Sunday 9th July – Storslett, Norway
Weather: sunny – yeah!!!
Our Norwegian neighbours stayed up very late and were still chopping wood for their fire at 2am. We love sitting by a campfire at night but seems to be wasted having a fire in broad daylight.
After checking the weather forecast, because a bad weather & rain forecast was predicted for several days at Nordkapp starting Tuesday, we decided to finish our trekking around the islands and head to Nordkapp as quickly as possible.
Great day for travelling with clear blue skies so took advantage and did some happy snapping during the day. Reluctantly headed back to the E6. We were so spoiled yesterday with the best roads and no traffic and once again great scenery.
Nothing much to report today. Decided to go as far as Storslett today and fill up with LPG there as it was the second last place in Norway that you could fill up before going to Finland when heading north. Finland does not have any LPG stations at all so will have to get through Finland in 5 weeks maximum before going into Estonia. We have worked out we use about a litre a day (when we don’t need to run the heater at night and believe our tanks hold around 42 litres.
Arrived at LPG station – closed with a note advising relocation address. Travelled back 6 kms to new address – back blocks of an airport only to find the autogas station pumps did not work. This is so frustrating and would strongly suggest travellers phone ahead to check on supply. Being a Sunday of course no one was around to help out.
Decided to camp for the night just the other side of Storslett and come back to service station tomorrow.
Monday 10th July, Russenes, Norway
Weather: Patches of blue sky with no sign of rain.
Blew like crazy during the night – was strange to feel Ziggy at 3.7 tonne, rocking. Glad no one was watching as they may have thought the wrong thing (don’t come a knocking if the van’s a rocking). Solid as a rock is our Ziggy bus so there were no concerns.
First thing Monday morning we phoned the LPG Norge station in Alta to check if it was still operational as this was our last hope. Yep all good was the reply, so ditched the idea of going back to Storslett and happily headed off to Alta.
Scenery is again changing now that we are heading back to the high snow country. The stately beautiful green xmas trees have been replaced with spindly shrubs and the backdrop now looks like a lunar landscape. The mountains are snow capped and waterfalls cascade down close to the road. Streams filled with boulders become raging rapids from the melting snow.
We arrive at Alta and headed to the LPG station. The sign on the bowser says “out of order”!!! Would you believe it. I look at Rob’s face and can see the frustration. Calm, cool and collected, he heads to the office. A few minutes later he comes back with a huge smile on his face – the sign was put there to stop people from filling up and driving off. We filled up and after doing some last minute shopping headed out of town to Russenes which would leave us just over 100kms to Nordkapp.
Winter holiday homes are scattered all over the mountains and some perched directly over the mountain streams – close enough to drop a line in. Skidoos are parked ready and waiting for winter.
The local Norwegian natives (Sami’s) sell their wares including reindeer skins and antlers from roadside stalls. Some of their tepees look similar to those of the American Indians
The roads have been excellent but now are getting narrower as they skirt around the mountain sides. The tunnels are also becoming narrower and are a challenge.
About 10klms before Russenes we struck a real challenge of a tunnel – it was only 4.7 metres wide, unlit and had no centre line markings. Ziggy is 2.35 metres wide without the side wing mirrors (one on each side) so we assumed definitely one way. At the entrance to the tunnel we had a green light so thought that meant we could proceed without any traffic coming the other way, as is the case when we had struck road works in Norway – wrong – just after entering the tunnel we struck a car coming the other way – just as well it was a car and not one of the busses, trucks or another motorhome.
The magic as we rounded Posangerfjorden – spectacular – brilliant blue seas forever and fishing villages and sail boats in the harbour. Just unbelievably fantastic.
We rounded the corner and there in the middle of the highway stands an elk. Defiantly looking at us – unprepared to move for us – so we rewarded him with a photo and then moved around him.
We saw a few more elk on the hillside before we arrived at another spectacular spot called Vtre Svarttikka near Russenes. Only takes 8 motorhomes and again we were lucky enough to take prime position before the area filled up within an hour or so.
Have the iPod and speakers on playing some of our favourite music and enjoying the drinks we were lucky enough to get a few days previously.
Tuesday 11th July – Nordkapp (North Cape), Norway
Set the alarm for 6am – eager to get an early start and beat the traffic. There would be time, plenty of time for a leisurely breakfast at the top.
It had rained for most of the night and was very dull and cloudy. Checked the weather forecast which showed full sun for the day.
The road was fantastic and hugged the mountainside all the way up. We saw several herds of reindeer grazing on the mountain side and some right next to the road. Cruise ships could be seen heading along the fjord towards Nordkapp and soon we discovered they dropped off passengers to waiting buses to take the final climb to the top. We counted at least 15 empty buses at a small town along the way. Sure as eggs these would be travelling to the top sometime during the day – about 1000 people all hitting the toilets at the same time – best to go before the busses arrive.
We were rewarded for our early start and only passed one bus and one truck coming the other way. The day was still cloudy and as we looked up towards Nordkapp, clouds obscured the top – no doubt there would be no view from up there.
10kms from the top we hit fog and crawled along at a snails pace – couldn’t see 10ft in front of us. The fee to park was 270 NOK per person for a 24 hour stay. For us 540NOK or around $85 AUD and it was looking very much like we wouldn’t see anything but fog.
The carpark was very full with motorhomes and caravans still there from the night before- yesterday was a perfect day up here, so we were told. We were lucky enough to get a front row position as a motorhome pulled out just as we arrived – only view was fog.
After breakfast we decided to explore the Nordkapp Centre (nothing else to do) and magically as we headed towards the Centre, the fog lifted a little and we had a short burst of sunshine and visibility. So quickly took happy snaps and then ventured into the Centre. Overnight entry includes a film in their cinema, a museum, souvenir shop and lots of places to eat. Half an hour later we exited the Centre and again the mountain was shrouded in fog.
Sad, sad, sad – the fog remained all day and despondent people who missed the earlier opportunity we had, sat in their vehicles praying for something. Loads of buses came and went all day. We counted at least 17 buses at one stage – all these people now eating and drinking and buying very expensive souvenirs (nothing else to do).
Motorhomes around us slowly disappeared back down the mountain and not many replaced them.
Resigned to the fact, that we had our 30 minutes and that was all we would get, we sat and read and listened to the howling wind outside and felt Ziggy being buffeted about. We watched people trying to walk along the headland with full winter gear on, being beaten about by the strong winds.
Decided to go back to the Centre and revisit the souvenir shop for a bargain (no such thing). Fog was so bad couldn’t see the building at all.
Quick, quick Rob said as he pulled me out of the souvenir shop – the sun is shining and we can get some more shots. It was after 5pm and for the first time today, there was not a cloud in the sky, no fog anywhere, and the sun was shining.
People appeared from everywhere (mostly from the Centre) and clambered for priority shots next to, beside, on or on top of, the Arctic Globe. The Centre itself is an iconic building and the views from all three sides of the headland were much more than spectacular.
We had dinner and our special drinks saved just for this occasion (a strong black Polish beer, a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and a bottle of 65% proof Vodka courtesy of Piotr and Barbara and then sat in the front seat of Ziggy and watched the midnight sun slowly head towards the horizon. Took some happy shots just before midnight with setting sun in the background and an iPad showing the time to prove it. We had ticked off another special item on our bucket list and finding the cold outside too much now decided to hit the hay.
It is like the United Nations up here – motorhomes with registration plates from all over Europe – everyone with the common goal of seeing the midnight sun, having a nice meal, something to drink and enjoying each other’s company – why can’t it be like this all the time – the world over.