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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars


Norway - 9 June, 2004



Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Aboard the MS Narvik (Hurtigruten northbound from Bergen to Kirkenes - Day 7) . . 0 meters .
Kirkenes N60º23.117' E005º18.949' 22 meters 2,250 km
Storskog (border with Russia) . . . .
Kirkenes N60º23.117' E005º18.949' 22 meters 2,250 km
Vadsø . . . .
Ekkerøy (and Sandflåget) . . . .
Vadsø . . . .
Finish Vestre Jakobselv, Finnmark (camp site) N70º07.184' E029º19.809' 14 meters 266 km

Total (BMW 330CiC)

5,752 km

Total (other):

4,120 km


9,872 km


Weather: In the morning mostly cloudy with the occasional short rain shower.  In the afternoon partly cloudy, with occasional sun and occasional showers.  Windy and cool/cold (6-9°C).  In the evening mostly clear and sunny.



We are up at 8 AM and go and have some breakfast before returning to our cabin to finish packing up our stuff and getting ready for our arrival in Kirkenes.  This is where we will be leaving the ship and beginning our long journey back down the length of Norway.  The ship arrives pretty much on time at 10 AM in the northern town of Kirkenes.


As our cabin is on the car deck, it is pretty simple for us to carry our stuff to our car, which is right where we left it 7 days ago.  It is right at the back, closely surrounded by other cars, so we are not even able to load our bags into the boot.  We have to wait for everyone else to load up their cars and drive off.


But soon it is our turn and we load up our stuff and drive up to and on the elevator platform.  It jolts it way upwards and we drive off on the other side, back onto solid land.  After a few adjustments on the pier, we are ready to begin our road trip through Norway.


Our first destination, we have decided, will be the Russian border at Storskog.  It is about a twenty minute drive away, to the east.  There is nothing much there, but we must now be just about as far east as one can go in Norway.  In fact, at this point we are further east than Istanbul.  We make a quick stop at the souvenir shop - the lady that runs the shop may even be Russian.  She speaks both Norwegian and Russian (English and who knows what else) fluently.  The shop is full of things imported from Russia, along with a few native Norwegian items.  After spending some time in the shop, there is nothing much else to do, so we head back to Kirkenes.


Back in Kirkenes we shop for food and petrol and then it is time to head on as we begin our long drive south. 


Our first goal is to find a place to have a picnic lunch.  And it takes us only 25 minutes to find a nice spot on the fjord - it is very nicely set up with picnic tables and a wind and rain proof shelter.  And with the wind that is blowing off the water, it is a nice place to make our sandwiches.  Once we have made them, we can then go out and enjoy the view while having our lunch. Before we leave, we also check out their toilets - nice and clean with no bad smells.  We think we will enjoy traveling here.


We head on shortly after 1 PM and it takes us a bit over two hours to drive around the Varangerfjord to get to Vadsø.  Vadsø is known as the Capital of the Finns - but it is a very small village in a vast area.  We are only stopping here at this stage to check out the information office - we want to find out about some of the sights and where the campsites are located.  The two people manning the office are very friendly.  They give us good tips and they are also willing to call the various campsites and see if they are open for the season.  In the end, only one is open, a short drive back on the road we just came on.


So, rather than drive all the way to Vardø and Hamningsberg, or initial goal, we decide to just go as far as Ekkerøy and it's bird nesting site.  It is a short drive away - only ten minutes.  And what a place - we had lots of fun here.  We park our car near the small fishing village of Ekkerøy and then begin our walk up to Sandflåget.


In addition to the birds that Sandflåget is famous for, the whole place is dotted with tunnels, ammo dumps and bunkers built by the Germans during the Second World War - this location was very strategic, including a view across the bay to Russia.  The buildings and superstructures are pretty much all gone, but we just had to make sure we did not fall into one of the bunkers while keeping our eyes on the thousands of birds nesting here.


And there are thousands of pairs here and we are able to get up and pretty close to them.  We stay far enough back not to disturb them, but close enough to get some excellent views (and photos, we hope).  Kittywakes, black-backed gulls, black guillemots, auks and several other species make their home here.


We just loved sitting there and watching all the couples hanging out in their nests that cling to the cliff face.  Once in a while one would fly off, and we could see others returning to their partners.  It was a noisy place, with the birds screeching and crying out.


We were only chased away when a few drops of rain began to fall.  We slowly made our way back along the top of the hill down to our parked car.  Once back at our car, the rain began to fall in heavy wind driven sheets.  But it was only a brief rain fall.  we then went to go and check out some of the fish racks where the fishermen hang their catch of cod out to dry.  These are a regular sight in this part of Norway - we will be seeing many more.


It was now time to head back - we drive back to Vadsø.  Once in Vadsø, we take a quick look at a number of sights, in particular the old mooring mast located on Vadsøy Island used by Roald Amundsen's airship "Norge" in 1926 and also by Umberto Nobile's "Italia" in 1928.  There were important polar expeditions carried out by these explorers.


We then went in search of a place for dinner - this town is pretty quiet after 5 PM and we had a bit of a struggle, but in the end we were successful.  It was a simple, but filling meal.  The penne with pesto sauce was a bit strange with the shredded roast chicken, but we guessed that was the local touch.  Then it was time to go and find our campsite.


We retraced our steps a short way to Vestre Jakobselv, where we found a campsite where we rented a cabin for the night.  This must have been one of the better deals we had on the whole trip.  It was a large cabin with all the required facilities and equipment - four beds, stove, fridge, dishes, cooking pots, kettle and cheese slicer.  If only we had known, we would have prepared our own dinner.  It them became our plan to do just this in the future to save some money (eating out in Norway is horribly expensive).  We relax for the rest of the evening and work on our journals.  We also plot out our route for the next few days.


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