I made a trip to the Arctic Circle in 2008. I was 65 then. I joined a tour organised by ‘Cosmos’. It was a group comprising 24 members, a youngish looking French Tour Director and a Norwegian coach driver with one of the most impressive set of moustaches that I have seen.
The French Tour Director (left) & the Norwegian coach driver (right)
I took a flight upto Helsinki in Finland. From there I took an overnight train journey to Roveniemi, reaching just short of the start of the Arctic Circle. The Group assembled at Roveniemi.
I was apprehensive about travelling to the Arctic Circle alone, but meeting the other members of the Group put me at ease. they were all very friendly. The most interesting part was that there were six other Indians- three ladies and three gentlemen in this Group. They were all senior medical doctors from Pune- one was an orthopedic surgeon, a Medicine M.D., another a cardiac expert, a gynecologist, a paedetrician and an anesthetic. To make it into a full functional hospital, there was a serving nurse of Polish origin from the USA . Needless to say that I felt very much at ease.
We entered the arctic circle above Rovenieami in Finland and then drove up to Norway. The highlight of the trip was spending of the midnight of 21st June at Nordkapp in Norway. From Finland we crossed into Norway visa Ivalo and visited the fascinating Sami Park. Then our bus moved further into Norway and along the beautiful Porsangen Fjord to Honningsvog on the island of Mageroya, home to 4,000 people and 5,000 reindeer. At midnight we, drove to the North Cape, Europe’s last northern outpost, on a sheer cliff rising 304 metres (1,000 feet) from the Atlantic Ocean. It is in the Arctic Circle. The Arctic Circle is the imaginary line on the surface of the Earth, which marks the northern latitude north of which the sun does not rise on the winter solstice or set on the summer solstice.
This North Cape driving tour is a very unique experience during the summer as one gets to see the Midnight Sun, and during winters when one can witness the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) .The most popular Scandinavian location for travelers to experience the natural phenomenon of the Midnight Sun is the North Cape (Nordkapp) in Norway. Known as the northermost point in Europe, at the North Cape there are 76 days (from May 14 – July 30) of proper midnight sun and an additional few days with partial sun before and after.
The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon found in latitudes north of the Arctic Circle (as well as south of the Antarctic Circle), where the sun is visible at the local midnight. With adequate weather conditions, the sun is visible for full 24 hours a day. This is great for travelers planning long days outdoors, as there will be sufficient light for outdoor activities around the clock!
I realised that I was under prepared for the place. The thick jacket, cap, muffler and gloves were just not enough – not to speak of the cotton khakhi trousers and sports shoes that I was wearing.
This ‘selfie’ was taken by me as no tourist was willing to take any one else’s photo in that incredibly windy cold midnight. The wind was so fierce that it was not possible to stand still at one place. You clearly can see tremendous discomfort on my face. Smiling for the photo was just out of question.
All these photos were taken past midnight on the night of 21st-22nd June 2008.
Six years have passed. Nowat 70+ I want to go to the Arctic Circle again- this time to see the celestial display of Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).
Would anyone be willing to join me on sharing the expenses arrangement?
Nordkapp website: http:// http://www.nordkapp.no/en/attractions-and-activities
Finnish railways website: http://www.vr.fi/en/index.html
(Text with inputs from the internet)
Photos, text and copyright: K.J.S.Chatrath
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