Day 16 From Ifjord to Kirkenes

A cold, wet, miserable morning but a beautiful warm shower. It may be a very basic camp, but these places are better than the pristine, modern ones where you usually get a token which provides you with just a few minutes of hot water. Unlimited hot water, over which you have complete control – bliss!

We have left the E6 for a shorter route on a minor road. The 83k from Ifjord to Tana Bru was stunning. We climbed high at first and the lakes were still thick with ice, as yet unmelted. Bleak and remote, but with a beauty of its own. As we decended the silver birch trees were just coming into leaf. One never knows what to expect around the next corner. We rounded one steep bend to find a skier on the road in front of us. He looked rather odd, but was actually on roller skis. Going down was fine, but there were some very steep climbs. Not sure how he coped with those.

There are settlements dotted about but no sign of any people. The country seems absolutely deserted, other than the odd car passing us on the road. The houses must be heated by wood fires, but no smoke is coming from any chimneys. Surely they don’t think it’s too warm for heating? I also wonder what these people do for an income in these godforsaken places. There is a little agriculture, but not much. There are no signs of the traditional Sami way of life.  No reindeer herds and no small fishing industry. In fact the Sami culture is pretty invisible. Apart from a token individual in Sami traditional dress, with a reindeer tethered nearby, for the satisfaction of a bus load of tourists, we have seen little evidence of the Sami people.

Having planned to spend a day in Kirkenes catching up – mainly with washing, we have arrived at the only campsite to find it closed! We’ve camped here anyway. It has running water and we are self sufficient with everything else. Whether or not we will get any washing dry will remain to be seen!

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