What comes up must come down, and it so today that we commence our journey south. But before this, the morning delivers the most perfect blue skies, ideal for exploring Nordkapp.
We’ve been so lucky, to have seen the cape in all its glory: under heavy fog, clear under the ethereal midnight sun and now, in the most perfect of weather conditions. No more gloves, scarves and coats, it’s T-shirts on and off we go.
We walk it breadth and length, or at least as far as the morning allows. The mountains are almost completely bare bar lichens and moss although a little further back from the headland some grasses appear, as does the occasional wildflower. We revisit the “Children of the World” sculpture, a beautiful piece, cast from work created by seven randomly selected children of various nationalities. It’s pleasing to see that one child has created the dove of peace as their contribution, another, charmingly innocent of the intended audience, a dinosaur. From the mouths of babes:, our past, and a wish for a hopefully peaceful future.
I photograph all the sights again and send Chris back up the globe for a blue sky shot. We’re both quite chuffed to have made it to this point. Our next nearest offshore neighbour is the North Pole, some 2,000 km away. Unless either of us has a yen to become a polar explorer it’s unlikely we’ll ever he further north. Unless perhaps we visit Svalbard, something I very much want to do. In the winter, in all its iced white glory. We take a last look at the edge of Europe. From the headland, the expase of sea is so vast and so clear, I’d swear to being able to see a hint of the Earth’s curvature at the horizon.
As a perfect end to our hike, a herd of reindeer appear behind us, grazing on the sparse grass. Twelve. Must be a delegation from Santa!. This group takes the prize of being the most northern herd in the world and their timing in bidding us adieu is impeccable. We see many more of their buddies on the way down, again, too many to count. Lots of spring babies as well, which are very cute. Each time I spot one is as thrilling as the first. Much squealing.
The drive down is on the same road we drove in on, except this time Chris has the sea and fjord views, I the mountains. We end up with company – a woman and her young son, travelers from Germany, who are stranded on the mountain. They’re doing it the hard way, buses and tents – her husband is running the vineyard at home. Their promised bus does not run on a Saturday, leaving them 30km from the next town, Honningsvag. She’s lovely and chatty, filling me in on her travels around the world. Funnily enough, she’s been to Wilpena Pound and Kangaroo Island – she has a friend who lives in Adelaide. It truly is a small world.
We drop our friends off and search out the ferry to Kjollefjord. It’s a surprise that it’s the Hurtigruten cruise ship, which also operates as a ferry service between towns. There’s a problem though, we are far too big, outside the length, width and height restrictions. And they’re booked out today. Never mind. Instead of a shorter drive and the ferry, we will drive around the headland. It’s longer but I’m sure will be very beautiful.
With the drive in reverse, I’m free to see the structure of the mountainsides and spot reindeer (less worrying about plummeting off the edge of a cliff on this side). Many of the cliffs are slate, layered and stacked endlessly, one layer on the other, a mille feuille of rock. Slate production is an old tradition in the north with skills handed down from generation to generation. This area is largely untouched, weathered instead into interesting grooves and shapes.
We had a late start and consequently don’t get very far down the mountain path. Luckily this is no hardship. We settle for the night by one of the beautiful blue coves and spend a peaceful evening in a gorgeous setting.