Monday, 3 October 2011

68 The long journey South

Thursday 29th September.
A little bit of information about where we spent the last 3 days in the fishing Village Gjesvaer
The village is 34k’s north west of Honningsvag and has about a 150 inhabitants. It was not until 1976 that a road connected the village with the rest of the island. Up until that point local boats were the only form of transport.
In the Viking age, Gjesvaer was known as a trading post and fish station and was presumably the first site at Mageroy (the island that all these places are on) which had a permanent settlement. From the early Middle Ages and up to the last century, the village was one of the largest and richest fishing villages in Finnmark.  They supplemented their food with cloudberries, mountain cranberries and blueberries, which down through the ages provided an important source of vitamin C.  There are not many trees as the tree line goes approximately 150k’s south of North Cape.
We have really enjoyed our stay here, and would recommend a visit if you are up this way.
On a different note, we have had a very relaxed start to the morning and are planning to go out on our own little safari today and maybe do a bit of walking.  The weather is very changeable at the moment, rain then sun, but it is very windy and that makes everything seem much colder.
Later that day....
We decided to slob it all day and did not move from the cabin. Having spent the last 2 weeks driving we decide to rest up and read our books. It was a welcome break. 
The living room

The bathroom - sitting room only - including to shower

The dining room cum bedroom

Friday 30th Sept.
It was a dark and stormy night and the skipper said to his mate “Hey mate, spin us a yarn” and the mate began “It’s was really bloody wet and windy out there all night. Glad we hadn’t been camping in this! My friend Marietta texted me to say she was basking in temperatures of 29 degrees.  I thought we had at least 9 degrees, but it turned out we only had 6.  We packed up and wished a fond farewell to our lovely host, Bjorn and our cosy little cabin. Finland. Onwards and southwards.
The last of the coast, from here we turn South and inland where land gets flatter
Entering Finland and Lappland
We got into Finland at about 4.50pm and immediately the clocks jumped forward another hour. We are now 2 hours ahead of you back in Britain.  It was starting to get dark and we were still along way short of a campsite, so off to the woods we go to wild camp.  I became the wood gatherer and fire starter.  My time in the girl guides served me well.  Ray was bedroom monitor and then we pooled resources to make dinner.  It was a beautiful starry night, but seriously cold.  This is the price you pay for beauty.  I still get a little bit nervous when we are miles from anyone or anywhere, I think it comes from watching too many scary movies, because when I get settled, there is no better feeling than being this close to nature.  GPS N 69 18 28.9 E 26 40 40.8
Sitting by the camp fire trying to keep warm. It was windy and very cold.

It was a seriously cold night though, about  -1, however we both slept well, and as everything we have in Gromit has more than one use, Leon doubles as a great hot water bottle, even if it does purr.

Saturday 1st October.
On waking, Ray had warmed up Gromit and there was a lovely cup of tea waiting.  What a geezer.
Along with my cup of tea, there was frost on the top of the tent.  We had to let it thaw before we could stow it away, and whilst we were waiting, Ray was joined by a funny bird, about the size of a jay, but different colouring, it landed about 3 foot away from him and was watching his every move.  I reckon it just came down for a warm up and a cup of tea.  It turned out to be a Siberian Jay, and although it is not as brightly coloured as our jays, it was so inquisitive and every time we stopped, one of them would fly down and check us out.  It was quite funny.  Leon didn’t know what to make of it though.
A Siberian Jay. Unfortunately colours do not show well.
All set and ready to go. The sun is just up, a bad second to us early birds.

The day got better as the sun is shining, and the world seems a better place.  It is still only 5 degrees.  We saw a capercaillie, a strange mixture of turkey/pheasant, which is very rare in Britain . 
A Capercaillie

We were travelling through the part of Finland which is Lapland, and true to form we saw lots more reindeers all by the side of the road.  The day was spent mostly driving between us and a stop for lunch at one of these ten a penny beauty spots.
Us dressed in traditional Sami clothing. If you look close you can see an extra set of fingers next to Karens raised arm. Another Sami tradition we understand, mounting the removed fingers of previous guests.

 We came across a “Sami” Indian souvenir shop (these are the indigenous people to Scandinavia) and spent several blissful minutes in there, until I was dragged out of there screaming and bottom lip trembling. 
There were hundreds of kilometres that looked just like this. Road, trees and sky. Nothing else.
A stop for lunch. Karen drove Gromit through the woods to get passed the boulder roadblock to get here.

A view of the lake where we had lunch.
Leon playing by the waters edge.
 Ray found this little fellow in the leaves.

One of the things we saw as we travelled, was a hotel, which had seprate cabin style rooms that were shaped like igloos and had glass roofs, it looked like great fun, but as with a lot of places up here at the moment it was shut.
Funny looking Igloo type glass houses.
Not a sign you see everyday.

It would appear that from about 16th September to 16th October, everybody has a month’s holiday as they prepare themselves for the Christmas and skiing seasons.   We came across a nature reserve and had a wander along the path which was two planks of about 400meters, over some very wet, peaty land towards a lake, unfortunately all the birds seem to have already gone south.
The planks to the nature reserve. Serious bog either side.
Where have all the birds gone ? Note the new Norwegian jumper now we are in Finland.
Wild camping again, this time near Lake Viojarvi.  More songs around the camp fire, and Leon joined in too.  It was a very clear night again, but the Northern lights came up clearer on the camera, than we could see them with the naked eye...   GPS N 67 04 42.7 E 26 38 37.2
Its difficult to get the cat to sit still for 30 seconds!

A view from the other side.

The Aurora Borealis

More Aurora

Even more

The Milky Way, the trees are red from the fire

Sunday 2nd October
It started off a dry morning, and we hit the road.  The heavens opened.  It was absolutely horrible and we pulled into a garage on the Arctic Circle going south this time for a coffee. 
The sign says it all. The second crossing of the Arctic Circle.
Santa - in case you forgot
The Acric Circle line inside Santa’s complex.
Leon waiting for his presents. He was disappointed.

We soon discovered that we were directly opposite Santa Clause Land, so there was nothing for it but to go and visit. “ 2 very happy hours later” we decided it was time to hit the road again.  It was a wonderful, magical place and I can only think that when the snow is about and it’s darker that Lapland and Santa Land are fabulous.  I don’t care how old you are, you soon get captured by the moment, well, I did.  I did however draw the line at visiting Santa in his grotto and sitting on his knee asking for something nice!!!!
We drove another 200k’s south and have stopped at a place called Ll. That’s it, no vowels, no more letters.  The weather is awful and we have decided to be soft and booked into a little cabin for the night. GPS N 65 19 35 E 25 22 29. They have washing machines but no drier - whats the point of that ?

Monday 3rd Oct.
We spent a while sorting ourselves out and left about 11am. The sky was clear but the overnight rain maid the whole journey misty and vision was limited to the road ahead and the lines of trees either side.

It did not slow us down - we always drive at a snails pace
 It got better later, road, trees and sky for hundreds of Kms.

 This made me laugh though.
I do not think even Toyota thought their car would fit these tyres.
We finally ended up at a campsite at a town called Kuopio. Guess what, no washing machines.
GPS N 62 52 02 E 27 38 41.

1 comment:

  1. The pics of the stars and the lights are amazing!! Another pic stolen for my background lol