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Published: August 29th 2008
On the way from Tromso to Nordkapp
My last couple days on Svalbard were solid. I went on a pricey boat tour that took me across the fjord to a set of glaciers that meet at the oceans edge. As we approached the glaciers there were seals laying on small icebergs just enjoying life. From the glaciers we cruised back across the fjord to the small town of Barentsburg. The town has a population of 600 and all consist of contract workers for the local coal mine. The coal mine is owned by a Russian company, and thus all of the workers are from Russia. This creates what is essentially a small Russian town located in Norway. The town had a rather bleak look to it, with mainly block buildings, and what I learned was "typical" Russian style. The town was complete with a statue of Lenin from the Soviet days. After the tour it was back to Longyearbyen and one more day before my flight to Tromso.
Landing in Tromso on Thursday morning at 5 a.m I was unsure of what my plans were. I ended up talking to a couple of guys that I recognized from the boat tour after we landed and found out
Waiting for a ferry
that they were freelance photographers from Spain. They were renting a car and driving to Nordkapp in northern Norway. Nordkapp is the furthest north point in continental Europe, and not a cheap destination to reach by bus. Having no plans, and being offered to go along for the trip and share the cost, I took it. This meant that I was passing up Tromso, but I was gaining Nordkapp.
We set out at about 9 a.m for what was to be a 9 hour journey. The drive consisted of winding roads that would follow the coastline of each fjord, first down one side, and then back the other. There were also 2 ferry crossings that we took, and at each there were small towns with mountain landscapes and flowery surroundings. We reached the last town before Nordkapp Thursday night and checked in to a guesthouse to get some sleep. We woke up Friday and headed to Nordkapp. It is mainly a tourist center with one main building that has a restaurant, gift shop, museums and other touristy things. The weather was rainy and cloudy so the views from Nordkapp were less than spectacular. After a couple hours, it was
View from ferry
back on the road. My teammates on this journey from Spain were driving back to Tromso, but I did not feel the need to backtrack. We stopped back in the small town where they dropped me off so I could mull over which way to go next. They headed back to Tromso and left me with multiple invites to come visit them in Barcelona. I then tried to figure out how I would get to Finland. By pure luck I arrived at the tourist center when the last bus for the entire weekend was heading out of town. I jumped on and took it to the end of the line which is the small town of Karasjok, Norway. Now I am at a dog sled facility, in a cabin with a girl from South Africa and a guy from France. The cabin that we are spending the night in is ridiculously nice, with everything handmade from wood, seal and reindeer skins on the carpet and traditional artifacts lining the walls. This place has many cabins and doubles as a hostel and a dogsled facility. Again by luck we were invited into the owners home for dinner (when the other people
Rock beats Scissors...
staying here had to pay). I'm not sure how or why we got such treatment. The owner is a man in his 50s who raises sled dogs, and has competed in the IDITAROD 7 times. He knew where Inuvik was, and has even one time been to Fort Mac. At the end of the meal he made me a toothpick from a match with his knife and we swapped stories about Arctic Canada and Arctic Norway. All in all it was a great night.
Tomorrow, I catch a bus to Finland and see where my journey takes me.....I think I'll go...that way.....
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