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My trip to Lapland


I got back yesterday from my trip to Lapland, and here are some of my memories about it.

Lapland is the northern part of Finland, with borders to Sweden and Russia. Finland itself has about 5.2 million people living it, mostly finns, with some very minor amount of immigrants - mostly russians and other scandinavians. Finland counts about the same amount (5 millions) of reindeers.

Lapland itself a bit like Siberia, i.e.: a large, cold and desertic space with a very low population density (17 habitants per square kilometer. Paris has 20000 habitants per square kilometer). Some parts of Lapland have nearly no people living in.

I've only spent one week there and only saw Lapland, I suppose that the rest of Finland is quite different.

It was an organised trip and we were about 15 people, I knew some of them, and we were mostly young people who were ready and willing to get our dose of chill and sweat - which we did.

I liked the fact that you can leave anything outdoors on the street (skis, car, your bag) without worrying about it being stolen. Apparently, there is no theft there.

The finns themselves are gorgeous, smiling and kind people, always willing to help. Their tongue is absolutely impossible understand if you don't speak it, unlike, say, Spanish if you speak French. However, many of them speak English. I've learned a few finnish words like "Thank you" (Kiitos), "Hi" (Hey), "Bye" (Hey hey), "Reindeer" (Poron). I'd like to learn more.


Lapland is only 3.5 hours of flight from Paris, and the flight from Paris was pretty boring, since the clouds were hiding the earth all the time. When the plane finally went through the clouds for landing, we discovered quite a landscape. It was a lot like watching a movie on a black&white TV. White snow and black trees, that's about all. The plane had a hard time landing because the wind was blowing hard and the landing strip was covered with ice, but those finn pilots are used to that and we landed just fine after all. It was surprisingly warm, only -5 celsius. The week before it was -35.

All in all, the temperature varied from -5 (warmest) to -20 (coldest). That cold is very much more bearable than, say, -1 in Paris, because it is a really dry cold, and as long as there is not too much wind, it's ok.

My category 4 sunglasses (with which you can't drive because it's too dark) never left the bag because the sun actually doesn't rise there at all at this time of the year. Between 12am and 3pm there is pretty good light, but you don't see the sun. After [sign in to see URL] - [sign in to see URL] pm the night falls and it's completely dark.

I could try several things there, including "snow mobile", which is like a motorcycle but made to slide in the snow. Very fun but pretty tiresome after a full day of crossing plains and especially forests. I liked the whole thing and I am now seriously considering going to a snowmobile-only trip through northern Canada or northern Scandinavia up to the Arctic ocean, although this will probably require me to get a good physical preparation. The day after the day of driving the snowmobile, my arms and rest of the body were really sore.

Riding the snowmobile at full throttle in the polar night was something.

I've also did some husking. It was early in the morning, the dogs were well rested and really strong. It was a challenge to keep them stopped when we had to stop. They seemed to enjoy it as much as I did.

I've even did some mountain skiing in the city of Saariselka, but to be honest, you don't go to Finland for that. The tracks are short and too easy even for a barely intermediate like me. However, the skiing in the polar night was very pleasant. I was with a few peeps and some of them were advanced skiers, so trying to keep with their pace made me fall pretty hard a few times, but the snow kept falling all the time, so landing on the soft fresh snow wasn't too bad. Their local "Tunturikakao" drink (hot chocolate with a good dose of brandy) made up for all the fallings.

The food there had quite a bit in common with russian food. A lot of boiled potatoes with herbs, beef meat balls, boiled saussage, cheese, beet, black bread. And large amounts of SOUP. I love soup, so it was all good. Salmon or meat soups, shroom soups, they put everything in soups and it makes unbelievably tasty soups. Their desserts, however, are so-so, but who cares. You go there for the SOUP!

Reindeers themselves are great to look at and be with, but much less great to eat. I've eaten it twice and didn't like it all that much. Beef is much better in my opinion. Reindeer in soup, however, is good (they make everything taste good in soup because I think they add cream or milk to the soups).



The life appeared pretty hard for the locals (they call themselves "Saami") because of the cold and darkness. It appeared to me that they have to do everything right in order to survive. The houses have to be built in wood and have to be built the right way to resist cold, there is no room for slacking.

I've seen no bears and no penguins, only reindeers and finns, but that's ok!

All in all, I loved my stay there, and was quite sad when I had to leave. I'm already looking forward to returning to Lapland and/or other parts of northern Scandinavia as soon as possible, for a longer stay.
1/19/2004, 1:20 pm Link to post Email Thor   PM Thor ICQ AIM MSN Yahoo Blog
 
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Re: My trip to Lapland


Sounds good!

They didn't by any chance have Raccon soup, did they? I don't think Iansgirl would of liked that...




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Re: My trip to Lapland


Sounds like a great trip! emoticon

Were you able to get any pictures to post we might view? emoticon

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1/19/2004, 5:33 pm Link to post Email Jamie Lauren   PM Jamie Lauren
 
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Re: My trip to Lapland


Glad you made it back safe!

Sounds great Lapland, but soup, with reindeer

Backed and boiled reindeer...

Back to an English breakfast then!

Hans

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Re: My trip to Lapland


quote:

Thor wrote:
I'm already looking forward to returning to Lapland and/or other parts of northern Scandinavia as soon as possible, for a longer stay.



A longer stay? Do you honestly think we're ever going to let you leave again emoticon

Sounds like you had a great time, now go get me some tunturikakao emoticon


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Re: My trip to Lapland


*sees an image of thor hitting an animal with a snowscooter*

lol

sounds like you had fun

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posticon Re: My trip to Lapland


Thor is to important to leave for a longer stay there, they should come to him....
Bring Scandanavia and some reindeer to Thor's house anyone, before he leaves again..

* wonders why Thor bought a crossbow *


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Re: My trip to Lapland


Sounds like you had fun. I'd like to see a Reindeer sometime. I might be heading off to Finland sometime in the future. Would like to live somewhere in the north region of Europe in a couple of years.

Ooo, soup eh? I like soup too, but sometimes it doesnt satisfy my empty stomach. emoticon

It's good that the weather isn't very cold there, I just thought the -35 would be unbearable. But like ya said theres not much wind. Anyways, I'll stop talking, glad ya had fun.

~Zeen~

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1/21/2004, 11:38 pm Link to post PM Zeen AIM MSN
 
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Re: My trip to Lapland


Finnish soup is 100% guaranteed to satisfy even the emptiest of stomachs emoticon
1/22/2004, 9:35 am Link to post Email Thor   PM Thor ICQ AIM MSN Yahoo Blog
 
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Re: My trip to Lapland


Well I'll have to try some someday. emoticon

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