Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Reindeers and the Northcape/ Nordkapp

Our final stop in Norway was in Honningsvag, the most northerly town in mainland Europe. It is a fairly desolate little place with a heavy oil industry presence, but we stayed in a wonderfully cosy little guesthouse with DVDs we could watch, which made the continual mist and cold wind bearable!

And more importantly Honningsvag was the best place from which to make a trip to Nordkapp (or Northcape), the most northerly point of Europe (at 71 degrees north). However the mist continued to thwart us and from the cliff top viewing point we couldn't see much at all......not even the sea immediately below. So we walked 10 miles down to the beach, where we camped for the night, and managed to catch some brief glimpses of blue(ish) sky and could see the sea stretching out and nothing between us and the North Pole!

Whilst the scenery was fairly rocky and barren around Nordkapp, the very welcome sight was that of reindeers, which are abundant and sport rather magnificent antlers. In Northern Norway and Finland reindeer are everywhere – grazing on the land, used for transport, on the menus in restaurants (in numerous dishes) and products either made from reindeer or depicting reindeer fill the shops. Not ideal for a vegetarian but it is obvious the important role they play in life here and how much reindeer husbandry contributes to the local economy. There are apparently more reindeer than people in Lapland!

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