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To the Roof of Europe

To our surprise, dozen after dozen coach loads of people were heading in the other direction. We could not understand they had paid so much money to see the midnight sun, when there was still an hour to go. And, yes, in case you were wondering, our watches were all set correctly. Upon arrival at the visitors centre, we went straight inside the front and then outside the rear of the building to see the the whole purpose of the trip – standing at the North Cape to see the midnight sun!!! The visitors centre both inside and outside was fairly busy with tourists, it was (obviously) broad daylight and a truly wonderful experience. Kate, meanwhile had refused the admission fee, did not go into the visitors centre but we retrospectively discovered she had found her way in by means still unknown to this day.

North Cape is, as mentioned on the island of Magerøya. To the Norwegians, it is known as Nordkapp. Its 307m cliff is considered to be the northernmost point in western Europe, 2102.3km from the North Pole. However, this is a bit of a misnomer because the neighbouring point Knivskjellodden is actually 1,457m further north. Moreover, both of these points are situated on an island, which means the northernmost point of mainland northern Europe is actually Kinnarodden (Cape Nordkinn), about 20km from the village of Mehamn. We did not get time to visit either of these two geographical locations, nor did we spot any lemmings falling from the 307m cliff. North Cape is the point where the Atlantic Ocean ends and the Arctic Ocean starts (or the other way round however you look at it). The North Cape was named by English explorer Richard Chancellor (1521-1556) in 1553 whilst searching for a northeast passage. In 1943, the battle of North Cape was fought in the Arctic Ocean off this cape. The road there opened in 1956.

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