I participate in a small writing group and each of us set a goal for 2020. I’m counting on these women to hold me accountable to my goal of publishing a blog post once a month! Random subjects, deep thoughts, shallow ramblings and travel stories. I’m starting with a travel memory. People often ask me when we return from a trip “What was you favorite part of the trip?” In the moment I come up with the easy answer, then later think, “Well, that was a boring answer.”
Giving some thought to our recent trip to Norway and Scotland, I kept coming back to one particular day that wasn’t filled with rolling hills in shades of green, dramatic fjords, icy Arctic scenes with the midnight sun shining on icy islands in the North Sea. This was a not a picture postcard day, but the memory sticks with me.
The excursion to the North Cape (Nordkapp) of Norway was described in the cruise line brochure as one of the highlights of our cruise. We were to visit the steep cliff on the northern coast of Mageroya Island. Anticipating dramatic views from the flat mountain plateau where we would view the Barents Sea, we bounced along in our fancy motorcoach to the northernmost point in Europe that can be accessed by car. This is what we were looking forward to experiencing.
Skies were overcast as we left the port of Honnigsvag and the weather became increasingly gray and foggy as we headed north. Rain began, not a torrent but enough to obscure the view of the Norwegian countryside. Enough rain that I could watch the “raindrop races” on the window for amusement because we couldn’t see farther than a few feet beyond the glass. By the time we reached Nordkapp the weather was at Nasty Stage. Wind gusts blew us into each other and turned umbrellas inside out. A driving rain made the run from the coach to the tourist center a northern adventure like a scene from a disaster movie.
After warming up a bit in the tourist center we ventured outside to catch the view. A “view” obscured by heavy fog – the plateau was located above the cloud base. We looked for the huge metal globe that marked the best viewing spot. Nope, nothing but gray cotton candy surrounding us. Following close behind other tourists we did make it to the globe and fought off as many people as we could to get our picture taken in that famous spot. If the Barents Sea was below us, we couldn’t see it. Dramatic cliffs? Only on the postcards in the shop.
It is a favorite memory because we made the best of something we couldn’t control. Inside the tourist center was the BEST gift shop of the trip. I loved wandering the aisles along with several busloads of other damp, musty smelling international tourists. The center had educational displays and movies – we visited them all. With hot cups of coffee in our hands we posed for pictures with trolls.
This adventure is now the one I share when asked about my favorite part of this trip, I believe it was because the pace slowed down. The fog and mist were eery. We seemed cocooned by the fog on the top of the world. Our pace slowed down. We were relaxed and having fun and, for once, did not get back to the ship exhausted by sensory overload. I’m thankful we were able to press “Pause” for a day.