Honningsvåg, the North Cape, fish ice-cream & the Aurora Borealis

Day 20 – Tuesday 9/10

Each morning we woke up, to the slow rattle and roll of our beautiful ship, the MS Kong Harald pulling into port, we knew another incredible adventure was ahead of us. We chose to travel in Autumn, so the fact we had seen as much snow as what we had, was incredible. There were many hours where we would lay sideways in our bed and just stare out of our window, completely amazed by what we were looking at.

EUROPE - 7270It was hard to believe we had already reached day 5 of our trip. It seemed that this amazing adventure we had waited so long for, was going past so quickly. We wanted to embrace each and every moment and with relative whiplash looking from one side of Norway to the other, our eyes were drunk with beauty.

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Today was the day we would get to visit the North Cape, Nordkapp – the beautiful home to Honningsvåg. As awful as this is going to sound, the relief we felt when we were able to get off the ship and board an English-speaking bus away from the mass population of incredibly rude, pushy, eyes-for-Christmas people we had spent nearly a week within our small quarters, was invigorating!

Honestly, I think we had the best tour guide, he was so passionate and absolutely nothing on this Earth grabs my interest and inspires me than learning about a place from a local with stars in their eyes. It reminds me that although some people think that taking tours is not ‘authentic’ enough, I disagree with you completely. Having someone who loves where they are from, enough to share it with you is the epitome of travel and experience, really absorbing the location you are in.

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Nordkapp sits at latitude 71°10’21” N and safe to say it is the furthermost North I have ever been, or am likely to ever go! We knew that in terms of tourism, this particular location is known as a tourist trap, and it is expensive but it is beautiful. As I write this, I can see my beautiful Sami-made Christmas decoration on my tree and I have absolutely no issues with the cost we faced to visit this place. It was AMAZING. Our bus trip was around 30-45 minutes up the mountain to the visitor’s centre. We were still completely blown away to see snow wherever we looked.

Nordkapp was eye-opening and I would have loved to have spent more time in the Sami-district, but seeing as we only had a day in the area, that unfortunately was not an option. Grant and I made our way away from the crowd when we got off the bus – heading straight out to the point and avoiding the visitor centre and the actual monument. With hundreds of people up there, we preferred to enjoy the beautiful view, have a view moments without interruption and avoid the reality that it was definitely a tourist butterfly-net. It was worth it, completely. It was completely overwhelming to realise where we were, what we were experiencing and to try and imagine all of the people before us over hundreds of years who had visited the area.

We only had a short time in Nordkapp but I can honestly say, that as we exited the bus and headed back towards the ship, I was really dreading leaving such a beautiful place, the most northern place I had ever been to and one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen. I think our kisses at the most northern point of Europe would stay with us for quite a while!

EUROPE - 6669This was also a pretty terrible day to realise that although my boots were great for hiking, they were 100% inappropriate for ice, I cannot count how many times I nearly completely stacked it!

So, some fun facts about Nordkapp, which we were told by our incredible tour guide:

  • Nordkapp is not actually the northernmost point of Europe, the neighbouring Knivskjellodden is 1457m further north.
  • In approximately 1664, the first tourist was reported to have climbed the plateau, he was an Italian Priest and it took him more than two years to make his journey.
  • The first group travel was arranged in 1875 for 24 participants.

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This destination is certainly expensive but it is absolutely beautiful and I figured that if we were going to travel all that way, only to stay on the boat and not go on the journey, it would have been a missed opportunity.

The entrance fee is 275NOK, which is around $45AUD – you will pay more to go on an organised tour, but the climb is steep and the tour guide is a local and is passionate – so well worth it if you can afford it.

Once we made our way back down the mountain and back onto the ship for our final leg of our Hurtigruten journey we finally tried the Brown Cheese and Stockfish flavoured ice-cream on board the ship (unusual, but not all that unpleasant), rugged up with warm drinks and waited for our chance to see the Aurora Borealis.

I had already been asleep for an hour when G came and woke me up once they were showing, I had the wrong lens on the camera and was totally out of it. However, you can see my very very amateur shots below!

Thank you for reading my post! I am a Brisbane based creative and blogger. I do not receive payment for my blogging, and in the event, I have been gifted any products and items, I will always mention this. I live with my Husband, make hand-crafted household and personal eco-friendly items, accessories, and provide photographic services when requested.

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Travel Diary (Day 10) – Faroe Islands

Wow. Today was one of the most amazing days I have ever had travelling, it compares to that time in 2014 when I witnessed the sun rise over Machu Picchu. Today was challenging, exhausting, rewarding and hard to believe.

IMG_1951A little about how we found ourselves heading to the Faroe Islands (pronounced like ‘fair-row’ and not ‘fa-row’. When G and I started dating, we spent over a year in a long-distance relationship. We saw each other for one weekend per month, it was tough. We used to take turns in inspiring trust in the process with one another and beyond the thousands of text messages and hundreds of calls to one another, we used to send each other destinations we had found pictures of. To remind ourselves that all the sacrifice we were making, the time we were spending apart and the money we were setting aside, was for a purpose.

IMG_1736We were going to travel the world. We shared pictures of far-away places with one another, one picture in particular stood out to us. It was an incredible picture of a place called  Lake Sørvágsvatn/Leitisvatn (the name really depends on who you ask). This place is known as the ‘lake over the ocean’, I would be willing to bet you have seen at least one picture of this incredible place. Look we can all admit we have seen a picture on Pinterest or Facebook or Instagram and gone ‘Oh my god I am going there!!!!’. Here’s a tip for your bank account, make sure that place is not the Faroe Islands!

IMG_1919We started our morning with a drive out to see the incredible town of Gasadalur, the picture-perfect town which was unable to be reached by any means other than helicopter up until 2004. Generations of postmen had to hike above the mountain several times a week to deliver goods to the inhabitants of the area! We stopped at the little white building and the gravel path on the left, and then walked down the pathway. Until we found ourselves staring across at Gasadalur and the incredible Múlafossur Waterfall

which makes its way into the ocean. I have seen pictures of this serene spot during summer, but we were treated to something else entirely. The wind was so strong that it was licking the waterfall back up over itself and sending it high into the sky, it was absolutely beautiful.

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We then drove back through one of the infamous Faroese tunnels and headed to to Lake Leitisvatn, near to the airport on Vagar. This is the largest fresh water lake in the Faroe Islands and it is absolutely incredible. We were there for a purpose and that was the hike to Bøsdalafossur.

Okay, so the actual ‘lake-above-the-ocean’ Bøsdalafossur is an optical illusion and it ‘allegedly’ takes 45 minutes to hike. To be clear, Grant and I are tall. We have long legs, we walk pretty quickly. So I would like to call B*llshit on the ’45 minute walking time’. We walked in rain which was going sideways, making way for others whose backsides were covered in  mud – they had obviously come undone in the slush!

Note for all: do NOT walk the path which looks worn, it is slippery, sludgey and dangerous. Falling over is all fun and games until you are on the sort of incline where such a fall could result in you toppling over the side! Where you can, look for the rocks, or the grass. Stick to the path in general but maybe one or two footsteps to the side, just to be safe.

The hike was rough, mostly because we had decided to segway our trip over to the Bøsdalafossur waterfall, as it was storming at the time, the cliffs were incredible, we were using each others body weight to try to stay vertical!

Bøsdalafossur flows from the lake Sørvagstan and into the Atlantic Ocean, it is 30m high and the views from this vantage point are astronomical and well-worth our goat-trek out to the area.

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The optical illusion is best seen from Traelanipan, which is very steep, so even though those photographs you have seen are something else, please be careful. We saw one couple going all out with their selfie-stick and they were much too close to the edge. Great photo, if you live to post it I suppose!

So, how to get to these beautiful islands?

You can fly either from Edinburgh in the UK, or from Bergen/Copenhagen in Nordic countries. You can also get there directly from Iceland. We flew from Copenhagen and then returned via Copenhagen to Bergen on our way back. If you wish to take your own car then there are many cruises which operate from many countries, just keep in mind that in poor weather, they are unable to dock so you may be out of luck in that respect.

Considering everything we saw and how many km’s we had once we returned our hire car, I doubt very much that this will be my last post on the Faroe Islands! For now though, I shall let you go, please enjoy the following shots!

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Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post, however some of the links in my blog posts may be affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click-through and make a purchase.

I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

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x C x

Travel Diary (Day 8)- Faroe Islands

Day 9 – Friday 28/9

Waking up and knowing that you are heading to a magical land you stumbled across through Pinterest five years ago, is to say the least, a little overwhelming.

As excited as we both were, we really had no idea what our expectations should be or what we would be coming across. We knew that the weather for most of our trip was likely to be rain-filled, windy and cold. So to some degree we were prepared for that (side note: jeans, as fond as Aussies are of them, are not technically wet/warm-weather pants), other than that we had no idea what would be awaiting us.

We caught a cab from our hostel to the Copenhagen Central train station, as neither of us really felt like hauling our packs there. Once we were at the station it was all pretty straight-forward and just like that, we were on our journey to Vágar Airport, Faroe Islands. The flight was only two hours, Atlantic Airways has movies available on their internal and free Wi-Fi which is always appreciated! I made a terrible choice and watched a movie about an elderly couple, one of whom has Alzheimer’s and the other terminal cancer. Grant watched a comedy and his thoughts were “why are you crying? Always go dumb with the movie Courtney. Always”. I’ll admit it, there was far too much crying on that plane.

As our plane came in for landing and we spotted many of the Faroe Islands our of our window, we were nearly jumping from our seats. Flying into the Faroes is other-worldly, it is honestly like nothing you have ever seen before. Or in our case, will ever see again.

Getting off the plane was easy, getting the keys to our hire car was easy – there was just one problem. My international sim did not work there. Grant had bought a SIM card at the Copenhagen airport as well as the top-up credit, with the assurance (yet disdain) that it would work by the cashier. Yet here we were, in the Faroes with absolutely no reception. Thankfully I managed to feed offa servo’s Wi-Fi as G bought us very bizarre drinks (my request admittedly) which tasted like Guinness cola soda (but in a bad way, not a good way). So after a few back and forthcoming we found our Air BnB in Tórshavn.

Our Air BnB absolutely blew away any expectations we had, it was gorgeous, local to everything and had anything you could possibly need. Relief. Pure relief after our bare-as-bones hostel stay the two nights before.

It was a converted area on the bottom floor of our hosts home. We had a separate bedroom, laundry, wet room, tv with Apple TV and a courtyard. The kitchen was fully equipped and it just felt like home. For three nights we paid around $600 Australian and our host had left some local fruit and biscuits and locally brewed beer as well. It was just lovely.

It was getting on in the day so we went and spent a small fortune on a grocery shop, came home, had a few drinks and watched tv. The little comforts. We also started planning our Faroe Island attack for the next couple of days.

I was still coughing and generally being gross (seriously a holiday tradition of mine is to be a germ-riddled pain in the arse. So Grant slept in the lounge room, which is so unfair for him. He’s such a gentleman, honestly if it was me I would have kicked me out to the lounge room.

It was hard to believe we were finally here, this little place we had only dreamt of, changed our plans for and squirrelled away an extra amount of money which would make your eyes water to get there!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post, however some of the links in my blog posts may be affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x