This was a day that had a little of everything: an early morning fender bender, crossing the Arctic Circle, our first moose and reindeer, Lapland, snow-covered mountains in the distance, and Narvik (Norway) just around the corner.Although we are going to miss the Midnight Sun phenomenon, it’s pretty surreal as is. Looking out of the van this morning, 12:45am, and I could read if I could get my eyes focusing at that time of the morning. A pretty disruptive evening it turned out to be, as we were woken by a titanic thunderstorm around 4:00am. Fortunately it was still light (hmmm) so getting around the van to close vents and windows proved easy. As the rain bucketed down with increasing intensity, and we were parked on a sandy pan, Niki’s advice was to move the van to the (official) parking area, which I did while she was still in bed. Lots of comments could be made about the van equivalent of backseat driver, but I need her.
Shortly after we decided to get up, get our waste water disposed of, and start on a 7 hour drive. Parking at the waste water spot, a drain in the road, I hear Niki shouting, look up, and see another camper van embedded in the front passenger fender. Heart dropped, blood pressure rose, took a 30 second walk before returning to speak to our new friend Peder. Long story short: The van is fine to drive, Niki was absolutely fantastic at a) finding a Fiat dealer (closed for holidays) b) contacting our insurance c) contacting Peder’s insurance d) contacting our insurance – you get the communication issues involved. Anyway, we’ll have the van sorted out in Oslo when Niki and I are away in the UK at the end of September. Until then, I think other vans will just give me a little leeway, just in case. Having had only limited dealings with insurance in the past, I was more than a little concerned. Not at all, so here’s a big Thank You to Anders at the Fiat dealer in Pitea, and the folks at TCS Insurance, who were marvellous!!
So after the 30+C days we’ve been having, the rain seems to have cooled things down, and then some. Lovely 22C drive up to Kiruna, and are currently parked at the entrance to a national park, right on the E10 heading to Narvik. Absolutely stunning river flowing past and, for the first time, mosquitos. Looking westwards, the land rises (think Swiss hills before the foothills before the mountains) and remnant snow covers large swathes – Niki is going to be having the ‘time for the duvet, it’s winter’ chat soon.
Fridge is now packed for Norway, although I think there’s a little more space in the top right corner…
Oh – and anything that needs mosquito machines like this seems to say: Stay Covered!
Looking forward to giving a bit more background to the towns and sights, which I’ll be able to do when we get to Norway, which will, hopefully, provide some local colour.