Friday, June 18, 2010

Day 9 - Membership of the Arctic Circle

An exclusive club indeed ... with 9,000 airmiles awarded as a starter.

I thought that we had passed through Hell yesterday, but obviously not. Or if we did, the far side of hell is the same as hell itself.
The weather deteriorated further to a very Irish very steady rain, with very low cloud everywhere. At the same time, the road deteriorated so that potholes and surfaces cracks began to appear with more frequency. After almost continuous driving for 8 days, driver and navigator are wearing away just like the road surface, and surface cracks are appearing in the relationship. However, we’ve been through far worse than this … and emerged smiling … together!!

Some amusing anecdotes along the way have been the way people react to seeing a little yellow plastic car in far north Norway. The reaction is either admiration or horror … both revealing their view that we are mad. But the best reaction today was from 3 kids out cycling with their mum (yes, in the rain). The first two kids stopped their bikes instantly, and almost fell off, while their eyes had missile-lock on the car. Child number 3 and mum have to take evasive action to avoid rear-ending the first two.

We did have a tentative plan to take the coast road from Grong to Bodo, but it would have made an 8+ hour journey into a 10+ hour journey, plus 60 minutes for a ferry. Given our fraying nerves and the weather, we headed directly for Bodo. The other benefit of the shorter route is that we get to cross the Arctic Circle on a road, where there are markings. If we’d taken the long route, we’d have crossed into the Arctic while on the ferry, and the moment would just not have been the same.

After the earlier roads, I expected a serious bump across the road, rather than a polite sign  :-)
... and a smile of relief on Karen's face ... note the Elk (a close relative of the more famous Canadian Moose) on the wing mirrors.

Tomorrow’s plan has also changed. Rather than driving another 9 hours to Tromso, we’re taking a Sunday morning ferry to the Lofoten Islands ... more specifically to a town called Å.  More of that later and anybody who can work out why it's called Å gets a gold star.  It's not an A, but the uppercase form of å.

But now we gotta rush to the Vinmonopoli shop ... cos they close at 3pm on a Saturday and all day Sunday ... and life would be even harsher without a tipple each evening!!

PS:  This evening's hotel is very strange ... it's both a hospital and a hotel ... so the restaurant contains a very weird mixture of diners ... and an even weirder dress code ... more suited to East Tennessee than to North Norway!

Day 9 of Alps to Arctic Tour

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  1. No idea, and Google wasn't much help. But perhaps now you can say you have really gone from Å to Bö :-)

  2. Å is the last letter in the Norwegian alphabet ... so they say from A to Å where we'd say A to Z.

    The town of Å is at the very end of the Lofoten chain ... the road stops there ... hence the humourous Norwegians called it Å.