Saturday, August 8, 2009

A different kind of reindeer....

As I mentioned before, my mother came out for a visit from the UK, in July. Whilst she was here, I was working on the whole, during the day, but took long weekends instead. With it being a fairly new job, I couldn't take time off.

Anyway, when my Mum was here, it was her birthday, so we threw her a party. That was on the first weekend here. A few friends came too, that had met her before on one of her other visits.

We made chinese, something that you can only get if you drive at least an hour or two - and even then, ours is much better! LOL! It was a boiling hot day, so not the time to be making peking duck, spare ribs, double fried chili beef, chicken and cashew nut, egg fried rice and desserts! It was worth it though.. who knows when I will next spend a birthday with my Mum? Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and appreciated the food too!

Later on in her stay, we drove north to show Mum what was there. We had explained that pretty much, it was forest, forest and more forest... but still we went! We just pointed north and drove.. not planning anywhere at all... just seeing where we ended up. Yeah... we went out as a different kind of reindeer (tourists!)

We drove through Vuotso, which is the border to Saami land. Everything from there on is in duplicate - Finnish and Saami language - two totally different languages.

At the border there is a shop called Sompion lahja ja koru (Sompio's gift and jewellery) which is decorated on the outside with the Saami flag painted on its wooden walls. It also has a curio outside, one of those very beach like quirks you might find in many a tourist destination... where you stand behind an image and put your head through the hole, to look like another person. I have been to this place before and I have to say that this curio is really good and has stayed in excellent condition - although of course, they bring it in during the winters!

We had a laugh with it as you can see. We were in fits, as Mum had her head at just the right angle and it seemed to be totally in keeping, not out of place at all.

Me at my inelegant best! :D


Outside, there are also examples of the old Saami way of life. There stands to the right of this photograph a njalla, which is the old way to keep foods during the winter, up high above the snow and hopefully bear free.

Also an uncovered lavvu (kota teepee) type home. Traditionally the way the Saami would live - oh.. and there was also a rather unfed 'reindeer'...LOL!

We went into the shop, where you can have a go at horn pyrography if you wish and the owner can give you a certificate to say that you have officially crossed the Saami border. As I knew they did this, (and for free) I asked them to supply my Mum with one when she paid for her goods. Mum didn't have a clue of course, as I had asked in Finnish.

Mum with the leather art on the shops doorway, decorated with the noitarumpu symbols.

We then went on again and there was another spot on the other side of the road, that took my eye, but by then we had decided to focus on another place, so we didnt stop.. but I would like to go back there one day. It has lots of decorations outside...ok, a bit touristy.. but it looked cute.

Finally, we ended up in Saariselkä. A nice area, which has recently undergone a major facelift, to enable many more tourists to stay there.. By the time we actually got there, we only had time to get a bite to eat and hit one of the shops there, the Kuukkeli, which is a rather large place, that has a little bit of there weren't so many photos taken there..too busy shopping! I have some other general photos, but will blog those later...

However, there is a wonderful piece of simple artwork there in Saariselkä....quite appropriate for me of course! So, I had to have a photo of it. There are quite a few references to rainbows in that village and I believe that there is a company called rainbow's end there too.

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