25 Sep 2007

Reaching Nordkapp!

Posted by walterheck

The next morning I got up around 9.00 and when I got to the kitchen, Odd served me a nice breakfast: big fat pieces of salmon (on my own bread that I had anyway 😉 )! Apparently I was enjoying it so much that he cut the rest of the salmon up and put it in a box to give it to me for lunch. This was one of the salmons that he had catched this summer. He brings them to a woman in one of the fisherman’s villages close by and she salts and smokes them.

After breakfast he called the tourist information to figure out what the opening hours for Nordkapp were. It turned out that if I got there before 11.00 we wouldn’t have to pay. I asked Odd if he would drive me there for the fee that I would normally pay for the bus and he agreed.

We got into the car and made our way to Nordkapp. On the road there (it’s about 30Km from Honningsvag) we saw almost no other cars, so I was really glad that Odd was driving me there! We got to the Cape and it rained. We got out, I walked over to the northern most tip of land and we made a picture. All in all I think I was there for about 5 minutes. There is basically nothing to see, it’s just the awesome feeling of reaching Nordkapp. I said to Odd: “North is done, now all I need is south, west and east and maybe high and low”. Once again I felt like I could scream!

He drove me back to Honningsvag and even a little further to the Nordkapp tunnel. When I wanted to pay him for all he had done, he refused to accept the money and told me to have some good beers on the CS cruise next week (read more about that later 😉 ). What an awesome guy!

I got out of the car and it was raining pretty badly, with almost no cars on the road. I decided that waiting around here was not gonna do me any good and thought it was a good idea to walk through Nordkapp tunnel (close to 7 Km). This turned out to not be the best idea I’ve ever had, for several reasons. First, I didn’t think about the fact that the damn thing is not only 7km long, but also has a 10% descent and ascend as well. Not having any point of reference as to how steep you are climbing, you have to rely on your balance to figure out how fast you should be walking. As a result, especially climbing was very exhausting 🙂 Second, since usually only people with cars pass through this tunnel it makes some loud and downright frightening noises. Third, I didn’t realize (and this is a big d’oh!) that no one is going to stop in a tunnel to pick someone up. Last, it was a little frightening to see water sipping through all the cracks in the walls. This is a very well maintained tunnel that runs under the sea, but you just don’t see this normally. So all in all, I was glad to emerge on the other side (where it was also raining 🙁 ).

I took some rest, drank some water and then started walking further since there were still no cars. It started raining a little more and as I have experienced before, this makes people feel more compassionate and so I was picked up by a guy that probably wouldn’t have picked me up was the sun shining 🙂 He took me all the way to the first split in the road, exactly where I needed to be!

I took another break, ate a nice sandwich with fresh salmon I had left over from Odd’s place and got back on the road. I was a little indecisive as to whether I should go back to Alta and head into Finland from there, or take the road directly to finland from where I was standing with the risk of taking a low-traffic route. Since it felt so pointless to go all the way back to crappy Alta, I decided to take my chances on the route leading into Finland directly. Maybe I would even make it to Finland today if I was lucky!

I looked at the crappy map I had and decided the next city to aim for was Karasjok at the Norwegian/Finnish border. I was picked up by two Sami guys (fat chance as I was at the northern part of Sami territory. They were very friendly and spoke fluent English, Sami, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish. They dropped me off in a good spot telling me that they needed to go some place but they would look for me when they got back to see if I was still there. They were going to some place in northern Finland, so I really got the feeling I would see some Suomi soil today.

Next I was picked up by a truck taking me to Karasjok. The driver was a Russian heading to Moermansk. Suddenly I realized that I was getting pretty close to Russian territory 🙂 Since my Russian is still limited to telling someone that I don’t understand it (and ask them if they understand English) there was not much to talk about. We stopped in some crappy restaurant (the only one 😉 ) along the way to have some food and he dropped me off in Karasjok at about 18:00. I decided to spend some of my last Norwegian money (Karasjok is about 20km from the finnish border) on a decent meal. The meal turned out to be not that decent but on the upside I still had some money left.

I got back on the road, convinced that I was going to reach Finland today (on the other side of the border there is a town called Karigasniemi, only 20Km from where I was). I decided to walk as far as I could while traffic was pretty scarce. I passed a campsite on my way, but decided to keep moving. About 2Km later, I realized that if no one was going to pick me up, I would be stuck in an enormous forest that had warning signs for reindeer husbandry around it. Not the smartest idea in the world. The traffic was getting less and less, so I decided to turn around and head back to the campsite entrance, stay there for a bit and then go to the campsite should I not have been picked up before darkness.

When I was close to the entrance again, a car stopped, but they told me they were going to Alta. I found it strange, and after thinking about it for a minute I took out the only crappy map I had, realizing that I had been walking in the wrong direction 🙂 This was the road leading west and then south instead of directly south into Finland! I realized that my chances of getting to Finland today were now close to zero, so I decided to spend the night on the camping and continue into Finland the next day. This was my first day of paying for lodging in almost a month of traveling. I guess it had to happen sooner or later 😉

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5 Responses to “Reaching Nordkapp!”

  1. Op een kaart is het noorden boven, het zuiden beneden, het westen links en het oosten rechts. Leuk verhaal!

    Groetjes, Pa/



  2. My friend, as someone who knows a thing or two about psychology, I would like to impress upon you the need to resist those urges to scream that you seem to feel so often these days, especially when in public. At least, that is assuming you hesitate at being admitted to a mental institution (really, they’re not as fun as they sound, even despite the free food). I will also refer you to a specialist in the field of primal scream therapy that might be able to help you: http://www.primaltherapy.com/. If you keep having these urges please feel free to contact me, we all just want to help you.

    Hope you feel better soon,



  3. Goed dat wij vroeger op vakantie zo veel gewandeld hebben!



  4. Goed dat wij recentelijk op Pieterpad zo veel gewandeld hebben!



  5. Over Pieters gesproken, hij heeft eindelijk z’n rijbewijs! Ben jij straks de enige Coolblue’er zonder 😉