September 8th, 2007 – by: mellemel8
We arrived in Kirkenes. We are doing the Russian border tour. Kirkenes has a population of 5,000. It is situated only 10km from the Pasvikelva river which forms the national border with Russia. Kirkenes is where we the ferry makes a U-turn back to Bergen. This is the only town in Norway where east meets west. This is town with history.
We took a small tour of Kirkenes. The market sells Norwegian, and Russian products called “spareland.” The bus took us further through surprisingly fertile landscape. Here you will see green hills dotted with scrub, birch, and pine that survive despite the harsh arctic climate.
We drove by first, second, and third lake. These are very strange names to call these lakes. The history of the region is unbelievably exciting and has been very dramatic, and then we arrive at Storskog, the border station between Norway
. Unfortunately we can’t cross the border, but we are permitted to take pictures and film. There was a small shop at the border where you can buy Russian souvenirs, especially a matryoshka doll. My mum has been to Russia
before. She enjoyed it going to the border. The Norwegian army was there to guard the border. We took pictures with the 4 soldiers. They weren’t packing small guns either. Then a 5th
soldier came walking down with a muzzled german shepherd. They were all so young. It was cool to see the Russian mountains. Many of the signs in Kirkenes are in Norwegian, English, and Russian.
There was a guard house in the middle of the Pasvikelva River
on a hill to see on coming cars.
Then we went to the now closed open-pit mines of AS Sydvaranger, where iron ore was mined until 1996. This was northern Europe’s largest open-pit mines, and even today Kirkenes is popularly known as the mining town. We got out of the bus and we took pictures. It was a nice view of the diggings. It looked like a mini Grand Canyon and gray. We were allowed to take home a rock with iron ore with it. There were so many rocks. I stacked my rock art to mark that I was here. I should my rock to the guide. He took out a magnet. If the rock magnetized, there was a good amount of iron ore on the rock. HEHEHE MINE DID. On the way down, we went to the mines of Bjornevatin.
A large open �" cast mine which is a monument to over 90 years of mining history. The mines also contain the tunnel in which 2,500 people sought shelter for 2 months in the autumn of 1944 before the Russians liberated the area on October 26. Ten children were born in the tunnel.
Then we went to a residential area of Prestfjellet, with a stunning view over the town, fjord and our ferry. It was the childhood home of Olympic gold medalist cross country skiing, Vegard Ulvang, in Lillehammer, Norway and Albertville, France. It was nice view from the top.
Unfortunately, we did not have time to go back to the town centre. I notice there were no man holes. I just took pictures of the harbor signs. The weather was perfect. It was sunny and not that cold. We were on top of the world too. I just went back to ferry to have lunch. There were lobsters again. After lunch, we had down time till we arrive in Vardo. We have an hour stop. I went to update my blog and pictures and took a nap till we arrive.