Summer 2015, the yak set out to explore his new northern territories.
So for our family and friends, here is a bit of photos and text from Sweden, Finland and Norway.
First, we crossed southern Sweden. We drove through nice Swedish forests and beautiful midsummer fields of wild flowers, stayed overnight by a nice lake and finally arrived to Stockholm. Here it is Gamla Stan – the old town of Stockholm.
We arrived to Turku in pouring rain, had a coffee in a quiet gas station and drove to Helsinki. Helsinki is fantastic! Weather you like architecture, art museums, shopping for vintage finnish design stuff or just to walk the streets randomly to explore a bit, Helsinki is really nice!
In Helsinki we ate vorschmack, reindeer steak and small fried fishes, drank a wide selection of finnish beers and enjoyed a lot to cycle around the city while Frida rested a little bit.
From Helsinki we drove north through the lake-land of Finland and further up into Lapland. We were trying to catch the “arctic high pressure weather system” but it seemed that the arctic high pressures had moved much further north for the summer…. It rained and it rained and it rained…
A bit of blauburgunder and parmesan to cheer things up… Poor…! Why didn’t we go to Spain???
The best things about Finland are 1) Helsinki and 2) the Fins. The Fins are very nice people – and not so politically correct as the swedish 😉
Finland reminded us a bit of both Japan and Russia….! Japan, because Finland is just very Finnish in the same way that Japan is very Japanese. And both countries are very clean, no garbage, public toilets are nice (and for free) and the locals are kind and helpful to strangers like us. Russia, because Finland (outside Helsinki) is full of trees! It is like a small (very small) Siberia without garbage.
We drove up through Finnish Lapland, exited Finland at the northeastern corner and entered Norway. First destination Kirkenes, just a few kilometres from the Russian border and Murmansk. It was late in the day but we were eager to stretch our legs a bit so we made a quick walk up to Øretoppen, a small insignificant top in a remote corner of Norway but wow, Norway is just beautiful! Beautiful, wild and rough.
KIRKENES and THE NORTH COAST
Marco tried to have a haircut but after trying all the 3 hairdressers in Kirkenes he was offered an appointment only on 6 July = 10 days later. Makes you think…maybe there is more to Kirkenes than meets the eye? Kirkenes is also a shopping destination for Russians so there were lots of “border shops” selling everything from furniture, clothes and shoes to different kinds of food, beauty products and a lot of home brewing equipment.
THE NORTH CAPE and KNIVSKJELLODDEN
North Cape (Nordkapp) is actually not the northernmost point of mainland Europe. It is just the most spectacular. The northernmost point is Knivskjellodden, just west of the North Cape. To reach Knivskjellodden is a 9 km walk from the road. For this reason you are most likely going to be more or less alone once you reach the northernmost point of Europe. Quite a different experience from the North Cape.
At the tip of everything! Of course it was raining once we made it there but it was still an incredible feeling to be all alone at the northern tip of Europe – and as we were standing there on the rocks in the rain we saw both whales and seals in the waters just off the coast. What a present! It is the North Cape in the distance.
The next morning we drove up to the proper North Cape tourist destination….in the beginning we couldn’t even see where to go from the parking lot! The whole cape was covered in a thick cloud and it was raining aaaaaaa loooooottt!
We are starting to understand why people are speaking about the “white nights” instead of the “midnight sun” because we haven’t seen much of either the midnight or midday sun!!!
On the way to TROMSØ – MIDNIGHT SUN and PØLSER
It would have been possible to go with the skis – even now on 1 july – but we went just by foot. A very nice trip!
From Tromsø we drove further south to the Lofoten islands. By now our lunch had become very norwegian with extra dark myse-ost (grandmothers recipe), multesyltetøj and potetbrød!
Finally at 8 o’clock in the night we could set up the tent and drink a nice bottle of rose wine!