Day By Day

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Our Nordic Expedition, Part 16 -- Nordkapp

Continuing on our northward journey after Tromso we visited a series of fishing towns. Here we are entering the harbor at Hammerfest, a community of nearly 10,000 persons, which has benefited from the development of local natural gas reserves. It claims to be the northernmost city in the world, a claim that has often been disputed and the resolution of the argument depends on what definition of "city" is adopted.

In the winter the Hammerfest is subject to heavy snowfall. On the cliffs behind the town you can see snow breaks designed to lessen the impact of the avalanches that occasionally threaten the lives of citizens, many of whom leave during the winter months. Another seasonal annoyance is reindeer herds that migrate along the coast and pass through the community. The town has built barriers to try to keep them away, but somehow the deer always seem find a way through.

Continuing north we passed Havoysund and entered the port of Honningsvag, a community of about 3,000 inhabitants that also claims to be the northernmost town in the world.

At Honningsvag we debarked and climbed on a bus to drive to the North Cape.

Here we see two mainstays of the local economy -- a rack for drying fish in the foreground and a gas liquefication plant in the distance.

A reindeer, browsing along the side of the road.

More fishracks -- a common sight in this area.

And at last, the North Cape -- the northernmost point in Europe.

We had lunch at the local restaurant.

And we wandered around the area taking photographs. This is the marker designating the northernmost point.

And some seacliffs.

The visitors center and the marker.

The Arctic Ocean.

There's something mystical about the North Cape. There is really nothing there except some monuments and markers, but it attracts visitors from all around the world. Looking out at the Arctic Ocean I could sense that there was something special about the place, but I still don't know exactly what it is.

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