Monday, July 9, 2007

Northernmost North-Cape Northness

So, this was a crew tour day, to the north cape. Northerly Northernmost Northness! Well, actually there’s another spot that’s 200 metres MORE north than the north cape, here it is, taken from the North Cape, but hey.

We stopped first at a Sami Indian Village, complete with teepees and reindeer. These reindeer are not wild, our guide told us, they are owned by farmers. To ask a farmer how many reindeer he has is apparently as rude as asking him how much money he has in his bank account. OK then!
Reindeer are exactly as real in the flesh as the Christmas-grotto plush versions I saw as a child. They have furry antlers, even the females when they’re pregnant and nursing, which apparently they can feel, and they experience pain if you touch them.
Eric jumped in a teepee, which had a good fire going inside it. I took this one which had clothes hanging inside. Then there was this souvenir shop selling handicrafts and an interesting "witch drum." I couldn’t believe people lived like this still, it seemed staged somehow.

Then it was on to the North Cape, via some breathtaking scenery. This is the globe that marks the northernmost point, and here’s a sculpture signifying peace, solidarity etc.etc.etc consisting of seven disks replicating drawings done by children from various parts of the world who stayed at the cape for a week.
But I found something far better, the Northernmost European public toilet!

And I love these rock formations, a bit "Blair Witch" but they suit the setting. Apparently it's all to do with leaving something distinctive so you know where you've been on walking trails etc.

Then there’s a centre with a souvenir shop and a ridiculously overpriced café, and a video showing every 30 minutes which I didn’t watch. I don’t know what I was expecting, but somehow I was expecting more.
In the souvenir shop, I found Reindeer sausage and powdered reindeer horn which apparently has Viagra-like qualities (whether you eat it, make tea from it or just wear it around your neck during the er, act I don’t know)
Eric took this opportunity to photograph his torso, and a troll’s nose. I wonder what he was trying to show me…. My friend Matthew found some jewellery too.
Eric and I bought wine, and we decided to set up camp in the car-park, next to a bunch of caravans and occasional tour-buses, for the remainder of our time at the cape. See, true trailer-park trash.

I mused on the ladies working in the centre. I mean, what must it be like to wake up every morning on a small, remote Norwegian island and go to work in the Northernmost shop in all of Europe?
I thought later about our young tour guide. She was more worried about the security guard on the dock seeing her, as it was her ex-boyfriend, than any misshaps on the tour and I felt slightly sorry for her as she told her stories about swimming in the fjords with the local policemen who “have nothing else to do”. We even saw them on our route.

And the sun NEVER set that night. Here's a poster, available at the North Cape, showing exactly the way it happened.

1 comment:

grace said...

the torso/troll's nose pic is too hilarious!