Monday, 13 June 2016

WOW !!!!...WHAT A NIGHT TO EXPERIENCE. .....something to tell the grandchildren

MSunday 12th June 2016

Wow ....where to start? Firstly it was worth the boring drive 10 times over. It was everything we had hoped for and more and we were blown away by the experience. Box ticked.

We left RUSSENES campsite at Older fjord fairly late as it was a short drive to SKIPSFJORDEN, Nr HONNINGSVAG, only 100kms and no point getting there before midday. The route was teriffic, and included our first taste of Norwegian road tunnels. The first one,the Nordkapp tunnel  takes us onto the island, and is 7km long and dimly lit. 2 way traffic,  watch out for cyclists and reindeer sheltering. Not very wide and many motorhome on the move of all sizes.
Everyone agreed that this was unpleasant. The other long one of 4 kms, the HONNINGSVAG tunnel was much better lit with a centre line and white lined edges. Several smaller tunnels all OK apart from transition sunlight to darkness. Bu we survived and reached "campsite" around 14.30.  I use the word campsite in inverted commas as it is a large asphalt car park with electricity boxes and dodgy connections.  Good showers in  hut . At 16.00, Codi & Jacqui povide an appetiser of hot soup and ham on rye bread (high we helped prepare long with others ) and at 18.00 we set off in convoy as the tickets for the entrance to the Nordkapp facilties for all of us have to be purchased by Codi when we arrive. The 25 km drive is spectacular.  Rugged, savage mountains and hillsides, steep drops to lakes, snow in abundance, herds of reindeer roaming and views of the sea beyond . The road winds and snakes, up and down through the mountains and the line of 22 motorhomes strung out over about 3/4 mile looked wonderful . We arrived at Nordkapp about 18.30 to find it incredibly full of motorhomes,coaches,motorbikes etc although the parking area is huge and the parking is random (lots of Germans of course) so it seemed fuller than it was. The weather was distinctly cold, around 2°, windy and the cloud was heavy with occasional short showers. We parked, on ramps as the ground sloped, silver screens on to help as much as possible.  No electricity of course so everything on gas. We all went straight to the iconic globe sculpture for a group photo which was taken about 19.20
At 20.00 we went with Reg&V, D&M to meet  very jolly German couple called Michael & Marion, who Reg had discovered had been  holding a geocaching event which finished at midnight Saturday but was happy to extend it by 24 hours when he heard we would be there on sunday. So we took lots of pictures, swapped lots of Trackable and generally did things that most people reading  this haven't a clue what I'm talking about........
Back to the van at 21.00 for dinner and to warm up.
We roamed the site a bit. Lots of very interesting things like the children's coins, and the centre is a fantastic building to explore. As we were getting ready to go out again around 23.30 to be there at midnight, the sun suddenly broke the clouds magnificently. We rushed to the globe and the area was heaving with humanity. Many people arrive by coach from cruise ships for a couple of hours then leave straight after midnight. With the sun shining brilliantly the atmosphere was electric as midnight approached. was like new years Eve.  At the stroke of midnight you could hear the  sound of thousands of shutters clicking , mine included, and people were laughing,kissing,shaking hands and slapping each other on the back...
Our friend Michael told us that this was his 5th visit and the first time he had actually seen the sun fully at midnight, so it really is the luck of the draw.
Codi & Jacqui produced boxes of wine and we all shouted happy new year and grinned like children...
Next a spot of geocaching  (sorry, but I'm  becoming hooked) then we explored the centre which is like an iceberg with much of it below in the rock. A long tunnel goes down to sea level and in it there is a cinema with a fabulous wraparound screen showing the northern lights and Norwegian life; a cave of lights with a 4 seasons son et lumiere which was mind blowing; a museum to the king of Thailand who I visited in 1907; tableaux depicting the history of Nordkapp;  and a small chapel.
We finally headed back to the van at 01.30 after a truly amazing....and I use the word with no apologies. ...experience.  It made the whole trip.
And we didn't freeze to death overnight.

Monday 13th June 2016

Did not rise early. Had breakfast under blue skies and sunhine and the sea as calm as a mill pond.  The low clouds on the horizon were reflected in a bizarre way. The crowds had all long gone so we explored more underground.  Unfortunately the viewing platform at sea level was closed as it is still packed with snow and ice. So I joined the The Royal North Cape Club, membership no. 46727, which means I can visit for free for life and use the club lounge. All the money from membership goes to the Nordkapp community which seemed like a good cause and I have a very impressive certificate to hang on my wall.
We left around 11.30 after city went back and bought yet another polo shirt, and went to SKARSVAG, the most northerly fishing village in Europe,  and hiked over fells to find the Kirksporten, a large arch like Durdle Door in Dorset. Glorious sunshine,freezing wind, stunning views.

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