Great drive today from Karusevanto to Karasjok! We drove in all three countries today; Norway, Sweden and Finland! Day started at the usual time of around 8ish with a nice (albeit plain) breakfast in our hotel. Mozzies continue to be the bane of my existence which meant no open windows last night….
Terrain is similar to that of yesterday. Relatively flat with small stunted birch tree forests, marshy ground and of course lakes! If you look on a map of Northern Norway/ Sweden/ Finland it is one big lake with the occasional piece of ground! We saw two different reindeer today jump out at us and we’ve seen Lemmings.. Yep those things the computer game of the 90s was made about.. They look (from a distance in the car) a bit like a guinea pig and we weren’t sure if we were seeing Lemmings but we spoke to some locals today and they have assured us that Lemmings is indeed what we have seen. Apparently they are really quite stupid animals and have been known to jump off cliffs—hence the computer game!
We stopped at a town almost half way between the two called Kautikino. Kautikino is one of the main Sami towns in Norway and so we stopped to check out the Sami Museum. The museum itself wasn’t super impressive, it held artifacts from when most Sami’s were nomadic. Interestingly, there are about 100,000 Sami peoples living across Scandinavia of which about 2,000 are still nomadic! I was quite surprised to hear that so many are still nomadic and follow the reindeer herds!
We also stopped in Kautikino and saw the Juhls Silver Museum. This museum is more an art gallery and is one of the more impressive jewellery galleries I’ve ever seen. The owners make all of the jewelery on site and the jewellery is made using Sami techniques meaning each piece of jewellery is quite unique and is really beautiful.. If I had plenty of money I could have spent quite a bit in the gallery.. really really nice jewellery.
Unfortunately, later in the afternoon I was driving along when a truck came hurtling around the corner and flicked up a large rock… Of course this turned into a large half-moon crack in the windscreen! Damn… when you know everything is at least double the cost (and often closer to triple) the new windscreen is going to be exy!
Arrived in Karasjok later in the afternoon and spent an hour or so checking out the town. Karasjok is the home of the Sami people in Norway and is the place where the Sami parliament can be found as well as the Sapmi Park (Sapmi means the Land of the Sami and is the name for Northern Norway/ Sweden/ Finland etc.. Sapmi is what the Norwegian Sami’s call the land.. Lap is what the Finnish Suomi’s call the area!) Anyway we tried to get into the Sapmi park but discovered that the English viewing of the Sami movie had ended for the day so instead of entering the park we decided to come back first thing tomorrow morning.
Arrived at our digs “Engholm Husky Design Lodge”. This lodge is as rustic as you can get… At a cost of 300 dollars a night for the three of us it is also one of the most expensive. It is little log cabins that are made up to be authentic hunting lodges. Skins are on the chairs, reindeer antlers are used as hooks, reindeer stomach as a lamp shade etc. The cabin is made out of logs, has a wood stove and has grass growing on the roof! A couple of interesting points about the cabin—
• no running water—you have to collect it from the main house (about 100m away)—this is fine in the summer but in winter?????
• No bathroom facilities—again have to go to main house
• Mozzie city.. more mosquitos in one place than I have ever seen anywhere (no fly screens on windows and no fly screen on door………………. (we had to go and buy some Raid))
• Wireless internet and an iPod dock are installed in the rooms?????
Needless to say I struggled with the concept of having wireless but not having any hot water………………. The stay was pretty fun though as it isn’t’ every day that you stay in a place with a lamp shade made of granite, a swinging chair made of rope and wood, a shower with a granite mirror and rope holder for your toilet paper!
Off to bed now in my log bed with an ikea mattress!