Viking Ocean Cruise Into the Midnight Sun Post #6, Honnigsvag (Nordkapp)

We docked in Honnigsvag with Viking Ocean Cruises, and unfortunately had our first really bad day of weather. I know that we had been substantially lucky before this, given Norway’s preponderance of rain.

 

Honnigsvag Dock When We Arrived

 

As we traversed the countryside it appeared we wouldn’t experience good weather, as our views from the tour bus continued to reflect the rain falling. The further we drove it seemed the more it rained.

 

Crossroads Inland in Honnigsvag

 

When we stopped for the Sami souvenir shop the weather mysteriously cleared up enough to where we didn’t’ need our umbrellas anymore. The Sami people also (Saami) are an indigenous people of Northern Europe occupying Sapmi. The Sapmi area includes portions of northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Kola peninsula of Russia. Their lifestyle was controlled by hunting, fishing and trading until the late middle ages. This is when the current framework of the Nordic countries was organized.

 

This young man was not only a local guide who told us about Sami culture, he was also an entrepreneur with around 5,000 head of reindeer. He herded the deer back and forth through channels between islands for summer grazing. He explained how they make use of the entire animal, not just the meat involved. He was definitely a very hard working young man!

 

Sami Entrepreneur

 

The Sami people have lived in partnership with their neighbors for centuries. For the last 200 years there have been many compelling changes in Sámi culture, politics, economics and their kinship with their adjoining cultures. This has been especially true during the latter half of the 20th century. Rivalries broke out over the development of a hydroelectric dam. The announced deal created a major disagreement, as the man made lake generated from the dam would flood the Sami village of Maze. It also would have had an adverse impact on the Sami’s reindeer migration and wild Salmon fishing.

 

Mounted Reindeer in the Sami Souvenir Shop

 

In the fall of 1979, as building of the dam was ready to start, dissidents executed two acts of passive resistance at the construction site located in Stilla. Demonstrators sat down on the ground and impeded the equipment. At the same time, Sami activists began a hunger strike outside the Norwegian Parliament. They were charged with disobeying laws against rioting. The various Sami families of people ended all cooperation with the Norwegian government. Two Sami women even traveled to Rome to seek the Pope’s blessings.  In 1982 the Norwegian Supreme Court ruled in favor of the government, at which point all opposition to the power plant ceased. The construction of the Alta Hydroelectric Power Station was completed by 1987.

 

Reindeer Fur Coat and Other Products in the Sami Souvenir Shop

 

Norwegians were arrested and incarcerated for the first time since World War ll.  It not only succeeded at placing focus on environmental issues, but also on Sami rights. In the end the acts of civil disobedience by the four leaders, Alfred Nilsen, Tore Bongo, Svein Suhr and Per Flatberg (information leader), resulted in each being arraigned with encouraging illegal acts. They were later given fines (10 000 to 20 000 Norwegian kroner) and levied with suspended prison sentences (60–90 days).

 

 

Rock That the Thai King Chulalongkorn Helped Build Nordkapp From

 

In 1907 a king from Siam traveled through Europe and wanted to visit Norway. He was received warmly by King Hakon and Queen Maud when he arrived. This marked the beginning of a friendly relationship between the Siam/Thailand and Norway. The king’s impression of Norway was recorded in several handwritten letters. These letters were later published in a book titled Klai Ban (Far from Home). His thoughts still inspire people of later generations in many ways.

 

He then made his way north to Nordkapp and carved his initials and the year visited in the largest bolder on site. Praya Chonlaut had brought engraving tools but the landscape was too barren except for this one huge boulder. The carpenter and sailors started smoothing the rock. The king drew his initials and the Arabic numbers for 1907. Then the team of five men finished the engraving in no time. Without King Chulalongkorn’s contribution Nordkapp may have never been established nor the North Cape complex built.

 

King Culalongkorn Museum in Underground Nordkapp

 

King Chulalongkorn established the hierarchical system of monthons (political circles) in 1897 in Siam. This had a major impact, as it ended the power of all local dynasties. Central authority was now spread all over the country through a committee of intendants. Local rulers did not cede power willingly. All these rebellions were crushed in 1902 with the city rulers stripped of their power and imprisoned.

 

Memorial Bust of King Chulalongkorn of Siam

 

The construction of railways in Siam had a political motivation, The intention was to connect all of the country and maintain better control of it. In 1901, the first railway was opened from Bangkok to Korat. In the same year, the first power plant of Siam produced electricity and electric lights first illuminated roadways. Both were historical models for the region.

 

Plaque for Thai Museum at Nordkapp

 

The king was known for several actions while he was ruling, but Chulalongkorn was best known for his abolition of Siamese slavery. He associated the abolition of slavery in the United States with the bloodshed of the American Civil War. His last accomplishment was the establishment of a plumbing system in 1908. The King died on 23 October 1910 of kidney disease at the Amphorn Sathan Residential Hall in the Dusit Palace, and was succeeded by his son Vajiravudh (King Rama VI).

 

Book of Letters from King Chulalongkorn in Regard to His Visit to Norway

 

The royal Equestrian statue of King Chulalongkorn was finished in 1908 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the king’s reign. It was cast in bronze by a Parisian metallurgist. Chulalongkorn had visited Europe twice, in 1897 and 1907, the latter visit to cure his kidney disease. Chukakongkorn University, founded in 1917 as the first university in Thailand, was named in his honor. On the campus stand the statues of Rama V and his son, Rama VI. In 1997 a memorial pavilion was raised in honor of King Chulalongkorn in Ragunda, Sweden. This was done to commemorate King Chulalongkorn’s visit to Sweden in 1897 when he also visited the World’s Fair in Brussels.

 

St Johannes Underground Chapel in Nordkapp

 

As we walked through the halls of the underground domain we discovered a unique chapel, “St Johannes Kapell Chapel”. It was very inviting and comforting with its unusual attributes. There was seating for 15 people and is a popular place for weddings. It happens o be the world’s northernmost ecumenical chapel.

 

St Johannes Underground Chapel in Nordkapp

 

The European long-distance trails or paths are a network of 12 long-distance hiking trails that crisscross through all of Europe. They offer more than 34,175 miles of great hiking and every single E-trail or E-path runs through a few European countries, providing the chance to explore country, culture and traditions. One of these numbered long-distance hiking trails, the E1 – with more than 4,350 miles the longest and the first, runs from Europe’s Northernmost point the North Cape all the way down to Sicily. This trail provides a hiker’s challenge par excellence! The marker above signifies its beginning at North Cape.

 

International Hiking Trail Marker
North Cape, Italy
June 4, 2013

 

I will never forget my visit to Honnigsvag Norway with Viking Cruises and the unbelievable wind, as I approached the globe on the point of Nordkapp. It was almost hurricane strength and I was trying hard to stay upright and not crawl on my hands and knees to reach the globe. Once I reached the point it was all I could do to hold my smartphone and not have the wind blow it away. The views were extraordinary and I thankfully had a railing to wrap my free hand around. My DSLR camera was another matter. I’m not sure if you’ve ever had to embrace a railing with one hand and your camera with the other hand, but it is definitely hard to accomplish. Thankfully everything worked out.

 

Nordkapp Globe

 

North Cape or Nordkapp is a cape, not a peninsula on the northern coast of the island of Mageroya in Northern Norway. It is located in Finnmark county, Norway.  The E69 European Highway has its northern end at North Cape. This makes it the northernmost point in Europe that can be accessed by car and makes the E69 the northern most public road in Europe. The cape includes a 1,007 foot cliff with a large flat plateau on top.

 

Obligatory Norwegian Troll in Nordkapp Hall

 

Nomadic Texan at Nordkapp Hall with a Norwegian Troll

 

From this plateau visitors, weather permitting, can watch the midnight sun and views of the Barents Sea to the north. North Cape Hall, a visitor center, was built in 1988 on the plateau. It includes a bistro, restaurant, post office, souvenir shop, a small museum, and video cinema. The North Cape is northern Scandinavia’s most popular travel destination, for good reason. The North Cape is a monumental natural experience, along with breathtaking views, unusual climate conditions, the impressive cliff itself and the fact that one is standing at Europe’s northern end.

 

View of Barents Sea from Railing around Nordkapp Globe

 

The steep cliff of North Cape is often (mistakenly) referred to as the northernmost point of Europe, located approximately 1,307 miles from the North Pole. To be accurate, the neighboring Knivskjellodden point, just to the west extends 4,780 ft farther to the north. The North Cape is the point where the Norwegian Sea, part of the Atlantic Ocean, meets the Barents Sea, part of the Arctic Ocean. The northernmost point of Europe including islands is hundreds of miles further north, either in Russia’s Franz Josef Land or Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, depending on whether Franz Josef Land is considered to be in Europe or in Asia.

 

View from Railing around Nordkapp Globe

 

Nordkapp – The North Cape Horn has always been a well-known an important point of orientation for all boats and ships. The rock has had a great variety of names and it was only in the mid 16th century that it was given the present name. The Midnight sun can be seen from 14 May to 31 July. The sun reaches its lowest point between 12:14 am and 12:24 am (00:14 and 00:24) during those days. In 1943, the Battle of North Cape was fought in the Arctic Ocean off this cape, where the Nazi battleship Scharhorst was eventually sunk by gunfire from the British battleship HMS Duke of York  and torpedoes from the Norwegian destroyer HNoMS Stord, and other ships of the British Navy.

 

Children of the World Bronze Sculpture

 

The “Children of the World sculpture was started in 1988 when author Simon Flem Devold, a well known Norwegian writer and friend of children, randomly selected seven children from seven countries – Tanzania, Brazil, USA, Japan, Thailand, Italy and Russia — to visit the North Cape to dream of “Peace on Earth“. The children stayed with families in the fishing settlement of Skarsvag on Mageroya island, At the nearby North Cape they spent a week creating their own motives in clay.

 

Children of the Earth Disks

 

In June 1988, seven boys and girls from as many countries on several continents converged on the cliff to create reliefs of clay with motives reflecting their creativity and emotions. The youngsters who in this manner demonstrated the congenital desire of children everywhere to have a good time and be friendly toward each other, were Jasmine from Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania, Rafael from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Ayumi from Kawasaki in Japan, Sithidej from Bangkok in Thailand, Gloria from Jesi in Italy, Anton from Murmansk in the (former) Soviet Union and Louise from New York City, USA. From the very beginning, they were called The Children of the Earth.

 

Children of the Earth Disk

 

The first child made “an African man”, the second modeled a self portrait. The third made “a beast of the past”, the fourth modeled “a lady with bow in rain and sunshine”. The fifth created a bird of peace, the sixth an image of Christ. The last child had wanted to make a cat, but ended up with a man with a hat and beard. The project was followed through daily broadcasts on national TV. All seven children experienced great fun with no linguistic or other barriers.

 

All Seven Children of the Earth Disks

 

Including the 30th annual ceremony in June 2018, The Children of the Earth Prize has been awarded to a total of 27 individuals (20 women and seven men) and seven organizations. The prize (3,45 million NOK in all), has been given to nine projects in Africa, seven in Europe, four in Asia, four in Central America/The Caribbean, three in South America, three in the Middle East and one in Norway.

 

Barn av Jorden, Children of the Earth Disk

 

In 1989, the original clay reliefs were cast in bronze, framed in granite and erected permanently on the the North Cape plateau. Along with the lovely bronze sculpture “Mother and child”, created by artist Eva Rybakken, they now form a harmonious entity – The Children of the Earth Monument.

 

 

Rainy Day at the Bus Terminal

 

We left Nordkapp and began our ride back to the ship. Along the way we saw several places of business and houses of citizens living in Honningsvag. Of course the rain continued and we ran out of time. All my photos were then shot through rainy windows of the bus, My apologies.

 

Rainy Day at the Construction Headquarters

 

Rainy Day in the Neighborhood

 

Finally the wonderful Viking Sun loomed ahead and we returned to the ship cold, wet and hungry. The good news was we had several experiences in this far northern section of the world that we will remember forever!

 

Viking Sun Docked in Honnigsvag

 

Onward across the Norwegian Sea to Scotland and the Shetland islands. I couldn’t wait to see the miniature horses that this area is know for. Little did I realize how many other attributes the islands had!

 

 

 

 

*** Portions of our cruise were sponsored by Viking Ocean Cruises. All opinions, as always, are those of my own.

My Amazing Life-Chapter 5, The Amita Thai Cooking Class Review, Recipes Included

As we approached the dock to enter the Amita Cooking class from the water or Khlong, or as its more commonly called a canal, I saw this friendly and energetic lady waiting to greet us. We each exited the Long Boat. I love to eat. I love to cook. When I travel I go out of my way to participate in cooking classes and learn local ways. Our agenda informed us that our FAM trip would be oriented towards a food and spa theme. I couldn’t have been happier!

 

Tam with an Assistant

Tam with an Assistant 

 

The Amita Thai Cooking Class is hidden in the canals that spring out from the Chao Phraya river in old town Bangkok. The lady that created this wonderful program and class is named Tam Piyawadi Jantrupon. Tam originally received her Bachelor’s degree in Law at Thammasat University, which is Thailand’s second oldest institute of higher learning. Her turn to this area (conducing cooking classes) is an interesting story and can be found on the Amita Thai cooking Class web site.

 

Class Apron

Class Apron

 

Tam’s English is excellent and she began her class with an introduction and tour of her grounds including her spice garden, fruit trees and other various ingredients that she provides with her green and organic approach. She made us feel at home immediately and commented that she lived in the house that occupies a good portion of her lot and has another six or seven family lodgings located adjacent to hers. She employees several family members in her overall operation. Who really knows how big of a Samaritan she is and how many in her family she helps in life. Her personality is magnetic and her training skills are golden. I absolutely loved every minute of her class!

 

Pea Eggplant

Pea Eggplant

 

I had never heard of pea eggplant, but it is used in many Thai preparations and as described before, she literally picks what she needs from her bushes. She conveniently has the spices and other items labeled to help students understand her approach. As you walk among her gardens she defines the many uses of each component and  allows everyone to sample or taste the spice leaves, if they so desire. Being naturally curious I tried each item. When in Rome!

 

 

Pea Eggplant Pods

Pea Eggplant Pods

 

One of the items that I faintly recall in prior cooking discussions was the Kaffir Lime she grows. It has a very heavy lime flavor and you cannot use as much as you would from an ordinary lime. Personally I am a huge fan of limes and use them in place of lemons wherever I can. She told us the leaves would be used in our Curry Chicken Dish. They tasted a little bitter when I sampled them, but I proceeded with an open mind.

 

Kaffir Lime

Kaffir Lime

Cutting the Kaffir Lime

Cutting the Kaffir Lime

 

Thai cooking employs a plethora of various peppers, each with varying degree of heat potency. I think somewhere along the trip each of us accidentally bit off more than we could handle and wound up with a sensation that would not stop flaming, or at least it felt like a fire was actually in our mouth.

 

Red Chili Peppers

Red Chili Peppers

 

Thai cooking uses a great deal of coconut milk. I learned that it has an abundant quantity of various essential vitamins, antioxidants and helps fight heart disease. I am all in! I might add that it was cool watching her team make fresh coconut milk. They first ground out the white meat from the husk using a very labor intensive procedure.  They take a half of a coconut and rub it on the tool pictured below until the white meat is extracted as shown in the pan.

 

Tool Used to Grind Coconut Meat

Tool Used to Grind Coconut Meat

 

The white meat is then placed in this wicker basket and heated water is poured over the meat making the milk flow through the basket. Afterwards they take a cloth and push the remaining meat down and the liquid through the basket into the catch pan underneath. The result is fresh coconut milk that can be used immediately for cooking or refrigerated for a brief period.

 

Making Coconut Milk

Making Coconut Milk

 

The process was for Tam to discuss the ingredients, illustrate each dish’s assembly and let us sample what it should be after correct preparation. This took a considerable amount of time and in reality we ate each course after she had finished with discussing the items needed and its mixing, cooking or construction. I had no idea what was in store for us as I was getting full just nibbling on her display dishes.

 

Coconut Rice and Papaya Salad Ingredients

Coconut Rice and Papaya Salad Ingredients

 

The first course was the Khao Mun Som Tum or Coconut Rice and Papaya Salad.

 

You will need Coconut rice which is 1 cup of long grained rice (jasmine rice) washed, 4 teaspoons of sugar, 1 cup of coconut milk, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 cup pandanus juice (pound 6 pandanus leaves with 1/2 cup of water, squeeze only juice). 1) Pour the coconut milk into a saucepan. Add salt and sugar, stir until dissolved. Add panadanus juice 2) Add rice, cook over a low heat for 30 minutes or until rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed.

 

Second you need Papaya Salad which is 1 cup of grated green papaya, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons of dried shrimp, 1 fresh dried red chili, 4-5 cherry tomatoes and 1/4 cup of yard long bean cut into 1/4 inch increments.

 

Third is the dressing which is 1 tablespoon of lime juice, 1 tablespoon of fish sauce, 1 tablespoon of palm sugar and 1 tablespoon of tamarind paste.

 

1) Combine all dressing ingredients together and set aside 2) Pound garlic, red chili, dried shrimp and yard long bean in a mortar 3) Add grated papaya and cherry tomatoes and slightly pound 4) Pour dressing in and toss well 5) Plate the salad. Topping with toasted peanuts coarsely ground and garnish with lettuce. Makes 1 serving.

 

Khao Mun Som Tum, #Coconut Rice and Papaya Salad

Khao Mun Som Tum,
#Coconut Rice and Papaya Salad Finished Product

 

The second course was Khang Keaw Wan Gai or Green Curry Chicken in Coconut Milk. The items needed are 120 grams of sliced skinless chicken, 1 cup of coconut milk, 1 tablespoon of green curry paste, 1/4 cup pea eggplant, 2 green or red chilies with seeds removed and sliced lengthwise, 3 Kaffir lime leaves torn in half, 1 tablespoon of fish sauce, 1 tablespoon of palm sugar, 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and 1/2 cup sweet basil leaves for garnish.

 

To make the green curry paste you need 6-8 fresh green chilies, 2 tablespoons chopped lemon grass, 1 tablespoon chopped coriander root, 1 tablespoon chopped shallots, 1 tablespoon chopped garlic, 1 tablespoon galangal, 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon shrimp paste, 7 white pepper corns.

 

Toast all the ingredients except the shrimp paste in a wok over low heat. Pound or blend all the ingredients together. Add the shrimp paste and grind to a smooth paste.

 

Khang Keaw Wan Gai, #Green Curry Chicken in Coconut Milk

Khang Keaw Wan Gai,
#Green Curry Chicken in Coconut Milk

 

1) In a wok heat oil to medium 2) Add green curry paste and stir constantly for 1 minute. Little by little add coconut milk and stir gently. 3) Add chicken, Kaffir lime leaves and stir until cooked. 4) Pour in the rest of the coconut milk and stir constantly until it bubbles. 5) Season with fish sauce and palm sugar. Stir occasionally. Simmer for 5 minutes. 6) Add pea eggplants, chilies and sweet basil leaves. 7) Garnish with sweet basil leaves before serving.

 

Satay (Moo, Gai or Nua) Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce (Pork, Chicken or Beef)

Satay (Moo, Gai or Nua)
Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce (Pork, Chicken or Beef)

 

The third course was Satay Gai or Satay Chicken with Spicy Peanut Sauce with which you need 150 grams chicken or other meat product, 1/2 teaspoon roasted coriander seeds, 1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon garlic, 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, pinch of salt, 1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon palm sugar, 1/4 cup of coconut milk,1 tablespoon vegetable Oil 8-9 Satay sticks, for brushing 2 tablespoons of coconut milk. Make sure and keep a pinch of ground cumin and coriander back for use later.

 

1) Use a mortar and pestle, grind coriander and cumin seeds. Then pound together all ingredients until mixed well. 2) Pour mixed ingredients in a bowl with coconut milk 3) Add meat strips and marinate overnight or at least 3 hours. 4) Thread meat strips with Satay sticks. 5) Grill Satay on charcoal stove over low heat. Turn them regularly and brush them with the remaining marinated sauce and coconut milk while turning. 6) When Satay is cooked serve with spicy peanut sauce and cucumber relish.

 

Spicy Peanut Sauce is 2 tablespoons of roasted (unsalted) peanuts, 1 tablespoon Massa Man curry paste, 6 tablespoons of coconut milk, 2 teaspoons of tamarind paste, 2 teaspoons of palm sugar and a pinch of salt.

 

1) Grind or crush the peanuts to a fairly fine paste and set aside. 2) Pour coconut milk into a pan over medium heat, add Massa Man curry paste and stir time to time until the sauce becomes smooth. 3) Combine them with the remaining ingredients. If the sauce is too thick, add a little water or coconut milk.

 

Cucumber Relish is 1 tablespoon white vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar, (a pinch of salt, mix well with white vinegar and set aside), 2 tablespoons of sliced cucumbers, 2 shallots sliced and 2 chilies thinly sliced. Mix all ingredients together and pour on top of sliced cucumbers, shallots and chilies in a sauce cup. Makes 8-9 sticks.

 

Khao Niew Ma Muang, #Mango Sticky Rice

Khao Niew Ma Muang,
#Mango Sticky Rice

 

The dessert course was Khao Niew Ma Muang or Sticky Rice and its recipe is 5-6 ripe mangoes peeled and sliced, 2 cups of glutinous rice, soak overnight or 5 to 8 hours and drain, 1 cup of coconut milk, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 cup of sugar. Topping is 6-7 tablespoons of coconut milk and a pinch of salt.

 

1) Boil 6-7 tablespoons of coconut milk and a pinch of salt over low heat. Set aside for topping. 2) Wrap the glutinous rice in a clean towel and place in a double boiler steamer. Steam for 25 to 30 minutes. 3) Dissolve the sugar in the coconut milk over a very low heat. Add salt. Stir well. Remove from the heat. Put the cooked glutinous rice in a bowl. Gradually blend in the coconut milk. Stir with a wooden spoon, cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Tam added several “Butterfly Pea” flowers to the water to make the water blue and it really made the dish come out attractive. Serve with mangoes.

 

Cooking Stations for the Class

Cooking Stations for the Class

 

We were assigned a work station and each had an assistant help with the preparation of our own dishes. That way I couldn’t fat finger a portion or overcook a course. It was really a hands on class and one that I learned a great deal from.  When we finished we were taken to the veranda and had the chance to eat what we had prepared. It was way too much, but it actually turned out rather good.

 

Finished Meal with Satay (Moo, Gao or Nua), #Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce (Pork, Chicken or Beef)

Finished Meal with Satay (Moo, Gao or Nua),
#Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce (Pork, Chicken or Beef)

 

The class has a media board off to the side that is filled with Tam’s interviews in print and I was blown away by the amount of major magazines that have visited her establishment. I felt honored to attend and thank the Tourism Authority of Thailand for including this in our program.

 

Bon Appetite Article on Amita's Cooking Class

Bon Appetite Article on Amita Cooking Class

 

Vogue Article on Amita's Cooking Class

Vogue Article on Amita Cooking Class

 

I have always loved Thai food as I am drawn to spicy foods and learning new areas of cooking. Attending Tam’s class was a highlight of my trip and one I will never forget. If you find yourself in Bangkok and are looking for a fantastic way to pass a half day, than I cannot recommend any thing more satisfying or tasty than the Amita Thai Cooking Class!

 

Tam and The Nomadic Texan

Tam and The Nomadic Texan

 

 

 

 

*** My trip to Thailand and Malaysia was sponsored by Thai Airways, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Tourism Malaysia USA. All opinions are solely mine and as always generated without any influence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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