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|From: "Kate McMullin" <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
Date: Sat, 27 Jul 2002 07:48:40 +1000 (EST)
OK, this covers a few days, and will be fast. On Wednesday we started on our trip with Kati and Mikko to Lapland (Northern Finland, Norway, Sweden and Russia). We stopped on the way for Bron and Mikko to go whitewater rafting, at Muonio, on the Tornio River. This river forms the border between Finand and Sweden, with the border being at the deepest point of the river - so they apparently crossed the border about 20 times. Kati and I just watched and took photos! A friend of Kati's, Mari, is a guide on the river and local area, so she showed Kati and I around, to the best vantage points. After the boys were dry again, we went back to Mari's house and ate smoked perch and salmon. The fish had been caught an hour earlier in the river by the house, and had come straight out of the smoker. We then had cloudberries and icecream for desert. Cloudberries are a relative of the raspberry, and are a yellow/ orange colour, and slightly tart. Rather nice, but quite rare and difficult to pick. They grow in swamps (ie areas infested with mozzies), and are small plants that bear only a few plants. We then arrived at our destination, Kilpisjärvi, quite late (although very light still, of course). The lodge place was towered over by the 2nd highest mountain in Finland, Mt. Saana. As the sun was still up, we started walking at midnight, so get a good view of the world. It's so beautiful and clear up there, althought it's hard work to get there. There are step that have been constructed to preserve the ground, but they are very hard work. Just too long for me walk up comfortably, and too short for two decent sized steps! After the steps was a lot more mountain to get to the top. I decided before we got to the top that I was getting too tired to be able to get down again safely, so I left the others (the path was very clear, and the light was fine, so there was no danger) and returned to the room. Of course I forgot to get the room key before I left, so I sat outside for half an hour or so before they turned up. We're still sore from those stairs... We slept late on Thursday, but got up in time to get breakfast (bufet, so ate as much as possible). We then drove to Norway and saw the fjords, waterfalls and lots of beautiful scenery, however it was quite cloudy/ misty, so many of the mountains were cut in half. Bron decided he wanted to swim in the Artic Sea, so we found a secluded beach and he went in. It wasn't really a swim, more like a dip, as he was in the water for barely a minute, although he did get fully submerged at one point. We then drove down to Levi, a popular ski resort, but cheap in the summer. We had booked a room for 4 but found that the room was only made up for 3, so we had to sort that out - we ended up getting two rooms for the same price as we'd already started to use the first room. So it was nice to get a great room to ourselves for very little! The hotel included use of the gym, sauna and spa, so we made use of those facilities before having dinner and going to the pub across the road. We then stayed up chatting until about 2am, so were very tired again... Woke up in time to make it to breakfast, then went back to bed. We got up in time to check out by 12 (just), then went for a swim again. The mountain had a ride, like a toboggan on a track, that they wanted to try out. It was on one of the ski slopes, and they got to take the lift to the top. They looked like they had fun... We drove up the mountain and saw the views from the top of the ski slopes. They look so different and rocky in the summer. The snow is usually a few metres thick up there, so the rocky ground is irrelevant! Later we made it through to Rovaniemi, where we visited Santa in his grotto. I sat next to him (not on his knee) and had a chat. How embarrassing! So much expensive Christamssy merchandise, and arrangements of Christmas songs playing all the time. It was getting pretty late by then, so we drove right through to Oulu and back to Kati and Mikko's place, and did our washing. Train through to Sweden tomorrow. Taken lots and lots of photos. 20 rolls won't be nearly enough - we're seeing too many new things!
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