Echos from the past

(this post went missing after publishing it. weird. luckily I had a backup…)

Odo: 286612
Location: north of Vardo, Norway
Distant contact, probably submerged.
It's a wild guess, but I'd say we hit a boomer coming out of the barn.
Could be a missile boat out of Polijarny.
 -- Seaman Jones

I remember watching the movie and looking up the place afterwards. Polijarny is the fjord leading to Murmansk, “the” northern harbor of the russian navy. A weird place far off in the north and east. At the moment it’s about 200km south-east of my position…

Murmansk is home to the fictional Red October as well as the quite real Kursk and some other typhoon/akula class submarines. The glory of the cold war, 175m in length, 380MW nuclear power plants, 48000 tons displacement moving at 50km/h submerged due to a whopping 100000 hp engine(s). It can stay under water for around 120 days and it’s mission is to stay hidden under the artic icecap until somebody hits the button to launch it’s 20 R-39 Rif Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. Each of these 84 ton monsters can carry 10 MIRV warheads for a distance of around 8000km.

Minuteman_III_MIRV_path.svg


MIRV stages thx to wikipedia (look there for further description as well). In short: Launch a bundle of warheads to space and then let them drop on different targets.

It’s nuclear payload sums up to 20*10*200kt=40000 kt (kilotons) of TNT equivalent. Thats 3077 times hiroshima (13kt). No kidding. Or to put it in another relation: All (conventional) bombs thrown in WWII are estimated to a total of 2 Megatons. So one typhoon equals about 20 times WWII. Six typhoons were build so we end up with 120 times WWII / 18462 times hiroshima. And that’s only one kind of ship and one type of missile not speaking of land based stuff…

Luckily this era is over and both the subs and the missiles are decomissioned by now. What remains is this weird feeling of the amount of manpower and resources put to waste to scare the shit out of “the enemy”. Probably just enough to end all wars on earth and get everybody well fed. Nah, who would do that if there’s the possibility to fly to the moon and build weapons to kill every human being on the planet many times over? (yes, the moon rockets, the ICBMs and almost any large rocket of the times came from the team of the nazi / later US national hero SS Sturmbannführer Wernher von Braun. He let concentration camp workers build V2 rockets just at the doorstep of my hometown and was never trialed for his crimes which make me want to puke everytime I think about it).

1, 2 or 3…

Odo: 286571
Location: Southern tip of the Tana Fjord
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Norway is scenic for sure...

Finally I did some research about the North Cape. I knew that there are two: The touristy one and the “real” one a couple of km away from the touristy one. That reminds me of the arctic circle somehow, even though the capes don’t really move that much… Today I learned that there’s a third: Since the latter two are on the same ISLAND the most northern point of Europe is actually the Nordkinn, more than 100km east. My first impulse is to go the there. According to the interwebs it’s a rough hike of 24km one-way.  Some do it in two days many take three. There’s nobody around, no cellphone reception at all and it can get so misty that you have to resort to GPS / compass navigation. The weather can change any minute, I’ve got no tent, no decent sleeping bag and no decent backpack. And I have still not fully recovered from the cold. I’m afraid that’s too many reasons against going there. I could life/improvise with the crappy gear but the idea of “twist an ankle and you’re dead” is not really tempting. One of the disadvantages of travelling alone. Besides, I guess the place isn’t that special anyways.

So I’ll probably go for the other two capes since they are close by anyways. The touristy one should be accessible without leaving the car and the other one is 7km one way hike if I looked up the right track. We’ll see….

The east of Norway

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The nature over here is much more scenic than in the south of scandinavia, they got mountains as well as “real” ocean with waves and everything, not so boring as the baltic sea. Since Norway is not a member of the EU they make their own laws for importing stuff so the amounts of for example alcohol to import tax-free is ridiculous. They consider beer to have max 4.7 percent of alcohol. Pilsener has 4.9 to 5.1 so it goes in the vine category which means you are allowed to bring 3 (in words: three) liters per person. “Luckily” there is not much beer left after almost two months of travelling so I wasn’t tempted to become a smuggler…

I’m still not fully recovered from having a cold but I feel more or less alright. Slow days, plenty of reading and short walks. I met a nice german traveller, visited Vadso, Vardo and Hamningberg. Yesterday I saw kickass northern lights and will hopefully soon edit these (and the ones from oulu) and upload them At the moment I’m on my way back to head up north the Tana river to finally arrive at the only more or less fixed destination of this journey: The North cape.

Getting online was tricky as well arriving in the least populated area in the country on a saturday evening. SIM Cards are not sold everywhere like in the rest of scandinavia, you have to go to a special shop. After some asking around I found the shop in the city/island of Vardo, 2000 inhabitants. The number of choices of different prepaid options over here was exactly one and you have to say your name but show no passport. Norwegians have to register the SIM card with their personal identification number from their passport. The SIM I got is for phoning and not internet so traffic is expensive. Around 50c/MB. But there’s a cap on daily costs at 10 crownes (1,3€). There is a traffic limit of 100MB/day as well. So in the end I have got 3GB/month for almost 40€ delivered in a weird way. At least it works reasonably well, I’m north of Vadso in a quite remote area and still have reception…

Santa’s own gas station

Ho, ho, ho! It's time to get jolly on your naughty asses! -- Robot Santa

Well this was actually even more boring than I thought it would be. Here we see Santa’s village photographed from his gas station. He charges three cent more than any other surrounding business.

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On the other side is Santa’s own military training ground where his fighter pilots train low altitude flying & maneuvering. I’m no expert on this but from where the plane was, where the sound came from and the pain level in my ear I would guess Santa has clearance for supersonic flying as well.

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The village itself is just as expected. Gift shops everywhere, a PA system polluting the air with Christmas Music, tourists and last but not least “the” arctic circle. A line drawn on the ground. Tourists taking pictures while they are stepping over, balancing on or cartwheeling over it.

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66something degrees?! That’s an odd number for a fixed line you might wonder? Weeell… Yes! The arctic circle is basically drawn where the sun doesn’t set for 24h on midsummer. Since the orbit of the earth around the sun is changing every year the arctic circle is moving as well (look up “ecliptic” if you want to know more). Last year it was at 66 33′ 44″ for example. That’s just a couple of minutes of DRIVING away from this line… Some countries just post a sign every year so that you can see the line moving but since nobody wants to move the tourist trap every year they just lie to the tourists. So if you encounter a “I was standing on the arctic circle” picture on the next family event please be jackass enough to ruin the moment. Especially if your folks went up from rovaniemi and directly south again because then they haven’t been in the arctic region at all. Haha…

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The real artic circle. Not even a parking spot. Sorry for the crappy pic, I was concentrating on driving…

 

Anyways, I found Santas Office but he was out for lunch or whatever. I was thinking too much about robot santa after seeing the fighter plane so I guessed that I don’t take the chance that he exists and wants to chastise me. I have been a bad boy…

recovering…

Location: Rovaniemi / Finland
Odo: 285610

Sick days as usual. Fever came, fever went. Reading, internet, sleeping. I drove away from the playground and found a nice place on a dam.

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After about 30 hours an employee of a power company came by. At first I was a little scared because he looked exactly like Jack Bauer and I was not really in the condition the safe the world. He told me that I was on private ground which is not for camping and that he would appreciate me leaving within three hours. The second time I was sent away on this trip. And in a really nice way to say the least. I should have taken a picture of him…

The last two nights I stayed at a parking lot near SantaSport (Spa + Sports Hotel) and tomorrow I’ll cross the polar circle and pay a short visit to the biggest tourist trap around: Santa’s own village. I was told that local tourism students have to serve there as elves for one week as a practical experience. I somehow got the hunch that this may mean that elves are not real which would lead to suspicion if Santa maybe is a lie. I guess I’ve to investigate further. Maybe I can shed some light into this conspiracy…

That pretty well sums it up…

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thx to weknowmemes.com for this one

 

Actually it’s changing between both pictures from time to time. I’ve almost finished “a feast for crows” and by coincidence found out that there’s another volume seeing it standing on Eva’s desk. I bought the the bundle of the first four (e)books and thought that’s it. Seems like I really suck at being a fanboy 🙂

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I had more scenic places to spend the night. The field seems more or less abandoned , loggers and street builders use it as temporary parking for trucks and machinery so I stopped here when I found nothing decent to stay.

 

Sometimes you win, sometimes you loose…

I'm not in the condition to fuck! -- KaLeu Philipp Thomsen

Me neither. Not even in the condition to find a decent quote or write something jolly. But at least I had a nice piece of ASS for breakfast. What I am trying to say with this weird wordplay? Probably not what you thought of. I was neither drunk yesterday nor did anything sexually happen.

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A champinions breakfast: Strong coffee and anti headache pills. Acetylsalicylic acid (short ASA, the magic behind Aspirin). Since the German word for Acid is “Säure” the abbreviation becomes ASS… The cup is copyright by nichtlustig.de

I just caught a cold and I’m feeling miserable. Sore throat, plenty of snot, the usual. The night was cold, I slept about four hours and my breath is condensing while I’m writing this. Ten degrees in the morning sun and still about 1000km to the northern cape. What I’m I doing here? I could be in Spain or Portugal right now. Or in Hannover. The forecast says 31 degrees for Thursday in Hannover…

On the lucky side I don’t have a fever and the van warms up nicely if I turn on the heating. I guess the 11kg gas bottle will last until I reach Norway and then I’ve to see weather I can get it refilled there (tricky because of a different connections systems) or if I have to retrofit the gas system of the van while I’m running on the 5kg spare bottle.

I guess this is one of the times where you/I just have to push through. It’s no use heading for Germany yet because I would hate me for that and the summer over there is at an end too. I want to see the beauty of Lapland and stand on the northern cape. I don’t now why or what but something drags me there. There’s only one way to find out. But before that I have to wait until noon for Lidl and the sonera shop to open up to stock up on food and broadband traffic. Yep, shops are open on sundays in Finland as well.