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To the Roof of Europe

We had agreed to meet Kate back at the car at a set time. She hadn’t turned up. My brother was tired from all the driving, so after half an hours or so wait at 01:30am, we left her there. She reappeared at the campsite 3-4 hours later after hitching a lift from a German coach party returning from the visitors centre. Opposite the campsite was what appeared to be a largely empty hotel. We wondered where all the visitors at North Cape had appeared from, with the obvious conclusion that they were shepherded off and back on to the cruise ships. It was a bit crazy to think that they had paid thousands of pounds more than us only to experience exactly the same sight – the midnight sun not setting over the sea at Norway’s North Cape. It was now very late, so we snuggled up in our sleeping bags with face masks on to get a good “nights” sleep.

The next day, we headed for the city of Honningsvåg. Honningsvåg claims to be the northernmost city in Norway and even the world. It is situated at a bay on the southern side of Magerøya island. It is a port of call for cruise ships, especially in the summer months. People inhabited this area as far back as 10,300 years ago. This part of the Barents Sea provides plenty of fish although these days tourism is a key player to local sustenance. Honningsvåg’s notable resident was not actually a person but a dog named Bamse, which in Norwegian means “teddy bear”. It lived from 1937-1944 and was a St Bernard that became the heroic mascot of the Free Norwegian Freedom during WWII. Bamse was bought in Oslo and at an early age taken to sea. Bamse was enrolled as an official crew member on the coastal patrol vessel, Thorodd. Bamse lifted the morale of the ship’s crew. In battle, he would stand on the front gun tower of the boat and the crew made him a special metal helmet. His heroic actions included:

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