Nordkapp trip part VIII: Riga-Gdansk-Girona

Finally we had the car repaired and managed to leave Riga to go to Poland, of course we would go through Lituania but after spending so much time in Riga it was impossible to go to Vilnius. We basically drove in the night (yes, it was back).

We arrived to Gdansk next morning and we stayed at Marcelina’s, in there we didn’t go many tourists attractions as we were mainly with the locals and basically doing nothing.

Concrete light post. Will not break, ever.

Finally it was time to go back home after having spent 15 days, 6139 km and many places I can’t wait to explore more deeply soon.


Nordkapp trip part VII: Riga

I was expecting Latvia to be similar to Estonia but nothing further from the truth. Those are completely different countries and Riga and Tallinn are two cities with a very different atmosphere. For what I saw in both cities, Riga has had more Soviet and Russian influence than Tallinn and is like nothing I have seen before.

Old vs. Modern Riga

On one side there are the old Soviet blocks in the suburbs of the city where most people live and on the other side there is the old town and city center with some soviet buildings such as what is now the market, buildings originally design to serve as a zeppelin base and another building which is an exact replica of one in Moscow.

Generally Latvians are not very fond of Russians (as all Russia’s neighboring countries) and that has been source of conflict in the past years as a big majority of the population is from Russian origin as Latvia was a very important industrial center during the Soviet times.

We planned to stay in Riga one day only, but turned out to be three as the car broke down trying to leave the town. Luckily that didn’t happen in Lapland as finding a single person was a difficult task and we had our host, Kiril. We met him through Couch Surfing and let us stay more days than planned due the inconvenience. He showed us around the town and the best places to eat and drink (really cheap, specially compared to Denmark).

Typical soviet blocks

Handwritten numbers in the elevator

As I said we were lucky to have Kiril to show as around the old town, the first thing he explained is that, the bus, is free (well, kind of) so we headed to the old town. The independence monument, apparently is an old Latvian goddess holding three stars symbolizing each region of Latvia.

Latvia’s independence monument

Orthodox cathedral

In contrast with the Scandinavian countries, Riga has an old style Opera house


Nordkapp trip part VI: Tallinn

We arrived to Tallinn late at night with the ferry and proceeded to go to the hostel we had booked which is called The Monk’s Bunk, to describe it shortly I must say that is perfect, great atmosphere, brand new hostel, affordable with cozy common room and great kitchen, the only bad thing is that we couldn’t stay there for the three nights we ended up spending in the city.

After checking in to the hostel we went to do what Tallinn is most known for, partying. The city has great nightlife as Finns and Russian’s, as well as other nationalities, travel there for tourism and a bit of drinking. We visited quite a few bars and pubs and the one that a visitor in Tallinn can’t miss is the Embassy Bar & Lounge (Väike-Karja 1) with a great selection of special shots that are completely worth trying.

On the night life part it is also very interesting to join the Tallin Backpacker pubcrawl where you can meet random people and get to know the classic bars of the town.

Disabled war vet

Next day we took the walking tour around the city which is given for free by the local toursit office, that gives a chance to be shown around the city and besides learning historical facts our guide told the group a lot about the every day life of the city and country as well as how the regarded the polititians (whis is the same way as all the other countries in Europe) and in general what was going in the city.

Orthodox Cathedral

Besides drinking, good eating places are also found in Tallinn, our favourite, in where we spent a lot of money is the III Dragon in the old city hall, besides the medieval age atmosphere of the place where the women serving are wearing costumes the food and beer is good for a nice price, they serve a variety of cakes (mosse, apple and other kinds) as well as a very tasy moose soup for which you have to sing a song if you want a spoon to  eat it. But don’t forget Kompressor (Rataskaevu, 3) where you can find amazing pancakes big enough for a good brunch after a typical Tallinn night.

The best eating place in Tallinn

Our everyday meal

In general Tallinn is a very nice medieval city where you would spend a lot of time walking around the cobbled streets, it doesn’t have a specific thing that makes it special but there’s something that charms you from the first minute you set a foot in the old part of the city.

As it was written in the blackboard of the Monk’s Bunk “If you’re bored of Tallin, you’re bored of life”


Nordkapp trip part V: Nordkapp-Helsinki

Basically Nordkapp is a really cold and windy place. But also beautiful, as I said we arrived there late at “night” and I was surprised that there were so many tourists at that time of the day but lately I figured out that they were all there to see the midnight sun, a fact that we didn’t care about anymore after being so many days up north. It is quite funny to see a tourist area so far north, with its own post office, souvenir shop, various restaurants and cinema where they showed a movie about nordkapp that we didn’t bother seeing.

View of Nordkapp

Group photo in parallel 71º N

Grzeg and I on top of the world

Our first idea was to stay for the night in Nordkapp but after while it was too cold and as it was daylight we decided to drive to Finland straight away, so we drove with our sunglasses on at 3 am and up to -3º outside not knowing if the sun was setting or raising we drove until we were too tired too continue and that’s what happened in the following to days as we arrived to Tallin barely 48h after being in Nordkapp.

Driving from Nordkapp, stunning landscapes.

Even though we didn’t see much of Finland we stopped in Santa’s village in Rovaniemi which I hope in winter looks better because in summer looked quite pathetic… But overall is quite similar to Sweden as the only thing you can see is trees everywhere, and also mosquitoes, as I slept outside the tent I woke up with half a face swollen by thousand bites of those small bastards, luckily that would heal really soon.

View in Rovaniemi

Polar circle, again.

In Helsinki we just took a walk round the town as we had to get on the ferry to Tallin the same day but it had a nice atmosphere, nothing like I had seen before, here you can really tell that Finland has nothing to do with scandinavia.


Going to Tallin

So far we had driven 4998km


Nordkapp trip part IV: Jokkmokk-Nordkapp

It must be said that Swedish landscape is quite boring, mainly trees and trees, and yes, of course some more trees. Luckily we would leave Sweden soon and drive back into Norway.

Still in Sweden

Little by Little, we can see that the trees are smaller as we drive north and the outside temperature gets lower. We stop in Alta, I think the last “big” city we’ll see in Norway and we fill the tank and have dinner, there’s a beautiful fjord but the wind is blowing and it is freezing so we pack fast and keep driving. The road gets worse and worse as the terrain is really hilly, to reach Ponsargerfjord we still have to drive through a mountain pass. Up there no trees grow at all and there patches of snow all year long I presume, there’s only grass and land where lots of reindeers graze. I can’t imagine anyone leaving there but some cabins can be seen now and then, but I can’t stop thinking is that there is nothing there, totally empty lands…

Empty lands

Now the temperature was around 3ºC and it is the end of June, I can’t imagine how that must be in winter. After we went down we reached the sea again and drove along the road along the sea, it is a very narrow, twisting and turning road which makes it quite difficult to drive on. Every now and then there are some fishing villages and some wooden structures to dry the fish on, I guess there are no other things to live on here as I can’t even see sheeps.

We drive through some long tunnels but the funny thing comes when we find that signYes, almost 7km of tunnel, it is more fun when we see other warning signs stating that there is 8% slope inside the tunnel and that there might be fog in it. Inside it Laura becomes extremely happy as it is the darkest we’ve been in many days. We drive outside the tunnel and we discover there’s a toll where we have to pay for the car and for every one of us… bastards…

Then we reach Honningsvåg which is definetely a lost village in the north, what is surprising is that 3 big cruise ships are in the harbour, then we realize that it is all tourists going to Nordkapp with buses carried in the ships. We continue driving and we reach the Nordkapp, and our surprise is that, of course, we should pay again as there is a kind of museum and cinema where they show probably shitty movies, as we come from so far we decide to pay and go in. Now I can say it is the end of the world, there is nothing northern than that parallel 71º and being 23h is still quite sunny.

Myself and the midnight sun in the Northernmost part of Europe

Still fucking cold and windy…


Nordkapp Trip part III: Kjerrag-Jokkmokk

After visiting a part of Norway’s west coast it was time to drive all the way to Nordkapp, that would take 3 “nights” as it wasn’t getting dark at all. The first stop was set to Rauland where Laura had arranged couch surfing.

On our way to Rauland we drove through stunning landscapes as we got used since we arrived in Norway with mountains, lakes and the southermost reindeer population of Europe (where we didn’t see any raindeer), the roads there are small and going through many hills and two cars couldn’t fit, but with patience we made it to our meeting point in the gas station in Rauland.

Southermost reindeer population in Europe

Rauland is a very small village in Telemark, we met Aliona in the gas station and drove to their place, it was a challange to fit one more person in the car as most of us were carrying quite a few items for a two-week trip. Once there her flatmate Vlad was waiting for us and cooking an incredibily tasty Ucranian soup that we ate outside with great weather. We were hosted in a very cozy and beautiful cabin typical from Norway and ours hosts showed us the village. It must be the perfect place to relax for a while but after some time one might get bored, there was a magnificient lake that could be skied in winter.

Our hosts in Raunland next to their house

Next morning we woke up early as we had to sleep in Trondheim in the couch of a friend of a guy working with Grzeg. So we took the road to Trondheim through Oslo wich was supposed to be the best road in Norway, the inner part of Norway was quite boring compared to the west coast with the fjords and cliffs but it also had some nice parts with mountains and waterfalls as weel as in the mountain passes where we saw a couple of mooses from far away.

At the end of the day we made it to Trondheim where Shaggy hosted us, we just had dinner and went to sleep early as we were quite tired from the day and the next one was going to be the same, 10 hours in the car more or less.

As the roads in Norway are not quite good we decided to drive through Sweden as it’s not as hilly as the neighbooring country, the roads there are wide and good and as there’s literally noone around (some times we didn’t see anyone for some hours) we could speed.

Everything is yellow and blue in Sweden

In the middle of nowhere

Raindeer, we would get tired of seeing those.

After endless hours of driving we crossed the Polar circle and camped some kilometers after Jokkmokk (Yes, it also is a product from IKEA) and we made a bonefire, Grzeg and I considered going to hunt some reindeers but as it was getting dark we thought it was better to stay.

So far north we could clearly see the midnight sun as at 1am it looked like in was still the afternoon so far we had driven 2627km in 5 days.

The guys and the hosts in Rauland

We expected to reach Nordkapp next day.


Nordkapp trip Part II: Preikestolen-Kjerrag

After seeing the Preikestolen we headed to Lysebotn which is a village at the end of the Lysenfjorn, the main access to that village is through the ferry but we took a mountain road to get there. On the way it was fucking freezing and on the mountain lakes there were quite big pieces of ice, to me this was quite shocking as it was supposed to be summer. The road we took was built by the electric company who operates a hydroelectric turbine in the fjord, here is were we saw the first crazy Norwegian tunnel which was wide enough for one car only and had a harpin bend inside the tunnel, besides that there were 27 other bends so you can imagine it was quite a steep road.

Frozen lake on our way to Lysebotn

In Lysebotn there are only few buildings; the docks, a camping and some hostels and everything was very expensive, in the only bar of the village a hamburguer with fries was 180 NOK which It must be around 25€… So we decided to stick with the food we brought from Denmark. We camped in a really nice spot near a waterfall where there was wood to make a fire.


The four of us plus The Orange


Ferry arriving to Lysebotn

The campsite in Lysebotn

Our campsite in Lysebotn

Next day we packed and drove up the road to Kjerrag, this mountains are amazing, from the erosion the top of the mountains are relatively flat with cliffs droping up to a 1000m to the fjord, is one of the best places of the world to do B.A.S.E. jumping and we had the opportunity to see these guys in action.

While in Preikestolen or any cliffs I hadn’t been afraid of the heights being on the top of this rock was really scary as it is like is floating and just stucked in between to cliffs to fall any time as you can appreciate in the pictures.

Me on the famous rock in Kjerrag

It was quite a steep path

The guys on the top of the world

We could see the base jumpers jumping from the left cliff

It was a tiring walk

After going down the mountain we started driving to Rauland where we had arranged CouchSurfing to spend the night.