You might have read the first and second part on our quite crazy road trip to the Nordkapp in a small Smart Fortwo, which is now nearly 17years old.
Well, what goes up must come down and we had to come back home again. While planning the trip we had three options. Number one would have been to drive the way we came. Number 2 would be the route through Norway. This would have been a beautiful ride back home and an expensive one. We opted for number three which I will tell you all about in this third and last blogpost.
After achieving our first and really the most important task on our road trip it was time to start the journey back home again.
We left Honningsvåg with a teardrop in our eye. On the first day back home, we had to drive back the road we came as it´s practically the only road up there. First stop was a city in Finland called Levi. It is a skiing resort near Kittilä. We had booked a hotel with Spa and swimming bath, which was a welcome change and very relaxing. Unfortunately, there was not much to do otherwise and even most of the restaurants were closed down already as the skiing season was over. We ended up at the Burger King fast food restaurant, which essentially was all that was open. The next morning after breakfast, we had a bit of a shock moment. Walking to the car my wife noticed a cake plate sized puddle underneath the engine of the Smart. Both being trained car mechanics found out quickly that it was cooling water. Damn it is Saturday, we are in the middle of nowhere and our car is leaking cooling water. Ok, ok. Calm down. We need a workshop to jack the car and take a closer inspection. I went to the hotel reception and kindly asked for help. The girl at the reception was very helpful and even made the phone call for us. The workshop was only 3 km away, so we drove very cautiously and waited patiently for the mechanic to arrive. After all, it was Saturday. About half an hour later, he arrived. A young finish guy. We explained the problem we had and asked for help. It turned out he had never seen a Smart before and wanted to check the engine at the front of the car. Well, how do I put it? It´s not there. The Smart has the engine in the back. The next problem was that the car is too short for the hydraulic ramp. We had to improvise.
Luckily enough it turned out that there must have been a small hairline crack on a plastic part. We got out our fluid for the radiant sealing. We poured it into the surge tank and drove off. After about half an hour drive, we took a stop to check if there were any other leakages. Nothing. The car was fine and it has stayed that way ever since. Thanks once again to the super friendly hotel personal and of course the guy from the workshop as well.
As we drove past Rovaniemi, it was time for a break and of course to place our Smart on a very special place. We had crossed the Polar Circle.
Next stop after visiting Father Christmas was the city of Oulu. Quite a nice city actually and a special day for my wife and me. It was our 12th wedding anniversary. In the evening, we went out for a wonderful dinner and wine. We enjoyed a very nice evening together.
On the following day, we drove on to a very industrial town of Finland. Tampere. Not much to write about that city really. Sorry. After a Pizza followed by meeting some Spanish people in the sauna of the hotel it was time to get some rest. The next day was a bit of a longer journey. We drove from Tampere to Helsinki, which was the first stop. From there we caught the Tallink ferry that took us to the other side of the Baltic Sea. Tallinn the capital of Estonia was our final destination for that day. We have been there before on a cruise across the Baltic Sea. A plus as we knew our way around already. Yet we managed to see some new corners of this very lively city full of super friendly people. It seemed that time was flying past so quickly the closer we got back to home. Well not really close to home as it is about 2200km away from our hometown.
Have I mentioned yet that I had my Fujifilm X-T2 with the XF18-55 and the XF35mmf2 lens with me? All packed up in a small put very useful Cosyspeed Camslinger bag, which I absolutely love. It´s small enough to fit even in the smallest car and fast to open and grab your camera when you need it.
Anyways, back to the road trip and the next stop. It was time for a new city in a new country. Off we went from Tallinn in Estonia to Riga in Latvia. Unfortunately, it rained and it rained hard. Luckily enough I had the weather sealed X-T2 and the XF35mmf2 WR lens attached to the camera meaning that I did not have to worry about the rain hitting the camera or the lens. By the way, this is one addition I love the most on the all new Fujifilm X100V which I have on pre-order and am awaiting it eagerly. Riga is a mixed bag for photographers. You get some really interesting former eastern block architecture mixed with modern elements, you get street photography opportunities at its best. As the weather was pretty bad it gave me the chance to play around with some development with nice muted colours using a classic negative film simulation for the RAW files.
In the evening my wife and I had a chat about the next stop. We had planned to drive to Kaunas in Lithuania. That would have been about a two to three-hour drive from Riga. The stop after Kaunas was Warszawa. Then we thought, why not drive via Kaunas to Warszawa in one day and have the next full day for some great sightseeing in the Polish capital. Not knowing if our car would survive we booked all the hotels cancellable within 24 hours or less. We did just that with the hotel in Kaunas and re-booked the hotel room in Warszawa. Ok I must admit that we were a little shocked after checking Apple Maps and learning that it would be a nine-hour drive on one day and that is without a break. Puh, that’s going to be a long day. Actually, it went really well. We reached Kaunas at midday, had a cup of coffee in a really cute little café and an hour later we hit the road and by five pm we entered the hotel lobby in Warszawa.
The next full day was one with loads of walking, sight-seeing and photographing. A very welcome change to the driving we did. We had such luck with the weather. It was sunny, warm but not too warm. Just perfect! And the polish people were all so very friendly and welcoming. The polish capital is worth a visit and we will definitely be going back again.
Once again, the Fujifilm X-T2 and the XF18-55 did a great job.
From there on it went to Berlin were my wife´s uncle and auntie live. Not seeing them too often, we had loads to talk about and did not go into Berlin at all. No worries though. I am going there in March with a friend. That´s if he can make it, otherwise I´ll hit the streets of Berlin by myself and drop a line on my Instagram account to see if anyone wants to go and shoot with me in Berlin. If you are from Berlin and want to meet up do feel free to drop a line, an email or a pm via my www.instagram.com/stockografie account.
Well my dear readers. That´s essential the trip back home again. From Berlin we drove down to the south of Germany where we live in about 7 ½ hours. Just cruising back home.
All in all we drove 7088km in a small Smart Fortwo 450 and it did not let us down. We did not encounter any back problems, headaches or sore wrists. My wife and I still love each other and did not quarrel, even though sitting pretty close to one another for 17 days.
Thanks so much to all of you dear readers and followers. Do come back for the next upcoming blogposts