*This blog is about a trip I took last month.*
Eeva and I boogied on out of Finland, experiencing more lakes, birch, and lonely roads. Toward dinner, we saw it: the Norwegian border.
At each border crossing, there were signs to go very slow, about 15 mph, and there was a office building, but one doesn't have to stop the car unless someone comes out and waves. As a result, the only crossing I had to show my passport was on a layover in Germany on the flight home.
The wooden "bridge" in this picture was for snowmobiles and reindeer. Eeva drove the border again, and I walked the bridge. Again. All the way to Norway.
Before long, we were driving along the Neiden river. Friday and Saturday night we stayed in a Neiden camp grounds, or stua.
Because it was the weekend, and summer hours were over, there wasn't as much to do. Saturday, we drove to Kirkenes. We stopped at the museum there, but my contact wasn't in that day. So, we looked at the mittens, and then went on to downtown. We stopped at a tourist center, that was closed, the library, that was closed, and a Salvation Army, to buy a fleece after I left mine in Finland.
Kirkenes is the easternmost town in Norway. Russia is not far away at all. Before the trip, Eeva and I had talked of trying to do the border crossing during this visit. It turns out, Russia requires a $50 visa, obtainable only in Washington DC. We didn't want it that badly. Whenever we mentioned a border crossing to people in this town, they got noticeably tense. Not the nicest border crossing ever, I guess. Everywhere in this area were posted signs warning of Russian border control patroling within 100km, I believe. It felt very alien.
Instead of running the border, we ran to the NE corner of Norway, to put our toes in the Berings Sea. I'll try to link a map here. Click the "here" to connect. We drove the dirt road up to the Berings Sea and SOMEONE refused to take her socks and shoes off. Yes, it was windy and cold, but it was the Berings Sea, people. Here is a picture of the brave little foot that could.
The drive out was beautiful.