1st August 2016. Arctic Circle Centre, Norway.

It was raining when we woke up.  We were having breakfast when a man turned up in a tractor with a verge cutting blade on it.  He set up his ‘Man at Work for 2 km’ sign then set off to cut the verge.  We were still there after he’d cut the verges on both sides of the road so he went off again.  When he came back a second time we decided we’d better leave so he could do the lay by.

It was a really miserable day and we were having a huge downer on Norway.  We decided we were going to make our way back to Sweden when we came to the next road that went East.

Things did start to improve slightly when the heavy rain stopped and we found a beautiful place to pull over for a break.  The lay-by looked down across a fjord and there was a heavy mist hanging over the mountains, it kept moving revealing new views of the mountains.

After we’d stretched our legs we pootled off.

We passed some beautiful scenery as we carried on with our journey but when the rain returned the grumps descended on us yet again.

We needed a stopover before we reached any roads going East and the ställplats I chose from one of our books unintentionally changed our feelings completely.  It turned out to be the car park of the Arctic Circle Centre which was extremely exciting to us, it was a superb surprise, definitely a mood lifter!

After we’d parked the van we went into the Arctic Circle Centre thinking it would be full of information about the Arctic Circle but it was actually a beautifully designed building made to house a shop to siphon money from tourists!  It did, however, have lots of stuffed animals from the Arctic dotted around the building (Carole and Dave, we’ve now seen an Arctic Hare too, albeit a stuffed one!  When we were in Finland in 2011 our friend Dave said he’d just glimpsed an Arctic Hare, we scanned the area but unfortunately all we saw were its paw prints in the snow, what a tease!)

We had a plate of very expensive chips and a refillable coffee in the restaurant before buying ice cream because you MUST eat ice cream at the Arctic Circle, it’s the law!  The young man serving us was rather surprised to hear we wanted ice cream, obviously it’s a seasonal thing.

The waiter was very sweet we’d put our coats on when we went up to pay for the ice cream so he suggested we filled some takeaway cups so that we could have our refill.

He also told us that one of the girls that worked with him was from Ireland.  It made us wonder how you go about applying for a job at the Arctic Circle Centre.

We climbed up to the top of one of the hillocks behind the Centre after taking our photos in front of the marble plinth outside the entrance to the Centre along with every other tourist, no doubt.

The top of the hillock was filled with mini stone cairns which visitors had made and signed.  We walked further on to another hillock and made another little rock pile next to one someone else had previously made.  It was a lovely (if chilly) end to the day.

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