Gullvik to Haparanda

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

8h10
Aixecar-se costa… “Cinc minutets més”, me demanen.
El sol ha sortit i xapa roques.

We leave the camping and go directly to the supermarket. We need to get some food. We buy a special bread, kind of toasted one, very tasty to use for breakfast. We also buy some fruits, vegetables, and reindeer meat. Neither chips nor chocolate are allowed. Only “real” food. After our purchase of survival, we fill the fuel deposit completely, just to avoid any incident. We drive on small roads for a while. Then, we switch to the E-4. We should perhaps write somewhere how many kms are we making every day. When we pass by Umea, the counter indicates 1820km. I save that info on my diary. Nobody talks in the car. Marga is concentrated driving, and Toni is looking at the map. Tux is sitting with me on the rear. Both have our seatbelts fastened, and look through to the window. I guess we are all a bit tired.

Xesc at Fjäll Räven factory

Today, there is nothing special to visit. We just have to go as far as possible. I think we can arrive to Lulea, but we’ll try to arrive to Haparanda, on the border with Finland. On the way, we see a Fjäll Raven factory. I can’t resist stopping to take a picture. “Ja que hi som”, we get out of the car and visit the outlet store. My wonderful trousers are even more expensive than in Holland. Wow. We return to the car before we get in the shopping mood. We also stop at a place with a wood tower, from where you have a nice view over the woods and lakes. However, it’s shaking with the wind. Wow. It’s also starting to rain, so we have to run to the car.

Xesc on the wooden tower

We have lunch near the sea. After coffee, the usual group photo session follows. We make several stops to relax our legs. One in a place with a BBQ, life jacket and a floating dock, where we play karate for a while, as if we were children. I enjoy these moments, just like a kid will do. 🙂

Playing at the floating dock

Another stop takes place in a village (whose name I don’t remember), where a car and motorbike exhibition is taking place. All cars and bikes are extremely well entertained. Cadillac, Imperial, Renault 4TL, Harley Davidson… It’s a pleasure to look at them, and take pictures!

Renault 4TL in car exhibition

Later on, we stop at a service area for a quick “berenar des capvespre”. There is a WC. I’m curious, so I take a look. It’s clean, and there is even soap and a mirror! We look at some maps. We are close to our destination. Tux is happy.

Tux arriving to Finland

Marga, as our public relations person, makes her usual call to the closest camping. The price is a bit more expensive than usual, but we’ll have a shower inside the cottage! Yuppie! In addition, the camping is situated near a river rapids, in Kukkolaforsen. Everyday we have a better place to sleep. That’s cool.

Kukkolaförsen

We find the camping after a failed attempt. We arrive to the most touristic camping we have ever been. I think there are even hotel beds. There is a bar/restaurant, and a souvenirs shop by the reception. No question, of course, to eat in the restaurant. That will be a sacrilege to the “torrente” spirit. Not even a visit to the bar is allowed. When the friendly receptionist asks us whether we want breakfast, we say “No, thanks” all together. I think it’s clear that we will spend here only what it’s indispensable, not more. She tell us that we can also use the sauna. For free, she adds with a wink. Wow, sauna! 😀

Wooden barrel to take warm baths

After the check-in, we park our car in front of our super cottage, and go quickly to make a tour of the place. Stop. Before going out, perhaps we should use that anti-mosquitoes lotion we have. Yes, indeed. The rapids are really spectacular, but mosquitoes also are. Despite the lotion, they attack us without compassion.

Argh! Ja ens acribillen!

However, Kukkolaforsen is so special that we accept the burden. During our tour, we have seen some men half-naked drinking beer and taking a warm bath in those wooden barrels. Is that the sauna they have promised us? There are also antique wooden saunas, but none is running. We go to reception again and ask.

– No, that is for people that have ordered it. Your sauna is in the common area. You can use it, but you can lock the door. It’s there (indicating the place on the map).
– Ah, OK, Thanks again!

We go there, but it’s crowded, so we decide to have dinner first and then go to the sauna. No wooden barrels for us. Going to the cottage, we see, scattered on the grass, pieces of the Kubb game Toni told me about some days before. They teach me how to play. It’s very easy and amusing. Yet the mosquitoes attack us again. We abandon the game, but I get the idea of playing during our annual summer camp in Sa Costera.

Eating Strogonof chicken

Marga prepares a delicious Strogonof chicken with rice, and a salad with Brie cheese and cherry tomatoes. Everything is very tasty, but we have to leave some for tomorrow. We are (or at least I am) full. After dinner comes, as usual, our midnight photo and midnight bath in cold water. Tonight, we also enjoy a midnight sauna. Now (while I’m writing this), I don’t remember what came first, if the sauna or the swimming. The only think I remember are mosquitoes. Call me mosquito-paranoid if you want, but it’s not funny to be the whole day hitting yourself to kill them. Some of them contained a big load of blood. From who? 😦

Midnight sun at Kukkolaförsen

Back to the cottage, we face ourselves with an important decision: we cannot do everything we were planning to do. We should decide whether we go to Kiruna, in the middle-North of Sweden, and from there to Trömso (Norway), or if we go to Rovaniemi (Finland) and North through Lapland to Norway. We want to see Santa Claus village, and pass through Lapland to see some Sami people. But we also want to see Kiruna, a city that will be relocated soon. It’s currently over iron ore mines, and there is a danger of falling down. It’s difficult to take a decision, and more at this untimely hour, but we finally agree on …

(more in next chapter!)

Last note of the day

1h45 No me deixen escriure…

Map

Best friends

Aspect Ratio Crop and Free Rotation tools from Digikam have been my best friends during today’s photo edition. I saved a lot of pictures from being thrown away. 😉

Au, bona nit!

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4 Responses to Gullvik to Haparanda

  1. Marga i Toni says:

    Xesc, primer va haver-hi sauna i despres nedar al riu. Aixo si va haver-hi menys excuses que es dia d’abans.
    I si… ets mosquito-paranoic. Ja te val!

  2. Marga i Toni says:

    Per cert, i s’episodi serradis l’ocultes. En Toni està segur que va esser aquest dia.

  3. Tomeu says:

    > Call me mosquito-paranoid if you want

    Hi mosquito-paranoid!

    Molt bona sa foto de Kukkolaförsen, la primera amb el riu i els arbres a la dreta de la imatge. Té un contrast preciós.

    Vaig a mirar això de Kubb, a veure si en podem fer una adaptació per a sa Costera.

  4. xesc says:

    Pues no, lo del serradís va ser el s’endemà, per terres finlandeses. Ho acab de veure ara mateix, etiquetant fotos. Ja me pareixia a mi que havíem fet fotos de record. 😉

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