Another aspect of travel preparation: Getting a feeling for distances. I tried to get a feeling for distances by designing a map:
I marked some larger towns on the map and used Google Maps to calculate the distances. Then I wrote the distance on the connecting lines. Are you wondering what the numbers mean? It’s miles! But neither statute miles nor nautical miles, it’s Swedish Miles or Norwegian Miles which nowadays are exactly 10 kilometres. There are commonly used in everyday language and no one would say “It’s 30 kilometres to Boliden”, when you could say “It’s three miles” instead.
But numbers are dangerous. The numbers on the map are just miles on the shortest way between point A and point B. Not more. There’re saying nothing about detours, weather conditions, photo breaks and the fact that you’re not allowed to drive faster than 60 on many Norwegian roads. And the map says nothing about all the small nice places – known and unknown – that I want to visit. And a lot of roads to these places are dead ends, you’ll have to drive back the same way doubling the mileage.
But numbers are interesting too. Take your magnifier glasses and seek for Inari. Found it? You see Kirkenes—Inari is 20 miles. OK, that’s not too bad. But have another look for Vardø. Vardø–Mehamn is 61 miles, more than 600 kilometres even if it’s just 14 miles as the crow flies. That’s because my car is neither able to fly or to swim and I have to follow the roads. And there are a lot of fjords in Norway forcing you into endless detours. Sometime you can already see your destination but have do drive two other hours to arrive. Sometimes that’s great, sometimes you just want to arrive at some chosen destination.
That’s why I added the red dots between Tromsø and Kirkenes. That’s the stops of the Hurtigruten, the famous Norwegian ships. If I’ll take the big tour even to Kirkenes – one of the things I will decide much later – I definitely will take the Hurtigruten to cut down the miles sometimes. And I’m looking forward to that too, it’s always nice to be on a ship.
Now I have only two days job left, then my free time starts: 108 days till Easter Monday. But I won’t start the journey before the 8th of January. That gives me some more weeks for additional planning …