Friday, December 9, 2011

Ends of the Earth -- Destination #6: Honningsvag, Norway


If I had the means to visit the ends of the Earth, here are the ten places I would visit.
What ten "ends of the Earth" places would you like to visit? Leave me a comment.

Destination #6 : Honningsvag, Norway

Honningsvag, Norway is the first destination on this list reachable by cruise ship, and for some reason, I imagine Honningsvag to be a lot like Barrow, Alaska – minus the English speakers. The current population of Honningsvag is around 2300, and the area itself has had humans roaming around it for at least the past 10,000 years.

An Alaskan cruise is fun, but the two main cruise route options are the Inner Passage and the Gulf of Alaska. Both options don’t take you all that far north. Although I haven’t gotten out the ruler, I’m guessing that Honningsvag is about 700 miles further north than, say, Anchorage, because 700 miles is the approximate distance between Anchorage and Barrow. In other words, a Norwegian cruise may be a lot like an Alaskan cruise, but it goes a lot farther north -- deep into the Arctic Circle itself. Honningsvag claims the right as the Earth's northern-most city, although Barrow disputes the claim.

From what I can tell, Honningsvag makes Barrow seem like a metropolis, and I wonder what there is to do in Honningsvag while in port. On the Alaskan cruise, for example, we had a stop in Haines and elected not to take one of the ship’s planned excursions. As a result, we just walked around town, but the town wasn’t developed for tourism, to say the least. One of the highlights on our stroll around town was visiting the local hardware store, and trust me, it wasn’t all that thrilling.

Part of the thrill of visiting the ends of the Earth, though, is dealing with the fact that there sometimes may be nothing to do there. If I were going alone, I would use the experience to collect my thoughts, to write, or just to read a book. If I were going with someone else, I would use the experience just to share a collected experience. 

My wife and I didn’t exactly enjoy our visit to Haines, Alaska, for example, but it has value in that experienced it together.

A two-week Norwegian cruise that goes all the way up the coast to Honnigsvag may run around $1700 per person. I’m sure that there may be other ports in Norway more worth a visit, but Honnigsvag has value for simply being the end of the line. And according to tripadvisor, the Corner CafĂ© (rated #1 of 1) serves pretty good pizza, as well as a full “English breakfast.”

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