Woken up by the first air plane landing of this Wednesday morning, we are ready to head to Vadso centre and meet the Vake crew. All the teams are gathering at the main hotel : easy to find with all the gears, sledges, etc… spread all over the street.
First, we meet the Swedish/Slovenian team. Then the guys from Czech Republic who drove 3000km in their van to join the race (we are nothing with our 1600km). They have home-made sledges built in melted plastic. Rough finitions but quite nice work. Another team from Sweden comes with a traditional wooden sledge… beautiful! The Russians have also a home-made one, with a huge bag on top…. which looks quite heavy. Well, it’s pretty interesting to see how each of us have prepared gears for the race…
Bus transfer is arranged and takes us to the village of Tana, where we meet the organization and get the first race briefing. From there, we join the local Norwegian teams and jump on the bus for a 2 hours drive to the fishing town of Berlevåg, at the far north end of the Varanger plateau… and one of the northest point of Europe.
We quickly get into the mountains and up on the plateau. It’s basically one huge white area, as far as our eyes can see. And we are going to kite across it ! 🙂 A few cabins are spread there and there, and used by the reindeers owners. Thousands of them are bred on the plateau.
Then reaching the north end, white turns into dark blue-grey of the Barents sea, with aggressive cliffs falling into it. Next piece of hard ground is about 1200 km north, where Greenland starts.
Berlevåg is a fishing village, but in one of the roughest place in the world. Cold, windy, but extremely rich in fishes and other seafood. Whales are often seen from the shore, but we won’t get this lucky today. Instead, we are offered to set up our gears and sleeping bags on the floor of the town cinema where we will spend the night. Wake up call will be at 6.30am, but most of the teams are still working on their equipment late in the night…
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