Monday, 14 July 2014

Week 11 – Petroglyphs, Top of World and Good Ole Santa

Week 11 – Petroglyphs, Top of World, and Good Ole Santa
Only 2 months since left home and so many different experiences! At Alta museum, walked 3km trail of petrographs on rocks in situ (definitely emergent Stone Age, but opinion divided as to whether origins of the Sami). 


The Cathedral was based on Aurora Borealis - rivalling Tromso for design ingenuity. Hot day, so incongruous with ice on slopes. 

So - the signs were partially right - reindeer at least on road! 

Ice capped mountains, barren slopes or scraggly trees, shallow tumultuous rivers filled at intervals by gushing waterfalls.  Perfect reflections in still waters of lakes and sounds - boats looked like toys.

Camped on idyllic promontory at Olderfjord overlooking calm waters surrounded by pancake rocks. Fish roils every so often (but gulls not very successful!) Luckily the breeze took heat out of day so we could sleep with window shades up to keep out midnight sun.


Blessed with good weather to go to Nordkapp, the top of Norway, and the most northerly point in the world for GlobalTrek 2014!! Billions dedicated to Norway’s infrastructure - tunnels, bridges, roads, snow pullover areas, utilities, services (access, safety and comfort for the traveler a priority). Countryside becoming barren, less trees or scrub, rocky banks and pebbly streams. Reindeer laying on snow in heat of day. Some look quite mangy, moulting their winter coats. Arrived at Honingvagen to hear that fog is scheduled to move into the Cape, so after mandatory troll photo kept going.



Reached North Cape - yay, from bottom of world to top (another great milestone)!! Watched fascinating spectacle of relentless fog rolling in over sea, and fog-fingers creeping high up crevices between cliff faces. 




Walked around the plateau among deer, art and monuments celebrating our arrival.



Undeterred, drove off in mists to dinner in nearby village of Skarsvag, stockfish (usually cod) hanging drying on rack outside. No menu, two bowls of king crab legs/nippers put on table with crab scissors - meat was cold, fresh and delicious. A messy time later we were served waffles with cloudberries. Shopped in their Christmas House adding souvenirs to our tab. 


Back in time for Midnight sun shining on 300mts of fog below - cheer from crowd, one group burst into song. Wanderoos and Boomers shared a bubbly red. Stalker-talkers still around Ozzie and other interesting overtlanders at 1pm...




Norway done - headed south to Finland- fog sitting just above ocean in long rolling line like "morning glory" in Burketown NQ. Blue water, white sandy beach - and snow! Groups of bikers on big rigs passed us on way to Harley convention in Ivalo. Camped at Karigasniemi beside Sami reindeer corral. Would have been romantic except for giant mosquitoes – apparently Finland is home to sand flies, midges, and horse flies which draw blood …. 


On road to Ivalo, Sami souvenir huts touting reindeer soup, hides and antlers. Road followed wavy land contours up and down. Forests untidy after the more sculpted Sweden and Norway; lakes sparkling in sun. At Inari (on edge of lake Inarijarvi with its tiny islands and small trees) explored Siida, Sami Museum and Nature Centre, their parliament/heart. Indoors: story boards, stuffed birds, videos of modern women fishing using nets, gutting and cooking fish over campfire. Outdoors: displays, huts, storage lofts, winter barns (from weather) for reindeer,  summer barns (for sheep escaping mosquitoes!) wolf and fox traps. Reindeer lassoing lessons (simulated!). At Ivolo ate reindeer meat for dinner with lignon berries, washed down by pear cider. In Lapland, 30% of country only has 3% of people – who we found to be forthright, blunt, factual, of few words, PLUS a dry sense of humour. 

Crossed Arctic Circle again at Santa's Village.  Our photo inside with Santa was good value, when he came out to see Ozzie and insisted we move it to front of village for outdoor photos with onlookers…



24.5º at 5.30pm on the Arctic Circle - bit different from when we crossed in Norway last week throwing snowballs! Wanderoos have decided to miss Kuhmo on coast and go straight to Helsinki as the vehicle service has taken our spare day. Ann is now going to fit in a quick trip to England for a school friends’ reunion, so we will meet Boomers again in Black Forest (now our "default most easterly point” becomes Narva Estonia on border with Russia).  Long km drive from Roveniemi to Hatala paused for leg stretch at Pihtipudas on Saanijarvi lake and had our first taste of salted liquorice ice cream - yum! Rows of purple lupins edging road sides. Looking forward to finally getting some hours of darkness back!! Went to and fro with our Australian-Finish friends Sherry and Doc inviting us late to Raumi over on west coast, but disappointingly missed them due to lack of internet on road, potential meeting sites closed, and immoveable, advance vehicle ferry bookings - sad, sad..... 


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