Saturday, September 3, 2022

The magnificent North Cape of Norway

What do you do when one of the most anticipated sights you hoped to see on an excursion is so shrouded in a dense fog that you can barely see 10 feet in front of your face?

Past the Arctic Circle, North Cape is at
the tip of Norway.

You go back. Even if the site is in Norway, and you live in the U.S.

That’s just what Larry and I did last summer when we retraced our route to the North Cape. We booked a cruise that traveled along the western coast of Norway, once again enjoying the majesty of coastal fjords, frosty summer temperatures, and perpetual daylight above the Arctic Circle.

The drive to North Cape is spectacular itself.

From the ship we rode a shuttle bus 20 miles from the port of Honningsvag. It was a gorgeous drive with lots of twists and turns as the road followed the ocean. Our goal was to experience what we understood to be breathtaking views from ocean cliffs at the top edge of Norway

Although situated on the island of Mageroya in the Barents Sea, Honninsgsvag is classed as the northernmost city in Norway. The island is connected to the mainland through the North Cape Tunnel, which opened in 1999. It is Norway’s deepest at 696 feet below the sea and 4.2 miles long, although we really couldn’t tell how far below the ocean’s surface we were traveling.

This is it!

We arrived at the Cape around 12 noon, with clouds thick and low. Visibility was only slightly better than during our previous visit six years prior. We wandered outside the North Cape Hall to take took pictures of what we could see—hazy cliffs and a special globe indicating that this is Europe’s most northerly point that is accessible by road.
Beverly tries to take photos through the fog.

Chilled and somewhat disappointed (but not surprised), we returned to the Hall to visit the historical displays and dioramas depicting the earliest explorers who arrived by ship in 1553 and early visitors who used ropes to tie each other together when on the cliffs in 1660. We also checked out the Thai Museum, St. John Chapel, Cave of Lights, and watched a beautiful panoramic film of the Cape.

First view of ocean cliffs at North Cape

After perusing all these informational areas and a map of the island on which Honningsvag is located, we wandered into the gift shop to look around. There is also a restaurant and a post office where you can have a postcard stamped and mailed.

It was getting close to the end of our 90 minutes there, so we decided to go outside again to see if the clouds had lifted at all. They had! “Oh, my goodness!” was all I could manage to say about this profoundly different experience.

The same view an hour later!

The weather was quite glorious, warmer and clearer than earlier. We could actually see the entirety of the cliffs and the ocean beyond as well as more land and a few low hanging clouds. It was incredible! I was awed by the enormity of the cliffs and the extraordinary views of the sea.

We retraced out steps along the path we had walked earlier, snapping photos quickly as time was passing. I practically jogged to a  previously fogged-in side that we had never seen before. This was a different angle looking across the cliffs, but it was no less amazing. We stayed there as long as possible before time to return to the ship.

All of this beauty had been obscured earlier.

This visit was a beautiful surprise, so worth returning for. Now I don’t need to show friends the postcard purchased on our first visit; I can show them my own photos of the stunning North Cape.

Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier



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