02 July 2010

Midsummer and Midnight Sun

Midsummer as the Scandinavians call it, is the longest day of the year…what we as kids mugged by as the Summer Solstice. I was lucky to be in Finland this year…cause this day makes sense in these northern countries. From where we come, its just a day in the geography text book. Here its a festival!!! They celebrate this day as the beginning of Summer, of their vacations, of the time to wake up fully from the cold, cold winter and just enjoy the Sun.

route I decided to visit Nordkapp or North Cape @ 71o 10’ 21” to experience the Midnight Sun. Considered to be the northernmost point of Europe – I say considered because actually the northernmost point is Knivskjellodden which is about 1.5 kms more north of this, but this is the more touristy one, better marketed – just the entrance to the cliff costs 215NOK (which is about 30 euros). Anyways it attracts people from all over the world for its spectacular beauty. Its a cape right on top of Norway on a small island called Mageroya …a steep cliff overlooking the  Norwegian Sea.  Check out the Google Map…that was supposed to be our route, though we got a bit lost and went into Sweden….not that I regret that. But more details on the trip in another blog.

This blog is about MIDNIGHT SUN. Several conversations I have had made me realize that people have misunderstood the word Midnight Sun. Many people asked me if I captured it on camera. Earlier also people had told me to …take snaps of midnight sun for us. 

Well…I didn’t…because its not a moment that we can really capture unless we take snaps regularly for a couple of hours from the same point, same angle etc etc…  Its an experience. As the word suggests, it is NOT about seeing the sun at midnight. You can see that right through the Summer even in Oulu!!!!

Its the experience that the SUN DOESNOT SET. So over a period of 3 hours or so you can see the sun gradually setting and then without actually setting it will start rising again!

And about clicking photographs...even if I do click a snap, it might as well be a snap taken in the afternoon...there is no way to distinguish whether the snap was taken in the afternoon or in the midle of the night...it looks just the same.

It’s beautiful to see sunsets over the sea…anywhere in the world. So it would have been wonderful to have this experience in Nordkapp. But the normal weather conditions there are foggy so chances of experiencing Midnight sun there are rare. And that is what happened when we reached. It was raining and very, very foggy.

My trip mates were very disappointed. I wasn’t…because the previous day we had got lost and while driving through Sweden around 1:30 AM, I had told my trip mates…do you realize that the sun didn't set and has started rising again. And this is, I think, the few times in my life that I haven't regretted that I am just not able to sleep unless conditions are favorable (read..dark night, nice cozy bed, soft pillow). While some of them slept peacefully, I as wide awake staring out of the window when I realized that I had just experienced the MIDNIGHT SUN!!!

1 comment:

Venkat H said...

Neat. For once you were happy being awake at night and you seem to have enjoyed it fully. :)