Kirkenes, a beautiful walk in the snowOctober 11 in Norway ⋅ ☁️ 3 °C
This morning we arrived at Kirkenes at about 9am. During the night there was quite a swell and rocking of the ship in the Barents Sea, but rather than feeling queasy we slept well. On arrival at Kirkenes there was an enormous low grey cloud hanging on one side, and semi brightness on the other...we feared the worst, but amazingly we were lucky again. The rain was actually a dusting of snow, and it had obviously been snowing overnight, but when we disembarked it was fine and remained bright for our hike to the Russian border.
We were so glad to do this hike. Partly because it’s so nice to get off the ship to exercise, and also we now know the guides a bit, and they are funny, informative and friendly...and helpful if anyone needs it walking in the sometimes tricky conditions. The small amount of snow made it easier walking in a way - it firmed up what would have been sloshy mud, though there were many hazardous parts, but not any steep climb, just a bit of gradual uphill.
We were taken by bus (about 15 of us this time) for a short distance, then walked along a mountain track to the border. But this was not the part of the border that another group who took a totally bus tour - they went where there are tourist shops and an official border area. We got to a high point, and there was a yellow post which marked the end of Norway, and another green and red post a metre or so further on, and if you went beyond that post you would get fined (better than shot!)...there was no barrier and nothing to stop you walking right into Russia. But they showed us a tower on the opposite mountain that has a camera and it watches the border, and people straying actually get identified and fined!! So that was lots of fun and we didn’t stray, and got back to the ship before it left at 12.30.
There was something funny about the time as the photos I took (till my phone’s battery died, it is in a serious condition) had a time that was an hour ahead, and I think we strayed into the next time zone. The ship didn’t change time, and I find it hard that a small section of Norway would have a different time, but we are far East. In fact, after we left Kirkenes and started the return journey we stopped briefly at Vardø which is the easternmost town in Norway, and is further east than St Petersburg and Istanbul. Weird to think about.
I am going to post a photo of the northern lights we saw last night (again - we have been so lucky, and they say tomorrow night is another good possibility). The photo was taken by someone else with a new iPhone with a better camera that you can adjust, and it shows the green that is hard to see with the naked eye. At least it confirmed that I was looking at the right thing, but it looked like a light part of the sky, not really colourful.
So now cruising and relaxing till dinner, sipping a Portuguese wine. And I think it’s reindeer for dinner tonight!Read more