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To the Roof of Europe

Due to time pressing on, we did not explore the town per se, but did drive up to a sign post one sees entering the town. It reads “Oslo 2502km” – a reminder of the sheer length of Norway by European standards.  We set off to achieve our first two goals. Firstly for my brother to fulfil a childhood ambition of seeing the relatively tiny border which lies between Norway and Russia and secondly to fulfil Kate’s challenge to swim in the Arctic Ocean. And so, we set off from the Kirkenes sign eastbound for the Russian border.  The winding road took us through a mishmash of forests and barren landscape until we reached the first border control station, which appeared rather uninviting to say the least. The Norwegian road then took a left turn and by and large followed a fairly narrow river. On one side of the river, which in places appeared to be quite easily crossable in river fishing gear was us in Norway and on the opposite bank, Mother Russia herself. Whilst I was expecting a massive evil looking fence, the Norwegian-Russian border is simply marked by posts in pairs opposite each other. On the Norwegian side the posts are yellow with a black hat. On the Russian side, the posts have red and green panels one above the other. Where the border passes overland, the posts stand 4 m apart, and the borderline is midway between the posts. Where the border is formed by rivers, the posts stand on the banks of the rivers and the borderline follows as a rule the deepest channel.

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