Near the Russian border!
This morning we reach our turning point of the voyage: Kirkenes. This remote town has a nearby border with Russia and it certainly feels like Siberia today. As we disembark our ship we are told it is minus 12. Later the temperature reaches minus 27! This is perfect weather to go Husky dog sledding so lots of us head off to the Gabba Reindeer Park. Here we can visit the Snow Hotel and see the elaborate ice and snow carvings. None of us are tempted to check-in for the night however. Many join the Husky dog sleds. Each sled has a team of eight dogs and carries two guests plus an experienced musher. Off we go at great speed around a beautiful lake. The dogs are keen to run! We also visit the dog yard where the kennels are situated. Some dogs are resting today so we can go and say hello. They are so friendly and Dawn tries (yet again) to smuggle one home.
Just before we head back to our ship one of our guests discovers they are missing a glove. We retrace our steps to see if has been dropped in the snow only to find one of the dogs enjoying a new "toy". Sadly the glove now has only 4 fingers and no thumb. Whoops.
With the FINNMARKEN now heading south, our next stop is a small town called Vardo, actually the eastern most Norwegian settlement. It is further east than Istanbul. In Vardo you are able to go swimming in the sea. It is, of course, rather chilly if you do so. On previous visits some of our guests have joined in, but this time we all decide to walk to the nearby Fort instead!
To conclude the evening, our ship crew enrol some of us to compete, once again!, in waving to a rival ship. This time we are passing another big ship, the TROLLFJORD, so the competition is a closer call. As we approach each other the ship's spotlights seem to dance with each other and then alongside we shout and wave. The Trollfjord will probably claim a victory as a lot of their guests were out on deck, but at least we had balloons.