North Cape Norway about 1892

North Cape Norway about 1892

NORTH CAPE NORWAY — Travel in Norway naturally divides itself in three sections; first, the drive through its mountainous interior; second, the exploration of its grand Fjords; and third, the voyage from Trondheim to the North Cape. This voyage in the fast excursion steamers which run two or three times a week during the summer months, occupies eight days for the round trip. It is a charming expedition, for only in few places need rough weather be feared, since for almost the entire distance the steamer glides along in smooth water between the coast of Norway and the long fringe of islands which serve for more than 1,000 miles as a break-water to protect the Norwegian shore from the billows of the North Atlantic. The North Cape is a most imposing promontory rising with gloomy almost perpendicular cliffs from the dark ocean at its base. It is in reality an island, stationed like a gigantic sentinel a little in advance, as if to guard the coast of Europe from the Arctic’s storms. The ascent is not dangerous, but very wearisome. On the summit a small granite monument has been erected to commemorate King Oscar’s visit to the Cape in 1873. Just before midnight rockets are fired from the steamer to warn such passengers as may then find themselves on the mountain to be on their guard. It is a never-to-be-forgotten moment when one stands upon this northern boundary of Europe, so near to, yet so far from the North Pole. And it is a unique and ever memorable experience when, as the hands of his watch point to twelve o’clock, the traveler gazes northward over the curving shoulder of the globe, and sees the Midnight Sun! This wonderful phenomenon of an endless day, with a brilliant sun at midnight, is visible from May 11th to July 30th; but practically for a much longer time in northern Norway there is no perceptible difference between night and day. (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)

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