One of the many good thing about long-distance cycling is that when you go to sleep, you sleep. No matter where you are, even in a tent, you just fall asleep and wake up in the morning. This is something I noticed since the beginning. One of the reasons (maybe the main one) of sleeping difficulties nowadays is that we don’t use our body anymore in the way it is planned. That’s the reason I like to have the chance to do active jobs, and holidays of course. Maybe the best way to relax your body nowadays is to use it.
But we were talking of cycling, weren’t we? So, this morning the first stop was just 25 km away. Sevettijärvi is a tiny village above a lake. You don’t have to trouble asking directions if you need to eat, buy some food, send some postcards, or just have a coffee or beer: everything is in the same building, which includes also a wonderful terrace just in front of the lake.
I decided to have a proper meal today (steak and smashed potatoes), so that I don’t have to bother in the evening cooking some pasta: bread, ham, cheese and some fruit will make the dinner.
Sevettijärvi also hosts a pretty open museum about the Skolt Sami minority, which is very nice and very little crowded. The postcards are worth mentioning, since they made them from old pictures of local Samis in their everyday lives over 50 years ago. And the open museum itself, of course, with very low-ceiling constructions in order to keep them warm.
The construction above is not a house for squirrels, as I myself thought: as the panel says, it is an old version of a fridge (or freezer, depending on the season). Since the forest around here is populated by predators (wolverines, lynxes, bears), the food was kept outside enough high so that they couldn’t reach it. The ladder was only used for reaching the “storage room”, otherwise it was taken away. Very ingenuous.
After lunch I continued my journey towards the border: while climbing the hills in front of me, I was expecting all of a sudden the huge mountains of Norway showing up in the background. I tried to make an elevation profile using the datas from Google Maps, but it seems the service I use doesn’t have information of this area. Well I could expect it.
However, ten kilometres to the border between Finland and Taarr (that is, Norway in Skolt Sami) and no huge mountains awaiting me. But a huge amount of people (Norwegians, Russians, French) in the various shops before the border. Now, just think of a place in the middle of nowhere (not difficult, just have a look at the pictures I’m posting here), and all of a sudden, a gas station, a hotel, three shops, one of which it was Alko, and tens of cars and motorcycles. I really had to pass.
The border was just behind the corner and, like the other ones I’ve seen between Finland, Sweden and Norway, quite empty. The only thing worth mentioning is the separated border crossing for snow mobiles: around here there is a huge amount of official routes for snow mobiles (with blue crosses, you can see them sometimes beside the road, otherwise they go through the woods), both in Finland and Norway. Something I must try some day. Meaning going with a winter bicycle on snow mobile routes, of course.
Here above the border, and I just noticed I missed complete the snow mobile crossing in the picture, it’s just there a bit more on the right. What the heck.
And here’s Norway: compared to the last bit of Finland I left behind, I could notice higher hills and less trees. Not real tundra, but getting closer.
And finally you reach a T crossroad, because you can’t go any further straight ahead. The end of a fjord is the beginning of the Arctic Sea! And the wonderful mouth of Neidenelva just beside it.
I decided to drop by Kirkenes, which is in the opposite direction I’m heading at, because it’s the only “big town” around here, and because it is the last Norwegian one before Russia. So, let’s go right.
Now, I said that crossing the border didn’t change the scenery too much, however once reached the first fjord, you really start to go uphill and downhill. Nothing extreme, these are not the Alps, but you should start to focus in breathing when going up, and on the brakes when going down. Today I reached a maximum speed of 52 km/h, despite the headwind that wants to be with me whenever I go.
After the last big climb, you are rewarded with the wonderful Munkefjord, which is also a protected area with a lot of paths to go even higher and enjoy the view. Not with a heavy bike though.
After the protected area (where you are not even allowed to tent), the Munkefjord joins the Neidenfjord, and I started to look for a place to sleep, and after a couple of attempts, I found a nice spot just above the fjord. And here I am, almost at midnight, writing down even too much. But it has been such a lovely day! Over 20 degrees at midday and sun all the time. Not that I can expect every day the same, but this made me forget a bit my last not-so-fortunate cycling experience in Norway.
As expected, no Internet connection for me here in the Norwegian woods, tomorrow I’ll try to check in a camping site in Kirkenes. and I’ll look for a WiFi, but above all, a proper shower!
Day 3 – Tour de Laponie 2013 – Supru – Neidenfjorden
Trip distance: 87.5 km
Actual trip time: 6 h