The Arctic Circle Centre
66° 33’ N – We have entered the Arctic Circle!
After a long, long drive (as Piper likes to say), we finally reached the Arctic Circle Centre. We arrived pretty late, about 10pm, so it was pretty much a case of settling down for the evening and saving the exploring for the following day. The centre itself didn’t have too much going on, just a bunch of souvenirs and a café selling very pricey Reindeer burgers at about £18 a pop! But it was a key milestone point on our journey through Norway so it was a pretty cool place to be and now the kids have their own certificate to certify that they have crossed the arctic circle line. A pretty cool souvenir for them to hold on to.
The Lofoten Islands
The Lofoten Islands were absolutely stunning and if you are heading to Northern Norway then you must include them on your trip. We were really lucky that the sun shined for us the whole time and we found a beautiful, albeit busy little beach spot. It was a hot day, and it looked kind of tropical, but the water felt ice cold on our skin. We only managed to get waist deep and the water was so cold that it took our breath away! I suppose that’s what you can expect from arctic circle water though.
We spent my Birthday weekend on the island of Senja (Norway’s second largest island) and had such a great time. The first beach spot where we had intended to stay was absolutely jam-packed, but luckily enough just 10 minutes further down the road we found another stretch of beach that we were able to have all to ourselves! We played on the beach, made Jack his own sand hole, took a shell to add to our collection and then later in the evening we toasted marshmallows. I couldn’t have asked for a more idyllic birthday!
It may have taken a while, but the drive up to Nordkapp was utterly magnificient and we were treated to breath-taking scenery around each and every corner! The journey was made even that bit more interesting by the Reindeer that often strolled out into the road. Richard had the closest encounter with them as he reached for one’s antlers as it walked past the motorhome. Although Richard was quite pleased with himself, the Reindeer was most definitely not!
It cost us 570 NOK (£53) for us to get into the centre at Nordkapp and because it was 24-hour ticket, we stayed overnight, much like all the other motorhomes there. The centre itself was actually very good, with a cave of lights underground and a fantastic cinema showing a 15-minute film about life up here in the remote North of Norway. The winter especially looks very harsh! We just about stayed up to watch the midnight sun, a spectacular that isn’t all that spectacular since you wait until midnight just to watch the sun as it has looked pretty much all evening. But at least we can now say that we have seen the midnight sun, and it’s another tick off the bucket list!
Our second day in Finland and still well within the arctic circle, we took a visit to the Siida museum to learn a little bit more about the Sami people and their culture. A great place to visit and if you are in the north of Finland it’s definitely worth going since this is probably one of the only attractions around for miles! Richard tried his hand at authentic reindeer catching (well as authentic as you can get with a fake reindeer), but he didn’t quite manage to succeed. It was close though!
Santa Clause Village
Our final stop within the arctic circle was a very special one indeed as we spent 2 nights parked up at Santa Clause Village in Lapland! We took the kids to see the real Santa and he was absolutely amazing! The kids were a bit shy with Jack especially not quite knowing what to make of him, but we had a little chat and told Santa that we would be in our motorhome in Spain for Christmas this year. We also mentioned that we would leave some carrots on the roof for the Reindeer so he could find us, but he told us that Reindeer don’t actually eat carrots. So that’s that plan out of the window!