Tysfjord to Skibotn

Trip Start May 01, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Norway  , North Norway,
Sunday, July 19, 2009

We had another car ferry ride early on in our drive Northeast to Skibotn today. We then made a quick stop at Narvik, a port of high importance during WW2 as it was necessary for the Germans to transport iron ore from Sweden during winter when the other ports used for this froze over.

We stopped at a petrol station/shop called 'Tiger Butikk'...which I think is meant to be Norwegian for Boutique, but pronouncing it as buttock was much funnier. I also noticed some interesting Norwegian names for pick n mix lollies...marshmallows were called 'Tea Rød', those hard boiled lollies with a sugary coating were called 'Crazy Crisps' and Banana shaped/flavoured lollies coated in chocolate were called 'Skumbananer'!

Later in the day we stopped in at the Polar Zoo, the worlds northern most zoo. We saw a Wolverine, some large large brown bears and some baby bears, an albino one called salt and a brown one called pepper being fed. We also saw an Arctic Fox, a Wolf, Red Deer and Mountain Goats, and I got to feed a hungry Moose that came right up to the fence in search of lunch.

In the evening at our campsite we participated in a polar plunge...going swimming north of the arctic circle! I think the small crowd of others watching us thought we needed a check up from the neck up as it was mighty cold, but it was a bit of fun. Fortunately there was a bridge to jump into the river from, which I think made it easier as it gets it over and done with rather than easing yourself in. I can't explain how cold that water was...freezing doesn't even come close! The instant I touched the water I felt like I was unable to do anything...I couldn't breath in or out and I couldn't yell out expletives, but fortunately I managed to swim back to the side of the river! Good to say I've done it, but I doubt I'll ever do it again!
We followed this up with a hot sauna, and it was like heaven after being in the chilly waters of the river. The thermometer on the wall said the temperature was 80 degrees Celsius, but we were a bit skeptical of that - surely death would ensue before then!? Either way it was still hot, and breathing in deeply really hurt your nose, and touching your hair made it feel like it was on fire!

Tonight we roasted Tea Røds over a bonfire and played cricket until nearly midnight with the home made cricket bat (fashioned from old pieces of wood and duct tape, and dubbed the Viking 3000) - a great way to end a great day!
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