Kate and Bron's Diary for 2002-07-26

Stayed the night in Oulu

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From: "Kate McMullin" <kate@brong.net>
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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