If the postings here seem a bit erratic, it is because it is vacation time, and I have spent two weeks on the coast of Northern Norway. Not a beery destination at all, Nordland county is one of the few without any micro breweries at present, but there are other things to do.
Like an excursion to Lånan, a group of tiny islands where they are keeping the heritage alive, harvesting eggs and down from eider ducks. Lånan is not inhabited during the winter, but when spring arrives, the eider keepers are there to prepare houses where the ducks can make their nests safe from predators of various kinds.
A lovely place on a sunny day in July, but imagine spending the winters there with nothing to protect you from the storm and rain sweeping in from the Atlantic. The highest point is just a few feet above sea level, and there is no vegetation to give shelter. Yes, there is fish in the ocean, but you can hardly blame people leaving for the mainland some decades ago.
A few families keep the tradition alive, taking care of the birds, cleaning the down and making the most exclusive duvets you can think of. There are about 500 birds nesting in man-made shelters, which gives a yield of a dozen duvets per year. Cleaning the down by hand takes about a week per duvet, and to buy one you’ll have to pay about 5000 Euros.
There are excursions from the main island Vega to Lånan every week during the summer, and the locals guide you around tell you about the traditions and serve you a nice meal.
Yes, there are eider eggs in the waffles!