Robin's Website

To the Roof of Europe

Through Northern Finland and Norway to North Cape (23 Pages)

Browsing through the glossy magazines showing extortionately priced cruises to the north Cape of Norway, I thought how wonderful a sight it would be to see the land of the midnight sun; 24 hours of daylight – no sunset, no sunrise. Some people upon my return asked if I had seen the Northern Lights. “Erm... no, that’s in Winter”. Anyway, instead of being stuck on a cruise ship with a load of rich, old and retired Americans and Japanese people, my brother and I took a much cheaper option. My brother promptly booked us RyanAir tickets to fly to Tampere in Finland. Prior to departure, we purchased a one man and a two man tent for £4-99 and £9-99 respectively from Argos, along with varieties of Pot Noodles, a travel kettle, tins of “All Day Breakfasts”, Mars bars etc. etc. Scandinavia is expensive. Get the picture?

Finland lies at the eastern limit of Western Europe. Two thirds of the country is covered by lakes and forests, the rest bar urban areas is Arctic wasteland. Its most notable person was probably the composer Jean Sibelius (1865-1957). Indeed, there is a dedicated monument in a park named after him in the capital city of Helsinki (as noted in the chapter “Russian Tour”). Once part of Sweden, once part ofRussia, it clings tenaciously to its independence between east and west, although now being part of the European Union, this is not so much the case. Swedish is spoken primarily to the west of the country and Finnish to the east amongst its 5 million or so inhabitants. Finland can also claim to have been the coldest place on Earth. In 2000, a bunch of scientists from the Helsinki University of Technology cooled a piece of Rhodium (element atomic number 45) to a tenth of a billion of a degree above absolute zero (minus 273ºC). The country is host to a number of major cities. Apart from Helsinki, these include Espoo,Tampere (where we were flying to), Vantaa, Turku and Oulu, but we passed a road sign whilst there pointing to a certain town (population just over 31,000) which many people would have heard the name of.

Page 1

Next Page