Thursday, September 13, 2012

Europe from top to bottom

Europe - from top to bottomAs Munson and I have just visited Tarifa, the southernmost tip of mainland Europe I think I can now claim to have covered Europe from top to bottom. Five years ago Bondi and I visited Nordkapp at the top of Norway, which is nominally the topmost point. It isn’t quite, partly because it’s on an island (connected by submarine road tunnel) and there’s another point slightly further north which is virtually inaccessible by land.

Of the road route shown above, we (Munson, Gustav and I) have covered all that up to Stockholm in recent months. When I drove to Nordkapp in 2007, Bondi and I drove due north from Helsinki through a thousand miles of Finland before getting to Norway.

Tarifa map southernmost point

When I looked at the claim that Tarifa was the southernmost point of (mainland) Europe, the drawings looked a bit wonky, but I checked more thoroughly. It is indeed lower than Italy (and Sicily) and Greece. The islands of Malta, Cyprus and Crete are below the 36N line that runs through Tarifa. Incidentally it looks like the southernmost tip of Turkey lies roughly on the same line.

If we’d had more time this trip we could have visited the westernmost tip of continental Europe at Cabo da Roca (just outside Lisbon). It’s not Finisterre (literally World’s End) in northern  Spain which loses out by 16.5km.

I’m not even going to try to hit the easternmost point of continental Europe as defining what that might be geographically, geologically, politically or Eurovisionically would probably start a war.

The midpoint is just as difficult to attain, but not many weeks before we hit Nordkapp, Bondi and I visited Vilnius in Lithuania which is perhaps the most “official” spot, whatever that means.

Irrespective of all these calculations, the top and bottom has been well-covered by malamutes and Aussies!

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