I was aboard the Hurtigruten and had a whole plethora of excursions to take part in on our cruise around the Arctic coast of Norway. Where should I start the series of articles from my time aboard? But at the top! The North Cape, at the top of mainland Europe.
The North Cape is one of those spots that produces a feeling that is hard to describe unless you stand there yourself. 71 degrees North, you stand at the famous globe sculpture, looking North out to the cold blue Barents sea. Knowing, there is only the Svalbard Islands between you and the North Pole.
This was Winter, a cold.. very cold fresh wind was blowing and all was white and blue. Loved it. Refreshing and amazing to say the least! You really do feel away from it all. The sun doesn’t rise here in mid winter but you do get the few hours of low (sun below horizon) daylight, that seems to enhance the winter scenes and lostness. If you come during summer (mid May to end of July) you get a whole new experience, the midnight sun, where it doesn’t set, a reason to come back again 😉
Looking east and west from here you see mainland Europe’s Northern edge coming to a stop below the cliffs. Just over to the west is Knivskjellodden point sticking out to sea, technically hundreds of metres further North than the Cape.
This is just one of the amazing excursions from my time aboard the Hurtigruten. Coming into the port stop at Honningsvåg you get to experience also the most northern city in mainland Europe. From here you take a coach for approximately 45 minutes to the North Cape, along snow covered roads, all is white and wonderful. The guide on the coach takes great pride in showing the northern most allsorts in Europe too… eg the petrol station.
There is lots more than the Cape, globe and views to experience here, the visitor centre has lots to offer. Information, cafes, documentary films shown and yes, the most northern toilets on mainland Europe 😉
I could have walked the coast here for hours and hours, my kind of place. There are also more monuments to see if you start venturing. In 1988 some children from around the world, Tanzania, Brazil, Japan, Thailand, Italy, Soviet Union and USA came to stay with families in the nearby settlement of Skarsvåg, the most northern fishing village. They cast some clay models that were then set in bronze and erected at the North Cape in 1989.. The Children of the Earth Monument.
This is just one of the many great experiences I had on board the Hurtigruten, lots more coming in the next posts.