before he needs to help out somewhere else. You wouldn’t be surprised to see him running around with a screwdriver on a Friday night or helping out with something in the kitchen; if there is a problem or some sort of task to solve, Håvar enjoys doing it: “I think the most strange thing I have had to do, was to sit below the dock early spring trying to defrost the pipes with a hairdryer!”.
At the end of the day, no matter how long it might be, he always makes sure he has the time to visit his grandmother in the neighbouring village, to enjoy a cup of coffee together. In Norwegian, she is called “mor på Å” – mor being the Lofoten name of grandmother – and Å being the place where she lives. The charms about living in such a small village is that everybody knows who mor på Å is. After catching up, his day is completed. If the weather is nice, everybody at Holmen will know where he can be spotted: fishing, at a nearby lake, hopefully catching a nice, big trout.