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Sat, 28 Jul 2007
getting to the airport and flying home to austria. nothing else to report... here is the link to all the pictures we took. it was a great trip - thanks for those wonderful days, zombiequeen.
[ permanent link ]Fri, 27 Jul 2007
we enjoyed the good beds on the ferry (though the room was a bit loud since we were on the second deck, and below us was the machine room). yet we got up very early because on the information sheet it said breakfast is at 07:00. but once more the timezone tricked us. but - lucky us - the buffet opened at 07:30, and we had a delicous and ample breakfast. then we left the ferry, that did not sink, though there was so much celine dion, and drove to the camping ground we already had booked a place on our first day of our trip. afterwards we drove to town by metro again. this time helsinki was full of people, so just as one would expect it from a capital city. we had a look at the temppeliaukio church, that has been carved from solid rock. afterwards we were shopping since it's summer sale in almost all shops. but we only bought two things. a moomin puppet for zombiequeen in a moomin shop, and a kuroneko plush kitty from an awesome japan manga shop for me. afterwards we drove to the camping ground again and did all the boring stuff that has to be done at the end of a journey. cleaning the inside of the camper, packing our things and preparing the camper for return. this includes refilling the gas cartridge, and the tank. afterwards we were preparing a dinner from the rest of our food, and took a walk.
[ permanent link ]Thu, 26 Jul 2007
we got up at about 09:00 today and had breakfast with hana, her mother, and the children. then we packed our stuff, prepared the camper, and left our "camping ground". at slussen there's a big ferry harbour for the viking line ferries. one of them, namely "mariella" was our ferry. so we checked in after our last few hours in stockholm city. the ferry itself is pretty big. there are (at least) eight floors, a huge park deck for truckers, campers, cars, and motorcycles. to find the deck your vehicle has been parked they used animals, beside a letter. i guess this is that children and analphabets can find it too. what a coincidence, our animal is a moose! additionally there's a duty free shop. zombiequeen tried some wine and cheese they offer here (of course without being anything afterwards). we are steering along some coast for at least four hours now, and we're still not on the open sea, instead the course is along the archipelago islands. we wonder when we will finally end up on the open sea. for passengers' delight they play some songs on deck. and they played celine dion's "my heart will go on" twice! yes, they dare to play the titanic soundtrack here on the ferry. we really feel better now. well, maybe we don't get the scandinavian humour. if you read this blog entry, we survived (though with surely having a severe celion dion trauma). our cabin is small, but ok. there's even a shower and a toilet included. it's now 21:02 and we have passed the last lighthouse, and are now on the open sea.
[ permanent link ]Wed, 25 Jul 2007
second try for the zoo in skansen with hana and ana-clara. we left the second little child (actually she's a baby) at home at her father and her grandmother. this time it all worked out well and we arrived skansen on a sunny and warm day. as this day was the first without rain but sunshine in stockholm, loads of people were in the city and in skansen too. skansen is a big park, consisting of an amusement park, an open-air museum, and a zoo (and probably much more we've missed). the zoo itself is pretty big with loads of scandinavian animals, like wolverines, lynxes, brown bears, mooses (including two baby-mooses, and all of them were alive!), seals, peacocks, and many many more. after visiting the zoo we went through the open-air museum. it's similar to maihaugen in lillehammer. so there were a lot of old houses, but this time from sweden. within the open-air museum there was a little amusement park for children too, so we went there. ana-clara had loads of fun there going with merry-go-rounds (one with a horse she could ride, and another one with an airplane she could fly). we had an ice-cream in the meantime. after that hana and ana-clara drove to town shopping while we paid a visit to the vasa museum. the museum is about the vasa, a ship that was built in 1628 and sank on her maiden voyage in the harbour of stockholm. the ship was lifted in the 50s and was then brought to the museum. the vasa is an impressive big ship and one can walk along the ship on four floors. besides the ship there are always additional exhibitions about building the vasa, people working and dying on the vasa, etc. we both really enjoyed this museum. after that we drove to hana's house again where we finally met my godfather. we had some barbecue in the garden. he enjoyed austrian wine we brought him, and had a lot of fun. this was a really wonderful and great day.
[ permanent link ]Tue, 24 Jul 2007
in the morning we left with hana, ana-clara, and alice for the zoo in skansen, stockholm. but as soon as we got to the bus station, ana-clara suddenly refused to go there and was crying. so zombiequeen and me went to town alone. but since the weather was not that good for a visit to the zoo, and we said to hana, that we will retry tomorrow again to go there, we went to the "moderna", a museum about modern art. on the flyer it says something about artwork by picasso, matisse, dali, and other famous artists. but the part of the exhibition about modern art was somehow beyond the comprehension of our sense of art. so we quickly tried to get to the part in the museum where they were showing all those artists named above. but for most of the artists, there was only one painting/picture shown. pretty disappointing, this was definitely not worth the 80SEK (about 8EUR) per person. so we tried the east-asia museum, that is located on the same island, amongst many other museums. the east-asia exhibition was very interesting, and our frustration about the first museum soon disappeared. one main part of the east-asia exhibition is about a photographer that went to a very famous chinese garden and took loads of pictures there. in the 90s another artist tried to find exactly the same places these pictures were taken, trying to preserve the same angle and point of view. thus one could see the changes done to the garden, the landscape, and the vegetation at this location. funny experiment. afterwards we took another walk through the center of stockholm. but since it started to rain (once more), we decided to go home. as the both of us were very tired (i think we are pretty exhausted now after two and a half week of travelling), we relaxed at the house of hana.
[ permanent link ]Mon, 23 Jul 2007
after breakfast we drove to stockholm center. we are currently in aelta, which is about 20mins away from stockholm city by bus. when we have arrived we wanted to go to the "moderna museet", a museum for modern art. our guide says they have some pieces of warhole, picasso, matisse, and others. but unfortunately museums seem to be all closed on monday, so we will do that the day after tomorrow, as we planned a trip to the stockholm zoo with hanna and her two children for tomorrow. instead of going to the museum, we were walking through the center of stockholm, had a look at the "gamla stan" (old town), and were shopping in some shopping centers. we hope the weather will be better than today, because it was really bad weather today. it was raining for most of the time, and there was no sun. this is ok for museums and shopping, but not for zoos or sightseeing.
[ permanent link ]Sun, 22 Jul 2007
as planned we have been to the norwegian museum of science and technology. the museum was rather small compared to the technical museum in vienna or munich, yet it was fun and there was loads of stuff to try out. so we pushed loads of buttons, and pull many levers. after the fun stuff came the boring stuff - we drove about 500km eastwards to stockholm. the journey was very exhausting, and lasted about eight hours (we had some coffee breaks). 40km before stockholm there was an accident, so we got stuck in a traffic jam. at about 20:00 we arrived at stockholm, at my godfather's daughters house, where we parked our camper in the garden. the last time i saw hanna, was when she was 12 years old. this was back in 1990, when i had my trip to stockholm. today she has two children, but she still looks just as she did at that time (ok, she more or less looks the same). we will meet my godfather in a few days, since he's busy right now and is currently far away from where we are.
[ permanent link ]Sat, 21 Jul 2007
after having spent the night at the most expensive and largest camping site up to now, we bought two oslo passes, that act as a 24 hours ticket for the public transport system, entrance card to approximately 30 museums, free parking ticket within the entire city, discount pass on sight-seeing tours, restaurants, and souvenir-shops. so this actually cheap little piece of paper came in very handy to us, and so we dedicated this day once more to visiting museums. the first one was the munch museum ("the scream"), which contains a broad selection of his works, which were testamentary gifts to the city of oslo by edvard munch. at the entrance we felt like being on an airport, due to all the security checks one had to undergo to enter the museum. no liquids, metal detectors and the like, and x-raying the bags. the exhibition itself was pretty interesting, and there were loads of other people (most likely tourists). afterwards we drove to the oslo reptile park, which was a small collection of living snakes, gekkos, lizards, spiders, turtles, and other reptiles. the museum itself was on the fourth floor in an office complex. at first we did not find the entry, as we expected something more like a ... museum-entry. the animals were interesting, but the museum itself actually would have been a bit too expensive in our opinion (65NOK, 6.5EUR), but luckily the entrance was included in our oslo pass. the next and last museum for this day was the vigeland museum. gustav vigeland was a famous sculptor, and the museum showed loads of his works, including scetches and miniature models he used for the original ones later. this "making of" was especially impressive, as most of his sculptures were. his sculpture are spread over the whole town of oslo. we can definitely recommend this museum. unfortunately the natural history museum already had closed, and since we were tired anyway from walking around all day, we decided to go home, go to bed early and make the most of our oslo pass, since it's valid until 12:00 the next day. we planned to go to the norwegian museum of science and technology, and maybe we'll visit the natural history museum too. we'll see.
[ permanent link ]Fri, 20 Jul 2007
at about 14:30 we arrived in the olympia town of 1994, lillehammer. lillehammer itself is a rather small town, and the legacy of the olympic games 13 years ago is still everywhere. and of course there's the olympia park with all the nordic sports things like ski jumps, ice-arena, etc. but we prefered the maihaugen open-air museum instead. this museum was founded by a dentist that started to collect various things, like houses, and put them in his garden. soon he lacked space for more houses, so the things were transfered to maihaugen. today there are 150 old houses on 40 hectar. it is divided into several parts, ranging from old rural farm houses, a stav church, a vicarage, and small fishing shacks in one part, to modern buildings in the other part. the most shocking things was an original house from the 1980s. at the entrance door a museum guide, dressed and styled in 80s look, was welcoming us and guided us through the basement of the house. it was as a time-journey, since so many items were familiar to me. i was so impressed, i forgot to take pictures. another part was dedicated to lillehammer from about 1930. original houses like a pharmacie, the post-office, a hairdresser, a bakery, and much more were shown. we left the museum at 17:00, because they were closing it. after spending hours in this really awesome museum we drove on to oslo, about 200km away from lillehammer. just one word about distances here in scandinavia (especially in norway), just in case you wonder why it takes us so long to get from one point to another: the maximum speed is 80, there are no highways. only occassionally the limit is 90km/h, more often the limit is at 60km/h or 70km/h. this results in an estimated duration of e.g. 7.5 hours for 500km, and tomtom does a generous calculation. especially the roads along the fjordes are very steep and curvy, so with the camper we rarely drove the maximum speed. but the good thing about the speed limits are, that all kind of vehicles driving, from campers to trucks, are (in theory) able to go at that speed. additionally scandinavian people really drive disciplined (except for some bad manners of mercedes drivers, that seem to be independent to country and nationality). i think the limits make sense, especially in winter, and during summer one can at least enjoy the environment scrolling by - just as we do.
[ permanent link ]Thu, 19 Jul 2007
on our way further down norway we encountered the "namsen laksakvarium" (which means: "namsen salmon aquarium"). since zombiequeen did not feel too well this day and it was slightly raining i went there alone. this exhibition was mainly about salmon. how to breed them, how to catch them, how to eat them. additionally it showed an artificial salmon-ladder up the river namsen, right next to the water-powerplant, and the waterfall right afterwards. unfortunately no salmon was hopping up the ladder, but there was a room with a glas window, where one could see them rest at the end of the ladder, preparing for the next hop. at the restaurant there was an open WLAN, so we put some blog entries online. after that we drove on to trondheim. we finally arrived there at about 16:00. parking fees are tremendiously high in scandinavia. one hour cost about 13NOK (1.30EUR). but trondheim was worth it. it's a wonderful, lovely, but small town. everything can be reached by foot within a reasonable time. so we left trondheim after a four hour walk, heading on southwards. three hours later we passed by vang, where we entered a viking burial site, with about 800 grave mourns. the first finds age back to the iron age, and the graveyard has been used by many generations. half an hour later we drove on and were searching for a parking place where we could spend the night. we found one next to a river.
[ permanent link ]Wed, 18 Jul 2007
we got up late today, as the day before was very exhausting, and it was very late when we got to bed. on our way to trondheim we passed the maelstroms at saltstraumen again, this time in daylight. but this time it was rather disappointing, since there actually were no real big maelstroms as we have seen some hours before. lucky us, our ferry arrived that late. for the rest of the day we have been driving southwards, and between rognan and skonseng we crossed the arctic circle for the second time. the only stop we actually had was at laksfossen, a big waterfall ("fossen") where salmon ("laks") is trying to get further up the river. so the fish are facing a really big obstacle they are trying to get passed. the waterfall itself is pretty impressive, big, and loud. from time to time one could see the salmon fishes jump out of the water. for the rest of our trip we had a blocked road by goats, cows, and sheep - we are still missing the rendeers :( right now it's 23:26 and... it's getting dark! guess we have to get used to that again - fortunately we will adjust gradualy.
[ permanent link ]Tue, 17 Jul 2007
after getting up early we were heading for moskenes on the lofoten islands. on the way there we stopped at a viking museum. on a 1500m long walk one could see a reconstructed chieftains house, viking ship, smithy, charcoal kilns, and a boathouse. furthermore remains of original houses, boathouses, settlements, gravemounds, and a christian cemetary. the reconstructed ship and the chieftain house were very interesting, showing the daily lives of the viking people. an interesting fact: viking-helmets had no horns! afterwards we drove on to moskenes to get the ferry to bodoe. on our way we gave two couples a ride. the first one was french and got off after about 10 minutes at a bus station (we don't remember where they wanted to go), the second one was a swedish one. they wanted to go to the beach, and therefore were heading for the ferry in reine. so they got off our camper at a crossing. they asked if they could take a picture of us, since they were tramping and took a picture of everyone that gave them a ride. we agreed. i hope the picture does not end up being shown on the internet. when we arrived at moskenes it was a bit frustrating at first. the ferry left the harbour every four hours, we were waiting in the third lane to get on the ship. this was two hours before the ferry arrived. the people from the ferry company told us we will not make it on the first one. the second one left moskenes at 21:15. so all in all we were waiting for six and a half hour. but fortunately it was a sunny day, so we left our camper on the third lane (in pole position!), took a walk through moskenes (actually the entire village is centered around the ferry harbour, and besides that, there is only a church that was built 1865). but we saw a little cute cat, begging for food at the back-entrance of the cafe next to the ferry information center. finally, at 21:30 (yes, the ferry had 15 minutes delay), we left the lofoten islands. on the four hours ferry trip we enjoyed the landscapes scrolling by, tried another unknown candy bar at the ferry shop (every time we stop at a gas station we buy a candy bar that looks interesting, and are of course unknown to us. it's always a surprise what we get, since we don't understand the ingredients list. but up to now they were all really delicious). it was 00:30 when we arrived at bodoe. since most camping ground receptions are not opened anymore at that time we decided to spend another night on some parking lot. our scandinavian guide said there are wonderful maelstroms about 30km eastwards of bodoe. so we decided to go that direction as long as we are not too tired. driving at that time is actually no problem, since it's still as light as during the day. the only thing that is different to driving at daytime is, that one can see mooses! yes, we saw them - plenty of them! all in all we saw about eight or nine mooses, two of them were baby-mooses. the young mooses have tremendiously long legs compared to their overall size. we found out, that mooses are actually as dumb as they are tall. and they are _very_ tall. but fortunately they are also as cute as they are dumb. really lovely creatures. late in the night we arrived at the malstroems in saltstraumen. the maelstroms looked wonderful in the sunset light. we took some photos, and then stopped at some parking ground to finalyl get some sleep.
[ permanent link ]Mon, 16 Jul 2007
today nothing really exciting happened. we took another ferry from one island to the other on the lofoten islands. for the rest of the time we were driving, since we had to wait until noon to pay at the camping site. afterwards we were driving to get a little southwards. tomtom had some strange issues today, as he guided us to two non-existing camping-sites. pretty strange, maybe the information is outdated or tomtom needs a break. the camping site here has an open WLAN, so i can put some stuff online. unfortunately the signal is too weak in our camper, so i had to take my camping-chair and sit 20m next to it to get online.
[ permanent link ]Sun, 15 Jul 2007
after getting up at the park ground next to tromsoe we drove to the center of the town. our first stop was at the church, but it was closed at that time in the morning. so we drove on to the tromsoe museum. the streets were totaly empty and as in helsinki we were the only people on the street. tomtom guided us to the tromsoe museum. we thought we were just in time, since our paper guide said the museum opens at 09:00. so we sat there and were wondering why it's still closed at 09:15, until we found out that we are in another time zone again. so we adjusted our clocks to GMT +1. oh no, we got up one hour too early - it was 06:00 when the alarm clock rang. so we got back to our camper, i took a short nap, zombiequeen was reading, and we returned to the museum at 09:00 sharp - this time it really was 09:00! when the museum had opened its gates we went in, had a look at various exhibitions, like a special exhibition on fire (one could try to make fire themselves), of course a sami exhibition (this is a must to every museum to show political correctness, i guess), a special on climate changes, about the people living in the stone age, another exhibition on the aurora borealis (another must to every museum in north scandinavia). we were the only people there, which is pretty cool and very enjoyable. afterwards we drove to the polaria, a small but very nice museum on the fauna around the northern polar areas. a highlight were the living seals that had a big aquarium there they could swim in. one could get really close to them. unfortunately the light conditions were very very bad in there and the seals were moving very fast, so no sharp pictures were taken of those lovely creatures. besides seals there were all kind of living animals like sea-stars, fish, crabs, eels, etc. additionaly we saw a film (again in 125 degree viewpoint angle, by the same company and technology as the one shown at the north cape - scandinavians seem to enjoy those techniques). it was about spitzbergen, over and under the sea, filmed in either a boat or a helicopter. great pictures again. we left the camper at the parking ground of the polaria and went to the center by foot. we saw the center and the harbour. very lovely town with beautiful houses, but again not very many people there, and the once we saw were most likely tourists. seems like norwegians are having holidays and they all flee to warmer countries, or they stay at home on sunday? we are not sure. another attraction we've been visiting was the arctic cathedral. there was an entrance fee of 25NOK (that's about 2.5EUR). the church itself was ok, but we were a bit puzzled about the entrance fee, because inside it looked like an ordinary church. ok, there was a nice, big, glas-painted window but this definitely was not worth the 2.5EUR. but, for the first time in my live, i've been to a toilet in a church. that was worth the entry. additionaly we've seen another member of the "world's northernmost"-attractions: a brewery. so up to now this makes: the world's northernmost point that can be reached by street (north cape), town, catholic church community, university, ice-free harbour (all in hammerfest), afterwards we left the "paris of the north", heading for the lofoten. on the way there we saw an advertisement for the polar zoo (of course the world's northernmost one). spontaneously we decided to go there since the weather was really awesome, and we hoped to finally see a moose in full view. but we were very disappointed as we read a sign saying "we are sorry, but the moose is dead.". poor moose, poor us. besides the moose there are foxes (polar and red), lynxes, brown bears, badgers, domestic animals, wolves, musks, deers, rendeers, and wolverins. this zoo has very very large enclosure with wild growing plants in there. so it often happened, that we didn't see any animal at all. either because they were hiding somewhere within their large enclosures, or in their lair, lying around in the gras or bushes, or they were dead. but in summary we saw every second animal (badger, bear, wolves, polar foxes, domestic animals, deers). after spending two hours in the zoo we drove on southwards. but since it was already late camping grounds were crowded. after two full camping grounds we finally found a very beautiful one. besides the two of us there were only three other campers and five tents there. after having our camper plugged to an electricity outlet we took a walk around the camping site.
[ permanent link ]Sat, 14 Jul 2007
after getting up and making some hot coffee we drove to the alta museum, in which one can see ancient rock carvings. the museum is located at hjemmeluft. additionaly the rock carvings were placed on the unesco wolrd heritage list in 1985. the whole area is di- vided into two areas, each of them showing several stone car- vings. to reach them one has to walk on wooden paths. while walking the slopes we met a nice taiwanese woman that is current- ly living in munich, thus her german was very good, and we had lots of fun while examining the area. additionaly the museum offers several other exhibitions too. mostly about the history of the local area, from the stoneage to the second world war. after the museum we were heading for tromsoe. tomtom, our reliable navigator estimated the journey to take six hours. at first we were very puzzled and thought of some system failure, until, at one point, tomtom said: "after 300m take the ferry". so we got on the ferry in olderdalen and left it at lyngseidet. after some kilometer tomtom suggested to take another ferry. this time from svensby to breivikeidet. finally, at 20:00 we arrived at tromsoe. so, tomtom was absolutely right - impressive! tomorrow we planned to visit the tromsoe-museum, the polar mu- seum, and a cathedral. a sidenote: today was our first day since we crossed the arctic circle without seeing a rendeer - we miss them :( additionaly we are too lazy to search for a camping site, so we park our camper about 25km away from tromsoe. it turns out it is some kind of an end-station of a local bus line, since every 15 minutes there is a bus arriving, waiting a few minutes, then driving away. we are going to bed early, after taking a walk along the fjord beach.
[ permanent link ]Fri, 13 Jul 2007
our first week on our scandinavia-trip is done. today we slept pretty long (we both forgot to set our alarm clock once more). after breakfast we went to the center of hammerfest (or at least we thought it was the center). since both of us already had a slight cold when we left and it was getting worse every day, we went to a "apoteke" (pharmacy) today. thanks to the great inven- tion and copyright by bayer, acetylsalisyre is even known here in norway by the name of "aspirin" - so getting the right medication for us was quite easy. additionally we bought some "C-vitamin" (you guessed right, vitamin C). it seems the combination as we know it, namely vitamin C and aspirin ("aspirin plus C" of course copyright and produced by bayer) is unknown here - scandinavian people don't get ill anyway. some shops we visited too were "hennes" (we're still not sure if this is some splitted "H&M" shop, missing the "M"), an intersport shop (seems like this brand is operating world-wide too) and a coop supermarket, which was "konsum" in austria, if i remember correctly. on our way home we saw two cats! unfortunately the first one was too far away and didn't even notice us, the second one was too shy and hid under a car - too bad. then we started the engine of our camper and drove to alta. of course rendeers where standing next to, but most of the time on the road. so cute, and so stupid. additionally we found a very little snow-field next to the road. though there's still some snow left here and there, this time we could reach it very easily. so, on a very warm and sunny day we touched snow in july, surrounded by blooming flowers and lilac. tomorrow we will try to find some very ancient stone paintings near alta. they're estimated to be done by the, first scandinavian people, between 4000 and 500 b.c., according to our reliable scandi- navia guide.
[ permanent link ]Thu, 12 Jul 2007
this day we got up very early (yes, we've had two alarm clocks set to 07:00, just to make sure), heading for the northcape. on the way there, there's a toll charge to pay for using the road to the northcape island. the closer we got to the northcape, the foggier it was. after paying the entrance to the cape itself, and finally being at our destination point, we were enclosed by fog. due to the heavy fog we did not even find the right way at first. instead we ended at some cliff. after walking around more or less blindly we found the building next to the cape. in there, there's loads of stuff to see, like a very very small thai museum (aehem, there once was a king, namely chulalongkorn - no, not a rice brand, that was his name! and for that he got his own museum). in fact it was a very small room with a few old pictures of king chulalongkorn and some thai daemon-mask. then there were loads of dioramas showing the history of the northcape. another great thing was the "supervideograph" (yep, cool name!), showing a movie in wide-angle (125 degrees, on five screens) showing the landscape around northcape through the four seasons, partially under the sea. the movie was pretty fascinating and we got an impression of what it would look like if there's not a thick wall of fog. therefore we decided to go to a nearby small village (skarsvag). there we were below the fog. we climbed a small hill that gave a good overview of the village. later we drank tea, ate something at a parking ground where we had a good view to the northcape (and its horn). while the upper cape was still in the fog, the horn was not. so we waited several hours just to return to the cape again after the fog has lifted. this time, unfortuna- tely, we were not alone anymore. tourists were around the place, but not as much as we had expected. guess this is the good thing about the fog - not too much tourists. this time we had a far better view from the cape and the platform. we were glad that we had returned there for a second time. first checkpoint on our journey done - yuhu! we've been to the most northern point of the world (that can be reached on a road)! afterwards we've been driving to hammerfest, the most northern town in the world, with the only ice free harbour during the winter in northern europe, and the most northern catholic church community in the world.
[ permanent link ]Wed, 11 Jul 2007
accidentally i switched off the alarm clock of my mobile phone. so we got up later than we had intended the night before. the funny thing was, we got up and it was still as light as when we went to bed. after checking out at the camping ground we were heading for inari (approximately 350km south of north cape), a little village focusing on tourists and selling sami clothing and other strange stuff. besides that, and a very bitter coffee (we guess the bowl with filter coffee stood there way too long), there's nothing really exciting about inari. so we drove on to karasjok in norway where we planned to leave finland and enter norway. on the way there, we spotted our first moose. yes, this time a real one! unfortunately we were not really prepared for this awesome encounter, so there are no photos of the moose - bad luck. well, maybe we'll see another one later during our trip, this time with the camera readied. later we crossed the finisch norwegian border and one of the first things we had to do was to get some money, norwegian crowns (to bad they're not part of the EU). when heading for the camping site in lakselv at first we crossed a military area (no parking or taking photographs!), then zombiequeen cooled her feet in seawater in the porsangen fjord, and finally we were driving along the river karasjokka, which led us to our final destination, the camping site. for the first time (besided some moments in helsinki) we had really good weather (in austrian terms, this means no rain, no clouds, sun, and warm wind, and temperatures over 15 degrees celsius). therefore we made use of our "no bite" anti mosquito gels and had our first meal out- door. though pretty effective, the gel does not keep the mos- quito's off very long, so right after that, taking photos, and writing postcards we entered the camper again. after having finished this blog entry we're going to drink tea, then go to bed, to get to north cape early tomorrow.
[ permanent link ]Tue, 10 Jul 2007
after getting up in the morning i connected to the open WLAN at the camping site to do some important online-stuff (no, not porn-surfing but doing some real working stuff). after that we headed for rovaniemi, approximately 700km south of the northcape. in rovaniemi is the so called arktikum, which is a museum about the northern arctic regions of the world with a focus on lapland. in there was a stuffed moose. since this was the first "real" moose i saw (despite the ones on television and the like) i was rather impressed and now the moose signs along the roads make more sense to me. unfortunately no photographing was allowed in the entire museum area. after that we drove to santa park, joulupukin pajakylae, which is a park of concentrated disgust and horror. this park offers christmas flair all year long, 365 and a quarter days a year - pure horror! yet we were missing some rendeers and little costume-elves, and santa himself (i think they were afraid of acts of terror against santa or intruding hords of wham-fans, singing "last christmas"). but at least we saw some female santa's helpers. cute, but of course tall and blond, finnish girls doing interesting stuff in santa's post office. additionally the park is located exactly along the polar circle, which we crossed when leaving this aweful place. christmas horror will return in five months anyway, so it was enough for now. on the road to sodankylae we encountered two rendeers crossing, or actually standing on, the road. they seemed a bit confused at first, then ran a few meters along with our camper, and finally they decided it's better to leave the road at all, so they took a turn to the left and disappeared in the woods. after having arrived at the camping site in sodankylae we took a walk to a nearby lake and for the first we have seen the sun after 20:00. to be more precise it was about 22:15 when the sunlights came through the wall of clouds. we will be heading for inari tomorrow, about 350km south of north cape, and most probably we are leaving finland via karasjok tomorrow, entering norway.
[ permanent link ]Mon, 09 Jul 2007
the third day of our trip was rainy again. therefore we focused on getting on north and drove almost all day long. our first stop was in tampere ("the liverpool of north europe", as our travel guide called it), where we wanted to have the lock of our cabin door to be fixed. so we drove to a shop that anna-maria gave us the address of. the guy there was very, very friendly and smart. he partially fixed the lock, so that we can at least leave the camper through the cabin door. that's a big improvement compared to the previous state of the lock, namely being jammed and rendering the cabin door totaly unuseable. so on the third day, for the first time, we could exit the camper through the cabin door. additionaly we had duplicated the key for all the locks at the camper, since the one we got from the car rental service, was worn out and had a good chance to break within the next few days, which we really did not want to risk. we will try to sell it to anna-maria when we return the camper. after having all those rather annoying things done, we drove to kuopio, which is approximately 280km north of tampere. our travel guide said there's a 75m high tower that should give a good view on the surrounding. when we arrived there it was totally foggy so we decided not to go up the tower. instead we found some ski jump which we had a closer look at. there was even one young man doing jumps. we were not sure whether this guy was hired to entertain tourists like us, or if he was really training for some olympic games. well, we took pictures of him, so if he ever gets famous, we'll know for sure. last thing we did for this day was driving to oulu, another 280km going north, which is almost half the way to our first destination, namely the northcape.
[ permanent link ]Sun, 08 Jul 2007
on the second day of our scandinavia-tour we came to mummin- world, located in naantali, finnland. in our tourguide (in paper-form, including tourist attractions and information for finland, sweden, norway, denmark, and iceland) it said "mummin- world" or "mummin-park", so we thought it's a park like disney- world, with all kind of stuff related to mummins, the tv series i enjoyed so much when i was a child, and zombiequeen had already seen a few times, including facts, news, background stories, making ofs, and dudes in cool costumes, acting as all the different mummin characters. well, it turned out it's more some kind of "hey, make my child tired please, that's what i pay (a pretty large amount of money) for"-park for parents. so we were the only couple there without kids. though not really the target group for this entertainment park, we at least enjoyed some theatre, showing some (most probably) funny mummin story. it was in finnish. or... we really think it was finnish, but maybe it was swedish. one character we enjoyed very much, which is some kind of a black furry troll, called "stinky". zombiequeen laughed out loud, and all other people - kids and parents - around, who most probably understood what the actors were talking about, stared at her in wonder. i guess the play was not intended to be funny at that moment, so no one else was laughing. the rest of the park was rather disappointing for adults (or, to be more precise, for austrian, childless mummin-loving adults), since all stuff was mainly for kids. although it was raining pretty hard all day long the park was rather crowded and loads of families were there. most of the kids did not care about the rain at all, and so did their parents. i think finnish people are not very influenced by the weather at all. i wonder what they wear in winter. afterwards we drove to tampere, which lies north to naantali. at the camp ground we saw our first cat on this trip. it was a cat that travelled in a camper and was outdoor on a leash. great idea, we could have taken lilo with us, meow!
[ permanent link ]Sat, 07 Jul 2007
after spending the night in munich at zombiequeen's (aka karo) aunt and uncle, we got a ride to the airport by them. there we bought a bottle of wine at the duty free shop for my godfather, which we will hopefully meet later in stockholm. the bottle of course got sealed in a transparent bag with special labels to prevent an act of terror. after the duty free shop we went to the gate where we were awaited to get on the plane. it seems we were a little late since they already announced a "very last and ur- gent" call for us. in fact it was the first call, i'm sure be- cause whenever there was a call i was listening very carefully. but anyway, we hurried to get on the plane, which then had delay anyway because they were having troubles with loading the lug- gage. oh well. about three hours later we arrived at helsinki, again with a little delay since the landing lane was flooded due to heavy rainshowers, and so the plane had to fly a round over the airport. for the first time ever there was someone waiting for me with a sign with my name on at the airport in the arrival hall! ok, finally i'm important - yuhu. it was the girl from the car rental com- pany, called anna-maria, that fetched us there and drove us to the headquarter where we saw a fine video with a crashcourse on how to maintain and operate the camper that will be our home for the next three weeks. the instructions had strong visual support by a finnish girl - uh, she was blond and tall. one could defini- tely see she had great fun at the film shooting (or maybe she was just drunk)! thorougly and well instructed we hopped on the camper, startet the engine and drove to our first camping site where we parked our camper and took the metro to the capital of finland, namely helsinki. an absolutely beautiful, but small town with loads of parks and green areas. the strange thing about helsinki was, that there were absolutely no people on the streets, there were plenty of free parking lots and almost no cars (except for taxis) driving on the streets. and i'm talking about saturday evening/night on a warm, nice summerday. it almost felt like walking through a ghost-town. on our way home we passed by a super market (at approximately 22:30). quite exhausted we went to bed for our first night in a camper at about 00:30. for- tunately we could keep out the lights with sunblinds, since it was still light outside - comparable to 21:00 in austria.
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