We arrived at the ferry port in Tallin, Estonia, midday, having reluctantly left our beautiful campsite on the sea. With the help of a couple people we found the ticket booth for the ferry, which was leaving in about two hours. We queued up in a line for motorcycles, which ended up with about 50 motorcycles awaiting to board the ferry.
There had been a car show for American cars in town for the weekend. In the queues around us were several great looking cars from the 60’s and 70’s, all headed back home to Finland.
With our bike lashed securely on board, we went up on the deck for the quick two hour crossing.
Many of the bikes on board were biker clubs out for the weekend. Getting off the boat and riding out of town was quite chaotic. Seems all the bikes and hotrods needed to be the first out of town.
We were headed west out of Helsinki toward the small town of Porvoo. We found a campground south of town and camped all by ourselves, except for the several woman walking around in just towels after their showers.
Heading to the downtown area to find something to eat along the waterfront proved futile. Everything was closed Sunday evening. We had seen a McDonald’s on the way into town, so of we went to get a cheeseburger, and a cheeseburger without cheese for Melanie.
In the town of Porvoo is a small 13th century Lutheran cathedral that was made of wood, before the stone walls were added in the 1400’s. In Finland, 85% of the population is Lutheran. We talked to a tour guide that was very interested in our trip, then let us listen in on the history of the church.
As we were leaving, a couple came over to talk with us. They were from Helsinki and were in town for the day and had seen or bike. After talking a while, they invited us down to the old town square for a coffee and snack. Of course, we accepted.
Jussi and Riikka are both fantastic people and we hit it off immediately. We stayed and talked for a couple hours. It was wonderful. I hope we will make it back to Helsinki some day to see them again, or meet somewhere in the world.
For the next 5 days we would be riding north thru Finland. There are two very distinct areas of Finland. Finland and Lapland. As we got to the north the terrain changed and we started seeing Reindeer.
The south and western side of Finland is the Lakes area. There were many cabins along the 100’s of lakes in this large area. We were told that about 20% of Fins own a holiday cabin on a lake in this area. Campgrounds were plentiful and the weather was cool and windy. It made us wonder what was awaiting us, 1600 kms to the north, at Nordkapp.
As we entered Lapland the trees had started to thin. We were headed to the Arctic circle and to just north of the city of Rovaniemi. This is the European home of Santa Claus, which was located on the Arctic circle.
After seeing the touristy area and letting Santa know to send a letter to our granddaughter, Lucy, we left.
Our grandson, Caleb, had received a letter from Santa after our ride to Alaska a couple years ago. Pointing the front tire toward Nordkapp the route was flat and fairly treeless. Nordkapp is the northern most place in Europe you can drive to, over 700 kms (420 miles) north of the Arctic circle.
The traffic was light, so we pushed forward with a couple longer days of riding. The nights were just getting dim as the sun was not setting the further north we rode.
Crossing into Sweden briefly we soon crossed into Norway and found a campsite south of Alta.
The campsite was inexpensive, but had a surprise waiting for us.
There was a large tipi/tent set-up in the campground. Inside was a center fire pit. Surrounding the fire pit were benches with Reindeer skins on top of them. At 8pm, the 80 year old owner of the campground started a fire inside. Hanging near the opening in the top of the tipi was a chain reaching down to just above the fire. The fire starter proceeded to fill an old fire-blackened kettle with water and just the correct amount of ground coffee.
Hooking the kettle on the chain above the blazing fire he made coffee for his guests. One by one the campers showed up, alcohol in one hand and an empty coffee cup in the other. Travelers from many different countries and cultures all sat in a circle surrounding the fire talking and enjoying each other’s company. Two hours with these world ambassadors passed way to quickly. It was another fantastic evening.
As we rode toward the coast the next morning, the scenery changed again.
The mountains and fjords became the norm for our ride toward Nordkapp. Amazingly, there are signs reminding drivers to pay attention to the roads as the fantastic scenery had the tendency to distract even the most attentive of drivers.
Finding a nice campground just south of Nordkapp, on the edge of a fjord, we set-up camp.
The day was perfect. The skies were a perfect cloudless blue.
I wanted to get a picture of the midday sun and return at night for the much sought after photo of the Midnight Sun glowing through the globe.
At midnight the place was packed with no less than 14 buses in the parking area.
Finding the perfect place for my photo, I snapped the most amazing photo of the Midnight Sun from Nordkapp.
Bucket list item, check.