Country: Norway, Finland
Distance travelled: 168km
Weather: Sunny and warm
The heavy cloud cover of last night had cleared by the time we started back to Kirkenes, about midday, and the sun was shining warmly again. Yesterday’s washing was almost dry and I felt inspired to try to wash our towels in the portable machine. It is supposed to handle a load of about two or three kilos but how much does a soggy towel weigh?
We drove back to the service point in Kirkenes, filled up our fresh water tank, drained the now full grey water and parked in a corner of the nearby carpark. We were right beside the dock where the Hurtigruten ferry moors, Kirkenes being its last point of call before it begins the week long journey south again to Bergen. The afternoon was spent washing and surfing the internet, Kirkenes being one town where we were able to source a free network connection.
By 7pm most of the washing from the last two days was dry and the towels were drying rapidly. They were draped over a coat hanger and hung up inside. For the third time in two days we filled the fresh water tank and emptied the grey water and toilet cassette, ready to meet Finland.
It was 8pm as we rolled out of Kirkenes finally heading south. The constant daylight caused by being above the arctic circle creates an endless day making it hard to remember to stop traveling and the long blue hour means any scenery is generally in the best light for photography later in the evening. And the driving conditions are better too with less traffic and less sun glare, unless we are heading directly toward it.
Once over the border into Finland, it felt like we were driving through a huge Christmas tree farm. The soil had turned surprisingly sandy and as rumored, there were quite a number of lakes. Although definitely flatter than Norway (most of the world is flatter than Norway) Finland is definitely not as flat as the Netherlands. The further we drove, the thicker the trees became, although I could still catch glimpses of reindeer, this being herding country.
We had been eyeing off the selection of rest stops we passed, some very attractive spots with amenities, tables and in most cases a lake view. Finally deciding about 9pm to stop for dinner, there was now nowhere we could pull off the road. Eventually getting desperate, we pulled off at the next sign and stumbled onto a gem. We parked just up a tree’d rise from yet another lake in a quiet little cul-de-sac away from where anyone else would park. Absolutely perfect. While Mark cooked dinner, I stepped outside to take a photo and investigate the lake but the mozzies soon chased me in again. The evening seemed to grow darker with the tall trees surrounding us and a thickening cloud cover and for the first time in more than two weeks we turned on a light to dine by.