Hammerfest. Grey. Industrial. Early in the morning. The city is very silent. The people disembarking from the Hurtigruten slowly dissolve into the dawn. A big oil facility has been pulling people here. To the north.
We walk to the city entrance and start to thumb. No sign. Just one road. We can feel that there will not be many cars but since its very early in the morning I rely on the chance that somebody is leaving the place for some longer distance. And after 3 or 4 cars passing one car comes from the other direction, turns around at our place and stops for us. The family of three had seen us and decided to turn around to give us a ride. They come from the middle east, living in Norway since some time, the teenage daughter who is accompanying them lives in Germany but stays here for a holiday (that she does not enjoy). We talk in English and in German, they are all very friendly and when the driver stops for a break I am offered a cigarette. They go to Finland to do some shopping and take us to Olderfjord, 78km. Driving through the hilly lands covered with snow and old golden grass the sun rises in front of us and shines on mother earth, it is a beautiful sight. With an excuse that they are not able to take us any further because our paths split they let us out at a crossroad. From here it’s around 120km to Skarsvag, the northernmost fishertown in the world maybe. We know that we are close. And we know that traffic has decreased even another step.
Since standing around does not get us anywhere we slowly start to walk north. We enjoy the fjords and the sun that is breaking through the clouds every now and then. Every ten or fifteen minutes a car passes, but nobody seems to go very far since they al show us by pointing their finger downwards that they are from around. After a while er enter an abandoned house next to the road and search it for interesting things. From there I brought a button that I gave to Dani when I arrived back in Vienna. It has an inscription on it “må man være to” but I don’t know what it might mean. Later Dani translated it for me and it means something like “one must be two” or “two must be one”. It shows a girl riding an old bike. I think it is a perfect gift for her.
Several kilometers of walking later a camper van slows down passing us. About a hundred meters after that it stops, then drives backwards. We cheer inside of us. Inside a guy sits with his daughter and her friend. I can’t recall the name of any of them. I only remember that they were very calm. He wants to take us to Honnigsvag, 13km from the north cape. On our way we talk a lot about many things, also about them going in the campervan for many kilometers through Norway and Finland. They are going to Honnigsvag for the girls to meet old classmates that are at the marine school there now. After a few stops because of Reindeer and Eagles we see along the road and a lot of staring at cliffs that drop into the ocean topped with snowy whip cream we arrive. The girls jump out and head for the guys to play football and we have a look at some Kings Crabs that are chilling in the harbour water. The driver makes coffee for us and we have a cigarette and show him our path on the map. He likes it very much.
After the coffee he offers to drive us further north since he anyway has to wait for his girls and has not been up here since he visited one girlfriend here like many years ago. Gladly we jump into the car and roll on. Its a 5 ton camper van, equipped with anything you can imagine. A real cruiser. This way we rolled north, a small road that winds itself through the rocky and snowy hills. Looking left and right you can only see snow and ice until the cliffs drop into the sea. Its one finger on which we are riding, the road as a vein and we as the blood. North. Further north.
Arriving in Skarsvag the driver also suggests to drive us to the Cape with the next convoy but we politely decline. It would not be the same to go there with a car as to go there on foot. And we want to go there on foot. Here a somewhat interesting turn of event began for us. Here, so close to our main goal, we will find the beginning of an end. Not the end of our road but of something else. But first we jump out at Skarsvag, get some information on the weather and start walking towards the first sleeping place mentioned in the hitchwiki. It is a communal space, a small hut that is set up and kept by the locals. On our way there we climbed over a small hill and descended to the coast behind the village. We found ourselves in a fjord looking at the “Horn of the North Cape”, sitting on a huge stone arc that was created through thousands or maybe millions of years. After enjoying a cigarette we continued down at the shore towards the hut, jumping from stone to stone, admiring the stone structures and the crab shells, seashells, snail shells and sea urchin skeletons that were dropped by the seagulls and eagles over the winter and washed onto the coast.
At the hut a family was preparing a barbecue. For real. It was beginning of spring, there was enough snow for it to count as winter in Vienna, the temperatures were around +5 degree Celsius and they gathered in their free time to make a campfire, stick sausages into the fire for hotdogs and drink tea. The north is definitely different.
We were offered to join them and even received some coffee and hotdogs. The father of the family reminded me very much of Mihail in Romania, he had the same glowing eyes, the same pearcing look and a similar charisma. He had been a fisher but now its getting to dangerous for him. Its easy to make a years salary in two months, but with the downside of people drowning and others loosing themself to alcohol and gambling. Still, there is a series of several months of complete darkness. Nothing for the faint-harted.
When another one on a snowscooter arrived they convinced him to bring us to the second hut that is more suited for sleeping and also because the locals talked about partying at the hut we were at that night so they recommended to go to the other place to have some quiet time. Jumping onto the sledge of the snowscooter was – in my opinion – the most dangerous ride we had on all our journey. The guy was very good at driving the scooter but several times we were nearly thrown off the sledge going around 40-50 km/h because of the bumps or the drifting on the frozen lake that he was so fond of.
Still we arrived safely at the hut that was several hundred meters from the road so nothing would disturb us through the night. Still shaking from the adrenaline of the ride we entered a beautiful but also damaged hut. The stove was not working since the floor was broken through moisture but we prepared the bed to be able to sleep in it and had our two sleeping bags so everything was fine. We lit some candles and enjoyed the time we had together. I was full of joy. I knew that in the next morning we would start walking to the North Cape. Through the snow. About 10 km. Weather conditions unknown. Further plans unknown. Like a rope-dancer balancing with the knowledge that there are 3 more steps until falling. My heart was beating. I was so close. But somehow I was not able to share that with Sarah. And it didn’t feel like she could share that with me.
In my opinion the travellog should stop here. If we reached the North Cape finally? What happened in the next morning? What happened in the following weeks? I don’t know if I will write it down.