I was dreaming about this since my childhood, how I would stay at the very end of the land, facing the North Pole. For some reason I don’t want to stay in the North Pole itself, and minus 50 is not the reason.
While I was dreaming, it looked like Nordkapp slightly turned into the mainstream spot with big buses bringing crowds to the very end of the land. That’s what I heard. Probably, and I believe it, in the summer it’s exactly like that but not in the winter. Not at all. One local told me about a very special hour at midday in the middle of the winter at Nordkapp.
If one is lucky and the roads from Lakselv to Honningsvag and from Honningsvag to Nordkapp aren’t closed due to the weather conditions and the sky is clean, this lucky one will get a magic pink light for a short while.
It’s crucial to be there from the 22d of December till the 19th of January, when the sun doesn’t come up at all, the whole day is dark and in the afternoon you see the moon instead of sun. Sami people call this time Kaamos.
So on the 14th of January I put aside my snow shovelling device and hired a car to reach Nordkapp on 15th, my Birthday. Not a big deal to drive 400 km in the winter in darkness but Google maps couldn’t give an idea of what the hell was the last 120 km of the road..
Come on South Africans, nothing like potholes, but look at the map – from … this coastal road is the serpentine along the fiords, and it was the road, which often is closed in the winter due to the strong wind and snow. Stupid me, I was sure the real fiords were at the Norwegian sea… So this serpentine continues with a tiny thread between the islands. Just for your understanding –
a hilly narrow icy snowy slippery road with cliff on one side and drop to the Barents sea on the other was not a hell. I’m not sure if there was a barrier on the sea side, in the dark it looked like mostly not. The hell was ahead.
It was on this thread. The weather was not very good. In fact, it was closed the day before because of the snowstorm and it looked like this snowstorm was coming back.
Very strong wind came, I slowed down to 30 km/h to give my little Citroen a chance to stay on the road instead of flying to the Barrens ocean. Sometimes it seemed like it was just an aerodynamic tube. Yeah, no big difference, it was long bridges between islands… Jesus, you see nothing. Believe me, I am a very good driver. I was a motoring journalist, I was a test driver for the new models, I was driving while everybody was staying – this road in this weather in this season is the real hell. Oh I love it. I can’t remember any other time when I was so happy that the road ended. Jumped out of the longest tunnel and saw lights from the town. It was Honningsvag – the last town on the way to Nordkapp.
The Scandic of the same network gave me a good discount due to my Birthday. The information from local services and people about visiting Nordkapp in the winter is very different and mostly wrong. It’s a restricted area and all you should know is written on this billboard which is in front of the boom about 30 km from Honningsvag to Nordkapp.
It means if you drive your car, you should join the convoy at this boom. I was provided with the wrong time 11:30 like everyone else. It was the greatest luck! Remembering exciting driving from the night before, I started driving to the boom much earlier than needed, so I found myself at the boom a half an hour early, at 11:00. Right on time, written on the billboard! The others seemed to be late because they were provided with the wrong time. The boom closed behind my car and our convoy started moving.
It was snow plough in front, a 4×4 and me, that’s it. Everyone who would come after, should wait for an hour. In that hour Nordkapp was ours! Wind, freeze, desert for one hour. What happened in this hour? The pink light came up! So see photos.
The second convoy – a few buses and 10-20 cars arrived and I hope they still saw something. It was getting dark and cloudy. The 4×4 people – a couple from Holland – and me sat down at the cafeteria. We definitely needed to express our lucky chance of getting this very special magic hour, watching through the glass wall crowds of “tourists” who ran around trying to catch the last second of light, which wasn’t pink already because of clouds.
You can’t count on the Magic Hour when you visit Nordkapp but still you can hope. When traveling solo you can’t count on your Birthday cake, but it can happen. So my second thank of this day was for Anna and Bram for my magic Birthday cake!