Sep 16 2009

Departure minus 19 days

Category: adventure,travelSami @ 1:53 pm

Critical Preparations for my trip are approaching completion – I’ll be getting my passport sorted today, and my plans for the first few weeks I’m overseas are firming up: after I land at Heathrow, I’ll be staying a few days with my uncle in Wiltshire, then heading up around the weekend towards Edinburgh. I may spread the trip over a couple of days to do some sightseeing on the way, since it’s a six-and-a-half-hour drive – which is doable but not exactly fun, plus I want leisure to stop and photograph the flowers, I’ll be on holiday.

I stay with my cousin in Edinburgh for a few days – spending time with her when she’s up to it, sightseeing when she’s resting (she’s 95, and her stamina is limited), then the plan is for me to head onwards to the family seat in rural Aberdeenshire. This is around a three and a half hour drive, which I vaguely plan to do over the course of a day – meandering a bit and taking time to admire the scenery, and such.

After a few days there, it’s time to head south, to cross the Channel to Newcastle and then take a ferry to Amsterdam. (Apparently the ferry to Stavanger is no longer running – I suspect it’s too late in the year.)

This saves me the trip from Newcastle-latitude to Dover, then from Calais to the Netherlands. From Nederland I drive up through Germany to Denmark, and take the ferry from Copenhagen to Oslo. Things may be quite serendipitous – looking up things like ferry timetables, I can conveniently go from Newcastle on the 22nd, arriving in Amsterdam on the morning of the 23rd; have a full day to go from Amsterdam to somewhere in the vicinity of Hamburg, then get to the Copenhagen ferry port in time to for the Oslo ferry that leaves on the evening of the 24th; that gets me to Oslo on the 25th, and from there I go north towards Karasjok.

I want to see Karasjok not least because it’s the capital of the Sami people. The indigenous population of Norway, but also: THE SAMI PEOPLE. I am compelled to seek souvenirs of the Sami People.

It’s also a good stopping-point from which to travel to the North Cape.

It took me some time of looking wistfully at stuff around Finnmark before I realised that no, actually, this is a holiday, and my lack of Norwegian kin or affinity for Scandinavian history doesn’t mean I can’t go to Scandinavia just because I’ve always wanted to. Because I have – I want to see the fjords, I want to see the mountains and I want to go to the Arctic.

So I’m going to. I’m going to Norway, and I might well take a snow machine tour to the three-border point, or along the Russian border. (I don’t have a visa to visit Russia, but hey, I can go where I can see it.)

Things to get in advance:

- How to ask for gluten-free food in Norwegian.

- Seriously warm clothing.

After that, I’ll go southwards again, and perhaps visit some places in western Europe, before heading back to Britain and my plans to explore that green and pleasant land.

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