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Nord Kapp

Reporting from Jyväskylä

overcast 6 °C
View Midnight Sun Run on aboo10's travel map.

We made it! We reached our destination. The goal for this driving holiday was to reach the most northern point of mainland Europe, and we did it.

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Actually we reached the most northern point of Europe which is accessible by car, there is a point which is 1.2km further north, but to reach it you need to do a 7 hour hike - which didn't sound like too much fun when you consider the wind chill factor and our two short people. Nord Kapp was named North Cape by Steven Burrough, a British Explorer in 1553 who was looking for the North East Passage, and later translated into Norwegian. Explorers have been passing by North Cape since then and the Tourist Centre there shows a range of scenes from when people have visited North Cape over the centuries. Due to the harsh conditions, with wild seas, cold temperatures and often ice, it must have been quite a challenge to get there and home again safely. Nord Kapp is on the 71st line of latitude, and is still over 1000km to the North Pole, but there is no land at the north pole.
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We saw a number of hikers and cyclists riding along the wind blown highway, struggling against the wind, and with nowhere to really get out of it. The landscape is quite desolate, and there are no trees, so shelter is limited. It was a 2 hour drive from where we were staying in Olderfjord, so still quite a long haul. We were pleased with ourselves for reaching this point, so I can only imagine the sense of achievement of doing it under your own steam. Hope they had somebody picking them up! We stopped by the side of the road for a bit, and here is a picture of the kids being held up by the wind!
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We bought a ticket to go into Nord Kapp, and it was valid for 24 hours. There were many campervans parked there, and some facilities. What we didn't realise beforehand is that people will go to Nord Kapp (eg on a tour bus) to be there for the midnight sun, so as we were driving up at 930am we were passing numerous buses returning after taking their tourists up for the night visit. During summer, the whole facility is open 24 hours, restaurants, galleries, and in a way, it has the transient feel of an airport, operating all day, and people doing things at 'funny' times. To do justice to all there is to see and do there, you need 3-4 hours, but because of the midnight sun, you could arrive at 10pm...

There is a lot of information about how life goes on in the Arctic Circle throughout the year. I think I have imagined winter there to have the constant need for safety lines and tying yourself down somewhat like the descriptions of Mawson's exploration of Antarctica, but in reality life goes on, and people are not living in temporary dwellings. If the weather is extreme, precautions are taken, and if not, people still catch buses, drive cars, go to school or work, councils clear the roads and so on.

There was an amazing sculpture that looked like seven coins standing on their sides, and they were the result of seven children coming to Nord Kapp from various places around the world and thinking about peace, and then using clay, created a design on a disc, which were then enlarged and made uniform in bronze. They stand reasonably isolated, and are visible from quite a distance and make quite an impact.

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After exploring Nord Kapp, we continued to explore the area, and were taken with Honningsvag, possibly the world's most northern fishing village, and bright and colourful in summer.

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Posted by aboo10 00:40 Archived in Norway Tagged adventure camping norway family_travel midnightsunrun Comments (0)

First camping stop

Reporting from Lyon

rain 15 °C
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Here it is... home for the next 5 days.

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Awesome job setting up the tent, and fortunately with no hiccups remembering how to set up the tent. It was a two hour job, to get everything sorted - tent up, pegs in, table and chairs set up, and mattresses blown up!! And loved that we didn't have any neighbours close by. Campground was really a bit of a resort, with a pool, numerous playgrounds, mini-golf, an enormous Kinder-Zelt (children's tent, read indoor play centre!) a swimming lake (was bit leechy looking) and stunning views of the mountains around.

First night was the start of the adventure... and we were up against a storm. We got the kids ready for bed, and were all tucked in, and the storm started... I thought the tent might have taken off!! The scariest thing with a storm was hearing the constant drip of water, and knowing the bathroom block is a decent walk away!! So I spent most of the night awake, listening to the rain drip! Finally I decided I had to brave the weather, and relieve myself... unfortunately when I returned, I left the flap of the tent door, inside the tent instead of the outside... which meant that we woke to a small river running through the tent in the morning. Oops.

The next day was sunny and bright, and Saturday, so heralded the arrival of the weekend campers! Was nice to have some tent neighbours, but they did spoil the peace a bit, and were a big group who set up and slightly spoiled our view. We swam, and cooked our dinner outside, and enjoyed the campground. The kids loved having others to play with!! A quiet storm free night gave us a peaceful sleep.

We pretty much had rain on and off for the rest of our stay, which meant that we didn't get to use all the outdoor facilities. We went out to a Steam Train Museum, and a cafe for Black Forest Cake. The kids played in the Kinder-Zelt and I took the opportunity to read and relax. Nights were a bit chilly, and Didi woke most nights complaining of being cold, but both kids fell asleep soundly on their own. We have a tent which has two bedrooms, and a living area. The living area has a ground sheet, but is not completely sealed from the elements, so on another night with a violent storm, we were visited by a friendly (actually I didn't take the opportunity to introduce myself!) hedgehog, who had burrowed into our rubbish bag in our living area, and I was sure I could hear someone trying to untie it... fortunately Mike went to save us from being attacked by a killer hedgehog. But the little bugger came back. And again the next night!

We loved watching the birds circling around, and often spotted a yellow winged eagle who seemed to be narrowing in on something, but we weren't sure what! But circled above our camp most mornings.

We also spent a wet afternoon in Konstanz, on the Bodensee. It is a pretty little town right on the border of Switzerland. We looked at the Bodensee, and would have liked to get out on in, but the weather just wasn't favourable. Our campsite was so close to Switzerland, that our mobile phones kept on switching to Swiss carriers (which meant that we could have been charged international roaming while still in Germany!)

Yesterday we packed up the tent and drove to Lyon. Two nights in a hotel, before the next camping installment!!

Posted by aboo10 13:08 Archived in Germany Tagged children camping family_travel Comments (1)

Summer Holiday Adventure

Reporting from Tengen

sunny 26 °C
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With much coercion, Mike managed to fit all our stuff in the box on top and the boot of our car. We are off on a camping adventure! Our basic plan is to head south to Stuttgart, where we stayed for 2 nights, and to be closer to our first camping destination, right down on the border of Switzerland,
on the edge of the Black Forest. During the next 4-5 weeks we are planning to intersperse city breaks (such as Stuttgart) with a longer stay camping. We hope to explore the regions where we are camping, but are also looking for a relaxing holiday!!

Our drive to Stuttgart, was an estimated 4 hours, but due to traffic and roadwork took closer to 6. We stayed in a cute hotel (which included breakfast) and spent a day out and about in Stuttgart. We enjoyed wandering around the town, and loved roaming through the market square, and comparing it to Dusseldorf, much wider and more open. Other differences included specifying where you were headed on the U-Bahn. Highlight of the day was our visit to the Porsche Museum. The history of the 'peoples sports car' was interesting.
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Posted by aboo10 05:49 Archived in Germany Tagged children adventure camping Comments (2)

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