journey to the north Mar 15, 2009
here are the notes that i made during my trip to Nordkapp a few years back. I know that they are a bit chaotic
i'm back. First thing - YEAH!!. Probably the best decision I've ever made. For those who don't know then i had an idea to go to North Cape. Alone. Well alone in that place is quite relative, 'cause the place is absolutely crowded during summer. A real tourist trap. Just buses loaded with people are coming and coming to see the midnight sun. When i was there i counted about 30 buses, but there were also caravans. It seemed stupid to me just to there to buy some things with Nordkapp written on them and see the sun if i'm lucky. Exactly - lucky, 'cause while i was there i saw rain, sunshine, all kind of clouds and nothing (because of the fog, that covered the hilltop). So this is what i came up with
1. on bus to Tallinn
2. with a ferry to Helsinki
3. on a train to Rovaniemi
4. on a bus to Mageroya
5. before North Cape Hall goes a path to the real northernmost place called Knivskjelodden
6. over the hills to North Cape Hall
7. on foot to Skarsvag
8. (maybe) on foot to Honningsvag
9. on bus back to Rovaniemi
10. on train to Helsinki
11. on a ship to Tallinn
well i didn't turn out exactly the way i planned, 'cause i didn't take some things into consideration. But i made notes during the trip and here they are
The first major set-back - the discount i had hoped from Tallink is off, meaning i'll have to pay double for the ship tickets.
Weather during the ferry-ride was nice. Managed to get a sunburn from sitting on the upper deck.
Word of advice - on Tallink ships the wrap is the only thing you can get from the cafeteria that makes you feel like you've eaten something.
Un Helsinki. After some running back and forth managed to get the train and bus-tickets. People very helpful
On the train. Sleeping cabin very nice and comfortable. It better be for the price one has to pay.
Had a funny meeting. Some old Finnish dude came knocking on my door and asked me to join in his cabin for a chat. He had obviously came from Estonia, 'cause he was quite drunk. The talk went to war and he practically bursted into tears, when reminding how Estonians and Finnish fought together and kicked the crap put of Russians forces. After repeating that for five minutes he totally lost it and made no sense at all.
In Rovaniemi i had few hours to spare so i checked out the ARKTIKUM - an Arctic Center and Provincial Museum of Lapland. It had some really good expositions about history and geology, lots of tools and stones and clothes. Really a place worth spending some time in. At least 4 hours i would recommend
Getting closer to Norwegian border. The nature is quite the same - marshes and hills and lakes. Really wouldn't recommend coming here on a bicycle - too many straight roads fading into the horizon. And walking would be even more terrible. We call them "road to motivation", 'cause you lose all of it if you see another one coming out behind a curve.
Entering Norway was like really funny. At some point the driver announced "Tervetuloa Norjaan" meaning "Welcome to Norway" and there we were. The sign indicating the border was no bigger that the average street sign. And that was it. The hills grew immediately bigger and the sun came out. The weather was partly cloudy and it was the best. The sun perfectly lights the hilltops and lakes. It was just breath-taking. I wish i had a continuous 360 view
it's nearly 0830 and there's about 100 km to go. I doubt i would make it to Knivsjelodden in time so i'm seriously thinking about staying for another extra day so it'll be two whole days on the island.
Now i'm there. Or here. At the Nordkapp. Yeah. I know that i said it's a tourist trap, but the place itself is cool. Extremely overloaded, but cool. And i DIDN't buy anything from here, though a idea of having a 1 meter troll in my room is intriguing. I'll be off to Knivskjelodden now.
The weather turned and a cloud came over the hilltop and you can barely see 100 meters. Tough luck for those who came all the way from Germany.
It was about half past seven when the sun came out and i decided to take a break and dry clothes and eat. By the time i had reached the western side of Sandfjorden. It' wasn't easy. I think i have climbed about 500 meters and descended about the same. When looking down some places seem to be absolutely impossible to reach, but the trick is to not look at the goal as one big, but to resolve it in short distances. And when you're down then it seems impossible that you have just came down from there. During the rain it got really difficult , 'cause the stones got slippery and you'd really have to watch your step, 'cause some stones are loose and the rain getting to your glasses doesn't make it any easier. It can be pretty dangerous. So it's good that i'm alone and no-one can tell me that i shouldn't go and try to get down from there and i don't have to worry about that the path i have chosen might come dangerous to somebody else. So i stayed near a small pond, layed my clothes to dry, made some food and took a bath. There's no point in talking about the sights. Words can't describe them.
As i reached the last hilltop before my destination my cameras batteries died. I had extras, but they didn't work. Like NOOOOOOOOO!!. For a moment i thought about jumping off a cliff. So little to go and i had nothing to capture the final moment with. I climbed down to the path leading to Knivsjelodden and sat down waiting for someone to come who can give or sell me batteries. In an hour or so a Dutchman came with his grandson. He had the batteries, but he also needed them for his gps, but he could lend me so i could take few pictures. The old man was recording a route from North Cape to Knivskjelodden for some magazine and he promised to send me a copy and i'll send him the link to pictures in return. I recorded my name to the logbook and now i'll be off to Skarsvag
Well actually forget the Skarsvag part. A bit shame to admit, but the trip back to main road got me totally wasted. It took me over 3 hours to cover the 9 km. The Dutchman and his son practically flew past me. Too little rest and no proper food and no-one else but me to blame for that.
When i finally reached the main road i was so fed up with this place and the weather turned awful and i still had 5 km to the Nordkapp Hall and it was all the way uphill. Well at least in the Hall, the sun came out and it was beautiful
On my way back home a basically slept all the way.
So that was my journey to north. Thinking back now, there are things i regret. For example not taking a time out when needed and conserving energy to fulfill the plans set earlier. But i'll know better next time and there definitely will be next time. There are places in Norway for me yet to discover and there are mountains to the south also. So i'll see you in some hilltop someday.
here are the pictures
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