If everything were to go according to plan, the distance wouldn’t actually be that long, but at Nordkapp or on the island of Magerøya, where Honningsvåg and the Kapp are located, the weather can sometimes turn out to be different from what you hope for in winter, and sadly, unexpected things often happen. And that’s what happened this time. Actually, we should have left at 9:25 am at -3° C and arrived in Saariselkä at 4 pm local time, but in fact, we needed three attempts to get from the island through the underwater tunnel (which was closed to traffic for a long time due to strong gusts at the southern entrance) back to the mainland. We would have been better to have left the third attempt well alone and perhaps should have spent one more night in the last hotel. But we thought we knew better and, of course, vastly underestimated the situation. We set off at -3° C at around 4 pm and got caught in a heavy snowstorm. Several cm of snow fell within minutes. There were snowdrifts on the E69 at the same time, caused by an increasingly severe storm coming in from the sea, which reduced visibility down to zero for long stretches of the journey until we reached the country’s interior. The unexpected happened even though we drove slowly: the vehicle in front of the group accidentally did a very quick little outback. After an hour in the middle of the snowstorm, the rear-guard recovered the vehicle with a rope. The helpers now looked like snowmen and had to continue their journey soaking wet in sub-zero temperatures. The heating was on full blast, so at least they were warm. Fortunately, no one was injured and the car was not damaged, so we could still continue our journey with the additional delay we were already experiencing. What made everything more difficult was that darkness had already set in again around 1 pm, which worsened our overall situation. Driving ever so slowly, the vanguard we had just recovered also got stuck in the snow while making an evasive manoeuvre. Again, help was needed, but a push was all that it took this time. So it wasn’t that bad, really. Along the way, we saw lots of vehicles in similar situations. Nature showed no mercy.
At some point, we reached the longed-for interior and from then on, everything went smoothly again, good weather, beautiful snow-covered roads, until two reindeer made themselves comfortable in the middle of the road just before our target location. We had to use all our skills to get from 100 km/h to 0 so that we didn’t have reindeer for dinner that evening. Sadly, due to the Covid regulations, the restaurants in Finland close at 8 pm, so we had to go to bed with rumbling stomachs. We finally reached Saariselkä at 1 am local time (again, a time difference of +1 hour).
We’re expecting another hearty buffet breakfast tomorrow, so we can fast for one night. Temperatures at our target location already in the double-digit minus range. Despite all the hitches on our journey today, our efforts were rewarded when we saw the Northern Lights multiple times, which quickly made us forget today’s ride. Tomorrow, we head for Tornio.