On Hurtigruten, day 6-7: North Cape and Kirkenes

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Arriving at Honningsvåg. Lovely location. It is a fishing town. Like most towns in Finnmark, it was burned to the ground in 1944 by retreating German troops and most of the population was forcibly evacuated. When the towns were rebuilt after the war, only six prototypes of houses were available, the guide said, which explains some of the architecture there. Colourful, though.

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Drying racks for stockfish. The fish hang outside from February to May, and are then exported. Outside Europe, the main importers for this fish are Brazil and Santo Domingo. We were bound for Nordkapp, a bus trip to the North Cape. Finally, an excursion for us! Expensive (990 NOK) but I really wanted to see it. Those passengers went dogsledding in Tromsø said it was great fun too, but we are just enjoying the trip as it is and there is so much to see! But Nordkapp I did want to visit, since were here already.

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Arriving at the North Cape, after half an hour on the bus. It is the most northern part of Europe. Beautful light. This is Knivskjellodden, the actual most north point.
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The globe at the North Cape, where we took pictures. It is on a 307 metre (1000 feet) plateau, and on a clear day the views are spectacular. Really cold wind, so we were glad we had bundled up in all our thermal wear.

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Leaving Honningsvåg. There are working fishing boats in all the harbours, and we have had wonderful fish on the ship: arctic char, halibut, salmon, trout, dogfish, cod, herring and more.

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Kongekrabbe: Russian king crab, which is an invasive species in the Barents sea. They are massive! A fisherman came on board with live ones, which we could hold. (I know, it is touristy…..) It was previously only found in the northern Pacific, from Japan to the Kamtchatka peninsula in Russia. It was intruduced to the Murmanskfjord by Soviet researchers to bolster food supplies and income generation fir the locals, but is spreading east and west. They are large and voracious, and destroy nets.

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King crab at the seafood buffet that evening, very tasty.

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Now we are in Kirkenes, where the ship has docked for a few hours before heading south again. Most passengers have gone into town or on excursions (dog sledding, ice hotel, Russian border) but we are having a slow peaceful morning on board (with fast wifi for once), as we both have a cold. Rather nice drinking coffee in the quiet lounge, seeing the occasional seal pop its head up in the slate grey water next to the ship.

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At 4AM this morning I had an automatic text from TIM, my Italian cellphone provider. “Benvenuti in Russia!” Welcome to Russia! And the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also texted, welcoming me to Sochi and providing an energency number, if needed. More amusing in daylight than at four AM, I tell you. Here in Kirkenes, my phone still thinks I am in Russia. You can see why from the map.

Now the boat will head south again, but we still have five days more on our honeymoon on the Hurtigruten. They call it the cruise for people who do not like cruises, and I can see why. It is more like a nice ferry, but we are well looked after and the staff are so nice. Really relaxing and beautiful. Now I will go refill my coffe cup (endless coffee and tea with the coffee package, you buy the cup for 345 NOK , about 34 GBP) and will see what is happening on the Olympics. It is easy to spot the Norwegians on board, they are either knitting and/ or watching the Olympics.

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Any sign of a seal out there?

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