If Honningsvag was the most northern cafe I had visited, Kirkenes takes the honour of being the coldest destination.
At -25oC, only Manchester in the winter of '82 came close. That year, there was ice on the inside of the windows of my Victorian student house. The toilet cistern froze.
In Kirkenes, it was the harbour that was frozen. Delicate whorls formed in the crust on the sea's surface and an icebreaker ploughed slowly back and forth to keep the shipping lane open.
Our hotel, the Thon on the waterfront, had giant plate glass windows looking directly out over the steel grey scene, where it was difficult to determine which was sea and which was sky.
It was January and sadly the end of an otherwordly voyage up the Norwegian coast on the MS Midnatsol. We were still in the Polar Night, although the sun was just days from re-emerging and skulked just below the horizon.
With spiked ice grips on our boots and five layers of clothing, two of them wool, we ventured out.
Kirkenes was a town in deep-freeze. Within minutes, strands of hair emerging from under my hat had been encased in ice - pure white as though I had received a sudden shock, or instantly aged by decades.
This former mining town was used by the Nazis to export iron-ore and was the most heavily bombed location in World War II after Malta. It then suffered a second wave of destruction when the retreating Germans torched what remained.
As a result, all buildings are modern, mostly built of wood - although a 1944 German air raid shelter acts as a reminder of the traumatic wartime period, along with a statue dedicated to the role the townswomen played during the war in the centre, and a further statue of a Russian soldier to commemorate the liberating Red Army on a hill above.
Kirkenes is only 10 miles from the Russian border and has a sizeable Russian population so many street names can be found in both languages, along with signposts to the Arctic port of Murmansk. It is also the end of the Hurtigruten coastal ship route, and although the population is less than 4,000, it has its own airport.
We tramped past a cinema and took a look inside a small shopping mall which housed a supermarket, outdoor clothing shop, the Norwegian equivalent of a 'pound shop' and ladies fashion store.
There are several cafes but Cafe Centrum was the largest and most prominent - a giant wooden building with a terrace.
Sandwich boards welcomed the chilled visitor inside, along with candle-lit lanterns at the doorway. The extreme cold meant the main shopping street was nigh on deserted and the handful of heavily protected shoppers we spotted dashed from building to building without lingering or carried out their errands on ski-scooters.
Inside, it was a relief to be able to peel off our heavy top layers and sink into soft leather armchairs at the back of the cafe. A Danish pastry, cinnamon cake and cappuccinos soon fortified us.
Although the cafe is contemporary in its decor, it adheres to the Norwegian custom of wood furnishings and candles to provide an atmosphere warm in temperature and feel. But it also has vintage outdoor equipment dotted around, such as ice axes and picks, satchels and lamps, and a giant black and white mural of mountaineers from a bygone era fills the back wall.
It was clearly a meeting point for local teenagers, a large group of whom congregated after school to eat and chat, although customers of all age groups arrived.
Our trek back to the hotel was a short one. But even pausing momentarily to take photos was physically painful as the cold bit deep into our hands and faces. At the harbour, as I photographed ice patterns and sleeping fishing trawlers, I had to peel the camera from my face.
In communities which endure such extreme weather, social venues such as Cafe Centrum are essential.
As teenager Ronja Monsen serving behind the counter explained, the winter is spent "gathering, sometimes around fires, eating and chatting" - activites that extend back beyond the Vikings to the very start of man's existence.