First day in Finland

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Update! See comments. 😉

7h15 Ja tenim 20 mosquits esperant per entrar dins es bany.

That is the first annotation of the day. However, time is not actually correct. I’ve had a little discussion with Marga this morning about it, while I was preparing breakfast:

– Quina hora és?
– Són les 8 menos 3.
– Eh… No Xesc, que són les 7!
– No, jo tenc les 8h.

Ummm… Strange. On her clock and mobile it was 8 o’clock, but on my mobile it was 7. I didn’t change anything. But wait. Perhaps… Oh, I have a Finland GSM provider. Let me check. Oh, and I have the feature Auto-Timezone enabled. So, it’s 8 o’clock, but in Finland. We wake up just one hour before. Marga hates me. Toni, fortunately, is still sleeping. He will kill us if we wake him. After preparing breakfast for later and having a coffee, I go outside to walk into the sun.

Fishing bridge

I go along the riverside. There is a wonderful weather outside. I take several pictures. Everybody is still sleeping. I only find one man working on his tractor, cutting the grass, and another man looking at the river. After visiting the watermill, I return to our cottage. I find Marga on the way. We agree on waking up our friend. Time to have breakfast and leave.

Leaving Kukkolaforsens camping

(*) see comments for additional incident (in Catalan)

At 11h36, we are only at 25km from Rovaniemi. After 3 coffees I’m fully awake, but I’m hungry. I’m aiming at the leftovers of Stroganof chicken from yesterday. When we arrive to the first big city of our trip, Marga goes to the touristic office, to get some info and maps to continue our route. As it takes long, I don’t hesitate in having a second breakfast.

Marga back from the tourist office

Marga returns with a bag full of propaganda, camping guides and maps. She looks very happy. She explains to us that there are only 2 camping sites in our way, and to be careful with the reindeers and mooses. The girl from the tourist office was very enthusiast. Prospects are even in Spanish! We decide to buy some stuff in a supermarket, and then continue to Napapiiri, where we’ll cross the Arctic Circle. Tonight we have to celebrate it!

Crossing the Arctic circle

Napapiiri is the city where Santa Claus has his Post Office. It is also a very touristic place, with all the souvenir shops you can imagine (and more). I buy some little presents for my nieces, and then we have our photo session. We take pictures crossing the parallel, with Sami tents, in front of the Santa Claus office… We behave like real tourists. I send a postcard to my mum and nieces,hoping that it will arrive. The stamp is a bit strange, without any currency on it. When I ask, the same stamp is valid on the whole world. Well, I try. We’ll see if it arrives.

Enviant postal de Nadal

After walking around the village once more, they let me take the car. It’s really hot inside, so we openwide the windows for a while. I ask myself why I brought a wool pullover to the Arctic. We haven’t seen any snow yet.

Atrapats al serradis

At lunch time, we have a little incident. We go through a small road to a “supposed” lake with fishing facilities, and we end up in some private houses. I want to go back, but they insist in going further. Due to my indecision, I stop. But the wheels are trapped in “serradís”, so the car is unable to move. Glups! Hopefully, our expert driver is able to move it. We have to push hard, though. Yuppie!

Reindeers on the road

No more incidents, until we cross some animals in the road. At that time I was sleeping in the car. When I turn my head, I see them. Two reindeers are walking on the road. They don’t seem to be afraid by our presence. They simply keep on walking. Amazing.

Levi, ski resort

We arrive at Leviletho apartments, our sleeping place, pretty soon. It’s only 18h30 (local time). Levi is a ski resort, and now is practically empty. That would perhaps explain why we get such a bargain. We pay 55 euro for a complete apartment with kitchen, bedroom, fireplace, dining room, bathroom, and a small entrance. When we see the kitchen and dining room we are already surprised. It’s completely equipped, We have a TV, video recorder, radio, oven, fridge with freezer, vitroceramic fire, water boiler, bread toaster, more than 20 dishes and glasses, knifes, forks, pans of all sizes… In addition, everything is of high quality. I’m amazed they are renting this apartment to us. We are even more satisfied when we enter the bathroom. There is a washing machine, so we can finally wash our clothes, and there is a sauna! Inside the bathroom! Wow! Of course, we have also a drying machine. Did I already tell you that we have a dishwasher? 😀

Canoa

After installing our things and killing a dozen of mosquitoes, we go outside for a tour. We go again to the supermarket to do some more shopping. We only need washing powder, but when we are inside, we start looking for all corridors. They have everything. Toni starts losing his patience:

– Que no hem de partir? O voleu passar es dia dins es super? Quins dos!

Our tour is quick. We see a lot of small apartments all along the place. I guess it becomes crowded in winter. We also stop nearby a lake, but I return quickly to the car. Argh! Mosquitoes are really agressive here. Even Marga and Toni start hitting themselves. Now I understand why the rent was so cheap. We decide to go back home and prepare a nice meal. 😉

Preparing food at Levi

We cut paprika in long pieces and put them in the oven. Then we boil potatoes and cook the onions with the reindeer meat. We also prepare a small salad. To drink, a glass of local beer. We finally crossed the arctic, and we found a wonderful house! Both events deserve a celebration! After dinner, we have a relaxing private sauna, and we “suam com a porcs” (sweat like porks).

Killing mosquitoes at midnight

Our midnight group photo gets a bit spoiled by the presence of those infamous insects. What he f***? Are they never sleeping? 😦

Going back to our chalet, we found a couple of seniors looking for a hotel, at midnight! We guide them to the city, where we hope they can find some room available.

Esto es todo, amigos!

Map

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2 Responses to First day in Finland

  1. Marga i Toni says:

    Crec que aqui falta una menció al petit incident amb sa farola i el polo a sa partida de kukkolaforsen!!!

  2. xesc says:

    Estau segurs? Mira que si després ho llegeix Europcar… No hauriem de pagar de més… 😀

    Bueno, ho escriurem en mallorquí, i així no s’enteren. De fet, en mirar les fotos vaig tenir el dubte existencial de si posar o no la foto comprometadora. Na Marga amb la seva careta d’angelet, com si dir “jo no he fet res dolent”, i noltros mirant el cop al cotxe. Sort que no anàvem molt aviat i que hi vàrem tocar de ple, que si no…

    I és què, havia de passar, havíem de “rasguñar” es cotxe en qualque moment. Tot per partir amb presses. Sempre amb es coet a n’es cul. Marga al volant, Toni de copilot, i la parella Tux & Xesc a darrera mig dormitant.

    “Que hi ha cap cotxe a darrera?”, na Marga demana.
    “No, però hi ha una farola.”, responc mig de broma mig en sèrio.

    Entre la musiqueta i que no acab de vocalitzar, se veu que no ens vàrem entendre. Jo tampoc vaig mirar si seguíem fent marxa enera o què. I amb això que sentim:

    “Toc!”

    I el cotxe s’atura. Na Marga té el ssuto de la seva vida. Surt tota desesperada per veure si el cotxe és viu o mort. La resta aprofitam per fer-li abús. Bueno, en Tux se comporta i
    no diu res. Jo faig les fotos oprtunes, per deixar constància. Sempre és útil tenir alguna foto compromesa per si després jo faig qualque desastre. 😉

    Res que amb la brutorada que duu el cotxe, no se veu res. Ni tan sols ha saltat pintura. La farola està intacta. No hi ha ferits. Ni tan sols hem mort un mosquit! Pujam al cotxe. No sé els altres, però jo encara me xapava es cul. 😀

    Després me va tocar a mi l’episodi del serradís… Si és que no tenim passada bona.

    Au, vaig a dormir! Ve’t a saber que m’espera demà! Avui ha tocar reparar la centraleta telefònica. No vegis tu quina emoció! 🙂

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