Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Journey to the top of the world

I went to a conference on a cruise ship, one of the Hurtigruter boats that continuously tour around the entire coast of Norway. The conference started at a hotel in Kirkenes, at the very north-eastern tip of Norway. Along the way I visited the Russian border. Then Vardø, an island that is the easternmost point in Norway and home to a fantastic witch-burning monument. I had breakfast at Nordkapp, the northernmost point in Norway. And ended the trip at Harstad.

I toke a ridiculous number of pictures, and so I've split this trip into several entries.

Kirkenes and the Norway-Russia Border

Kirkenses lies right near the Russian border. I arrived to the conference early to take a tour out to the border. I was hoping I would get the chance to step inside Russia. You know those maps where you can color in the countries you've visited? Stepping inside Russia would let me color in a huge chunk of the map. No such luck. Security is whopping tight, with cameras along the whole border every few meters. Like anyone would seriously want to sneak into Russia.

Driving out from Kirkenes
Road signs in the area in both Norwegian and Russian
The border.
A souvenir and fish stand next to the border crossing
The shop sells Russian dolls and other Russian knick-knacks

Across the lake, the dip in the mountain separates Russia on the left with Norway on the right
Kirkenes' main industry is gravel. They have enough gravel to build a two-lane highway from Kirkenes to Oslo... six meters high. But that would be a little weird.

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