Border town of Kirkenes

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We are spending two nights at a hotel in Kirkenes – so we have a full day to explore the town. Well that is if we stay in the city but we spend a good deal of the day driving up north east along the Russian border. So we are not back before the afternoon when we start to explore the town.

Main square in Kirkenes

The city is the biggest town anywhere near the Russian border so we figure there is something to see. The city wasn’t all that interesting – the town had been pretty much level to the ground during the second world war since it location close to the frontline with the Soviet union led Kirkenes to become the most bombed city in Norway. So every house in town has been built after the war finished and there isn’t a lot of charm in most of the buildings.

In the center of the city there is a large square – it seems like it is the main square in the city and there is a statue on the square in addition to many different old pictures which tells the story of life in and around Kirkenes back a century ago when the town really had a pioneer feels at the final frontier of the country.

Walking from the center we follow the water until we finally reach the end of the road where the famous Norwegian ferry Hurtigruten has its final terminal in the northeast of Norway.

View from the road in Kirkenes

As we walk along the harbor we see some reminders of the city location in the far northeast of the country where the climate can get very harsh during the winter – this is a bit difficult to imagine on a nice summer day but it certainly can snow up here. There are a collection of many cages used to catch the giant King crab which is the famous crab brought to these water by some Soviet scientist in the 1960s.

We pass by several snowmobiles which are storage for the moment – it looks like they may get some service as well so they will be ready for the winter snow which will come up here – maybe sooner than you can imagine.

Finally we reach the end of the road – it is literally the end of the road in Norway when you reach the ferry terminal. There is nowhere else to go from Kirkenes along the main highway. So we turn back.

Hurtigruten ferry terminal

On the way back to our hotel we pass a couple of memorials for the Second World War. The war did take its toll on the city with the location close to the front line which was heavily contested since the Soviet wanted to keep the important city of Murmansk safe as it was the only European city with an ice free port they had during the war.

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