Norway - Astride the Arctic Circle
We started off late today. The rain had started early this morning and then set in, (no surprise there) and neither of us were looking forward to putting the tent away in the wet, again!
Besides it’s Lisa’s 41st Birthday and she reckoned she deserved to stay in bed.
We finally conceded that we needed to move. With the tent away and kit bags packed, we were off to the Arctic Circle (Polarsirkel).
The Arctic Circle is found at 66° 33′ North. Now, the GPS provides rolling information about your longitude and latitude so we counted down the degrees as we rode closer and higher. Our excitement built, 27, 28, 29, 30,...29, 28 shit what’s happened? Have we somehow missed it!
The road had been built around two summits, prior to the Circle, and so the road leads you away before the straight bit where the Arctic Circle monument can be seen.
Right, panic over and the countdown re-commenced. 31, 32, 33. We’ve made it,we’re here! The imaginary but famous line, which crosses glaciers and the very barren Saltfjellet plateau at 650 metres above sea level.
Off the bikes and we were on the hunt for some photo opportunities. With Photos taken and with the cold getting the better of us, we headed inside for a coffee and a few souvenirs. Inside the igloo shaped Arctic building. The post office inside allows tourists to send Arctic postcards with an Arctic Circle stamp. With cards written and sent off to our parents addresses in the UK, we were back outside to look at the various monuments built to commemorate the Line.
Within an hour we were riding North again, we still have so far to go. The rest of the day was spent riding north as the weather was so poor we couldn’t have enjoyed the countryside. We finished riding around 7pm and found a lovely site, Tommerneset Camping, Innhavet near Hamaroy on the E6. We put the tent up in sunshine (at last!) with the sound of a waterfall in the distance. The long daylight hours are working in our favour.
After a quick shower we were off on Tinkerbell to the Hamaroy Hotel, which also had a restaurant that had been recommended to us. We sat down, clean and warm from the shower and ordered ......something. We had no idea what we had ordered as we can’t read Norwegian. Our meal turned out to be a very good in spite of being the result of a guess. Strips of beef cooked in wine and onions served with chips and a bearnaise sauce.
After eating pasta, pasta and yet more pasta this was a feast. We tried to make the meal last and eeked out the experience for as long as possible. We decided to push the boat out and ordered two beers, only our second beers in Norway, at over £5 a pint the stuff’s expensive. We paid the bill and were delighted when the coffee and dessert were taken off the bill, due to Lisa’s birthday. They knew of her birthday as I had asked for a candle in Lisa’s dessert. They didn’t have a candle, so made do with a firework held by the waitress in her left hand as she served desert with her other. We both sat well back and grinned. We slept well. It had been a great birthday day.