When you wake up so cold that your bones hurt, then you really understand the value of good equipment and specially quality sleeping bags.
Last fall we took our Countryman out for a ride, around the Scandinavian Arctic territory.
We started from Helsinki, our home town right in the southern coast of Finland. Our first aim was to get to Oulu on the first day, it’s about 500-600km drive. We stopped at Tuuri, where the “World’s largest Village store” is situated. Tuurin kyläkauppa is something of a famous sight in Finland, mainly because it’s owner Mr. Vesa Keskinen lives a very public life usually on the pages of yellow press. Tuuri was… well, just as i thought it would be, full of all kinds of things on sale. After Tuuri was seen we headed towards Oulu up the finnish western coast to spend the night at Nallikari camping. Along the way we made a short stop at Kalajoki on the western coast. Kalajoki has magnificient beaches that i haven’t seen in Finland anywhere else – quite unusual here. We arrived at Nallikari Camping late at night and made camp. It was a very could and wet night as the air moisture made it feel even colder. When you wake up so cold that your bones hurt, then you really understand the value of good equipment and specially quality sleeping bags. Nallikari had good facilities for campers and the area is wide enough so that the rock consert going on on the other end of camping didn’t bother our sleep.
Next morning we headed towards Rovaniemi where we stopped to update one of our sleeping bags after the first nights cold experiences. Just a few kilometers north of Rovaniemi there’s also a very famous Finnish man’s house. The Santa Claus Village is situated at Rovaniemi right on the arctic circle border!
From Rovaniemi we just kept heading north, thru Sodankylä to Ivalo and Inari. The scenery kept changing as we headed further up to Lapland and started seeing more and more reindeer and fells. Finally we got to our destination to spend the night at the doorsteps of Kevo nature reserve on one of the northest points of Finland. Offcourse since we were there we had to walk a little into the reserve to see the nature. Kevo and the famous Kevo canyon is definately a place to visit and do a longer hike. Hope to be there for a little bit longer the next time im there. The night was much better since we had updated our second sleeping bag to a heavier model!
After breakfast and morning coffee we started our trip on the Norwegian side of the border. There’s very little signs of the borders between Norway, Finland and Sweden. On the border from Kevo to Norway there were some border posts but i dont think that there are any border control or guards on these borders, anyway there’s no need for control as the Northern countries live in a tight symbiosis. On the border area we encountered a large fog, you can see it in the picture’s driving donhill towards the foggy blanket and diving into it.
We were on our way to Nordkapp, the northest place in continental Europe that you can reach by land. The route to Nordkapp was fun to drive and passed by some beautifull scenery. The most exciting part of the route was the almost 7 kilometers long tunnel that connects Nordkapp to continental Norway.
Nordkapp itself is situated on an island where the scenery is very rough. There are hardly any trees and the wind was blowing intensively the whole time we were there, but still there’s something beautiful about the hars nature on the edge of continental europe. The Nordkapp center itself is worth the visit with it’s exhibitions and museums. There are two kinds of tickets to enter the Nordkapp center area, depending on the time you want to spend there. They also charge extra for a ticket to visit the exhibitions; we paid to visit the exhibitions but since there was nobody checking our ticket after we entered the area, we felt a little cheated because we could have paid less and still got to see the exhibitions.
We had planned to spend the night in Nordkapp but didn’t. Since it was still quite early after we had toured the Nordkapp center we desided to continue our journey south along the Norwegian coast, heading towards Lofootten…