At about 2am some goof ball decided to donut rings on the carpark, does he not know we are off to the Arctic Circle tomorrow and need our beauty sleep! After 10 minutes of burning rubber he skidded off in to the distance revving the spuds off the little fiat.
We called at the bank for some cash and then in to the Rema 100 for some bits. It was one hell of a weird supermarket, which felt more like a warehouse. When it comes to shopping the Norwegians certainly keep it basic with no frills. We scoured the aisles looking for yummy stuff to be greeted with salted fish and tins of stuff to which we had no idea of the contents. Everywhere we go in Norway we see this little yellow tin with either a boy or girls face on it. We pondered over the contents whilst scores of people scooped dozens of tins in to their basket. Sod it, lets buy one and be daring. Craig shook his head is disagreement. I am having some mechanically recovered sausages and non of this tin stuff. We will find out later what is in the tin! With full cupboards we headed around the corner and brimmed our LPG bottles. Elated with our fill we set off in to the wild, untouched landscape of the national park of Saltfjellet and Svartisen. The journey ranged from more forests to baron rock and moors. To our left is the Svartisen ice-cap, Norway’s second largest glacier but we cant see it for cloud. However, at least its not raining.
At 693 meters above sea level and in the middle of nowhere we spotted a dozen or so motorhomes. We’d arrived at the Arctic Circle Centre (Polarsirkelsenteret). We had reached it! I had always dreamed of visiting the arctic circle and here we are. We wrapped up and went for a walk, jumping in and out of the arctic circle. Mac n Tosh were like two wild pack animals running around like mad after being stuck in the motorhome for two days. They are so used to big walks that 5 minute wee walks just does suffice any more. After a scoot around looking at the 3 Sami sacrificial stone stones and the memorial to the Yugoslav prisoners of war we let the dogs have a good dig in the snow. Over to the tourist information office for a picture with the arctic circle symbol before heading back to Vin for lunch. Craig has his prefab sausages and I opened the surprise tin to find something that resembled pureed spam. A quick taster and yip, it was spam. Good job, I like it although too much for 1 person, so I shared with Mac n Tosh who found it lip smackingly yummy.
Not only are we in the Arctic Circle but also, the Land of the Midnight Sun. The concept of the “midnight sun” means that the uppermost arc of the sun stays above the horizon for 24 hours. This occurs north of latitude 66.5°N during a few summer months. The midnight sun and dark winter days are caused by the tilt of the earth’s axis and the earth’s rotation around the sun. For our remaining time in Norway the sun will never set and no more dark days or nights, how weird is that!
On the way to Bodo it brightened up, not a lot but enough to appreciate the surroundings especially now we are out of the tree compound. Thinking about it, the 1000 kilometre drive from Trondheim to Bodo should come with a government health warning…please note, switch off your brain for 1000km as you enter bleak and baron landscape. Only switch on in emergency. Failure to follow these instructions could result in health issues. Out of the danger zone, we drove passed lots of lakes, waterfalls and mountain streams. At several points along the way we joined a road works conga. Rather than wait at traffic lights, a lolly pop lady with a red tennis bat controlled the queue. When it was time to go a lead traffic control vehicle equipped with flashing lights escorted through the road works. We passed villages with names akin to Scotland like Stromnes and Kirkenes with lovely views out across the fjord. It now feels like we are coming back in to the land of the living with nice scenery and pretty views. We arrived in Bodo and the weather was glorious, blue skies with the odd white fluffy cloud. Over to the ferry point to check out the times to the Lofoten islands (via an unavoidable port toll road, grrrr) and we are in luck! We can cross tonight on the midnight ferry, yeah…what a way to see your first midnight sun! Tune in tomorrow to find out how we got on.
Our camping spot tonight is on the car park of Bodo ferry terminal until we set sail to Moskenes on Lofoten island
GPS position N067.288376 and E014.396940
Route: Mo-i-Rana to Bodo
Weather: Low 8 and high 15…overcast with a wee bit of drizzle but mainly dry.