On top of the world (or pretty darn close)
Trip Start Jul 15, 2007
197Trip End Jul 16, 2008
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Yesterday our cargo-liner pulled into the little town of Honigsvagg, from which we took a thirty-minute bus ride to the Nordkapp (that is the North Cape to you in Rio Linda). This is the northernmost point on the European continent.
The geography of this part of Norway is striking but bleak. The usual stunning vistas of fjords, rocks and ocean, but none of the customary pine trees. This is because we are 150 miles north of the tree line. (Yeah, you got that right. Not above the tree line, north of it.) No trees can survive in this region of severe cold and high winds.
The winds actually made the bus shake as we crested the hill out of the valley and reached the plateau that leads to the Nordkapp
We then spent some time with coffee and Norwegian pastries in the visitors center, a very robust stone building, before braving the cliff to the north. About 100 yards to the north of the building is the actual point of the cape. The entire top of the cape is surrounded by a chain-link fence, designed to catch anyone blown away by the wind. A solid steel fence surrounds a depression in the middle of the cape and extends to within thirty yards of the North Cape monument, a thirty-foot tall steel globe on a stepped concrete base.
We got to the steel fence and got hit by strong gusts. Amy and the older kids kept going, while I chased Alec, who was blown off his feet and in danger of taking flight. I got a nice picture of Amy and the two older kids hanging onto the monument before we were driven back by wind-hurled sand and small pebbles driving into our faces and expensive camera lenses.
Once back inside, we looked at our picture. "If only we were all there, this would make a great Christmas card shot." You can guess the rest. We screwed our courage to the sticking point and went back out. This time all were totally zipped up, so no errant coat flaps would act as sails (or worse, wings). A kind gentleman of seventy-some who was marooned halfway out, holding onto the rails for dear life, agreed to take the picture. Taking advantage of a momentary lull, we ran for the monument, half-dragging Alec.
We haven't downloaded from the camera yet, but we hope to have the result posted soon.
As we walked to the stone globe,
On the way back we stopped at a Sami settlement and Dad bought reindeer skin and fur (don't worry, animal cruelty has been informed) and we saw a real Sami man with his reindeer.