GENERAL INFO (Jump to Diary)|
The Kingdom of Norway is an unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy, covering 385.178 square kilometres and measuring around 1750 kilometres as the eagle fly. It is the home of 5.258.317 citizens, of which 82% are Christians and 2% Muslims. The currency is Norwegian Krone, worth 0,79 Danish Krone and €0,11. The GDP is US$376.268 billion.
The southern and western parts of Norway, fully exposed to Atlantic storm
fronts, experience more precipitation and have milder winters than the
eastern and far northern parts. The south-eastern Norway including parts of Mjøsa have warm-summer humid continental climates.
The next habitat is dominated by low birch bushes, two to four meters in height. Here start to be a lot of small vacation houses, and fishing seems to be the thing. Then comes an area with what look like dunes, but it could just be gravel. Here start to be some farms, but only with hay. The area is cut through by rivers and small lakes everywhere.
The landscape changes again, and now, here are barren bedrocks. Then the small birches are back, and I do a walk. However, the lack of sun and presses of cold wind make it rather short. Here are a lot of lichens of several species. I have to do another stop where the Eriophorum are so numerous, it look like snow-dunes.
The area get slightly more hilly, and I pass signs with 250 and 385 metres: Not that high. The rocks get bigger and bigger, and turn into proper mountains. The road leads into a deep gorge, along the river. On the other side, some big trees occurs again, where I had expected barren rocks.
Then I reach the big settlement of Alta, and suddenly, not only are the big trees back, here are fields with green barley and cows! I did not see that one coming. I head straight through, but will return on the way back. Besides from the wooden houses, here are some Same tents, and strangely enough; lamas.
I pass the harbour, then find the northern road. I now realises; I won't make it all the way up north, but I still have some hours to get closer. The road pretty much follows the coastline. It is low tide, and a lot of orange wrack is exposed. A bit further up the road, I meet a herd of sheep.
It feel a bit strange that the light comes and goes. It is kind of late enough to be dark - was is equatorial, and it does get real dark. Then the sun breaks through again, and it is once again bright day. The road head inland, along a river. Steep cliffs are on one side, the river on the other. It is a real beautiful area, but my photos fails due to the lack of light.
Now, the trees have disappeared, and the hillsides are covered in short grass. A few areas are sparsely covered in short birches. Most of the vehicles are auto-campers now. Here keep being small wooden huts along the road. Some camp on parking lots along the road, but I pull over in a little settlement; Olderfjord, which have a campsite with hot showers - if you pay additional for each.
I park right a at the beach, and go for a short stroll. It is getting nippy, and the wind does not help on the comfort. I find a common room, and turn on the heater. Then, it turns out to be real cosy! I found some lettuce in Finland, boils some eggs and crack open a can. It is only 6C, and I consider brining the madras to the common room. But I better release the big duvet. At eleven, it is still lighter, than it was earlier, when the clouds gathered. Northern Norway.
7/8. I wake up at five, just because it is too hot under the big duvet. Three hours later, I am kind of ready to head all the way north. It is not as cold outside, as I feared. The GPS is taking half a day off, it seems, but the signs are great, and I lean back and enjoy the ride. Unfortunately, it is not the sunny day I had hoped for. It is cloudy and drizzling from time to time. That does affect the quality of the photos - and my eagerness to get out of the car to make more.
Here are no trees at all, just a few low bushed. The road follow the coast, and on the other side, numerous lakes are found. Here are small huts on the cliffs most of the way, and even two bigger towns. To judge from the huge road-trains, this is fishing harbours.
Here are quite some reindeer, and the first ones I see today, are in the seaweed on the beach. I recon this is where the flies don't go. Today, I not only see the big males, but also groups of females with calves. Some are real dark, some pale and some white.
The rocks are getting bigger, and it is sledge, looking like Pancake-rocks in New Zealand. My plan was to head all the way up, and do the stopping on the way back. But it is too great looking, and I just have to stop several times. Some small flowers are unknown to me, while the majority are quite familiar. I had expected way more Alpine plants.
The road follow some of the bays, other times it head straight through the mountain. The longest tunnel is seven kilometres. It might be the time of day, but I have the road almost to myself. Well, here are some reindeers, crossing it from time to time, or simply using it to grass the roadsides.
Beside from the barren rocks, everything is covered in lush grass and herbs. It seem really fertile, although I imagine nutrition are scars. Where the entire tour up through Finland didn't mean much changes in the flora, the last hundred kilometres is changing all the time. Well, it might be caused by the bedrock and the side of the cliffs, where the sun and water affects the climate.
A few waterfalls meet the sea, but not spectacular enough
to draw me out in the rain. Some of the small lakes or ponds are lined with
a white ring of Eriophorums.
The road start to be a bit more alive, as the campers along it wakes up. Now, the landscape changes into waste flat hills with only grass and small herbs. It start to feel alpine - especially when I open the window to make a photo. I reach the Nordkapp Visitor Centre, and they charge me €11, just to park, and €30 to get in myself.
Then I have free access to a cinema, showing a fifteen minutes movie about the area - but only later. And their cafeteria - opens later, and the Thai museum - but who cares, the most northern chapel - but I'm not Christian, their souvenir shop - opens later, and while I wait, I can see the Grotto of Light - except it is closed for cleaning the next 45 minutes. Well, I can exit the building and have a look at the not really impressing globe statue, marking the second northern point in mainland Europe. To say it mild; I feel hustled!
Well, I head back a bit along the road, and do the trail to Knivskjellodden, which is 1.600 metres further north - around 1.200 kilometres from the north pole. I think Nordkapp is the famous one, simply because the road leads right to it. Knivskjellodden is found 8.500 metres out in the nature.
A natural trail, badly marked and partly flooded, leads out there - I've heard. I had expected other trackers to do the walk, helping me to find the right place. But here are only some campers at the parking lot, and they sit and watch TV and alike. My GPS have awaken, and it actually know the road - although it think it can be done in a car. No way!
I am kind of prepared for the situation: Fleece jacket, padded jacket, raincoat, gloves, knitted hat, skiing underwear and shoes. But I should had brought my walking boots! My loafers are way too soft in the soles for the big, sharp rocks, and as it start to rain soon after I started, the thin layer of soil get extremely slippery, and my shoes are without pattern. And they are fare from waterproof. But they are at least better then the flip-flops. Here is a cold wind along with the rain, but I guess this is still one of the better days up here: No snow, no fog.
The nature is real pretty, with so much green, some lakes, waterfalls, strange looking rocks, great views to the sea and huge hills. I start taking pictures of the different plants, but realise; it is a long and harsh walk, and I better get moving. Getting pictures are hard, when you tend to fall over trying anyway. I'm a bit like a kite: Long thin arms and a way to voluminous raincoat.
After a tour way up over a fjeld, I reach the coast again, but it is still not here. I feel a bit like the Hobbits on one of their quests through endless and hostile land - and I have forgotten the ring at home. At some point, the camera is warning me: Battery low. I use to have a spare in my pocket, but on this tour, I have been close to the car most of the time. Now I'm not! No more flower photos before I have seen and made a photo of the most northern part of Europe!
A little pyramid stub marks the point, although it must be way down on the coast. I start climbing down there, and here are way more plants than I had expected. Further more, they do not really look alpine at all. I warm the battery, and get some more photos of the rocks and plants.
I find a single plant I can't place at all - unless it is a spore plant like the Selaginellas? It is getting late, and I must admit; I can feel this struggling tour in my body: I get tired. I kind of rush back, but in some stretches up-hill, I also have the harsh wind in my face, and I have to wait for "holes" to get on.
After a bit more than five hours, I see my car, and that feel great. I am soaked in rain and muddy water from the times I slipped, but I am not cold to the bone, as I kind of expected. I start driving back to the place I slept last night, as I expect the time to fit, and I like the warm common room.
stop only a few times to get some photos of a harbour, reindeer and rocks,
but the rain started a few hundred meters before the car, and getting out of
don't really appeal. In an effort to have an early night, I start working
and eating right away. I negotiate a good price again, but could have parked
and overnighted without telling, as the site is on the other side of the
road and without any supervision.