Up not so bright and early. Sitting in the car doing very little is exhausting it seems. Chris is always reliably there to coax me out of bed with a coffee.
Those who do not know me might wonder why the name of my blog, when I rarely mention coffee. Those who do, know that my day is punctuated and nutured by it. No work day starts without it, and the pace of a work afternoon demands it. Weekends are not dissimilar, morning coffee inhaled as I pound the beach, the afternoon a treat, not really needed, but much loved.
My biggest concern when we started travelling…was not about space, time away or living in close proximity (wardrobe, shoes and makeup being non negotiable essentials). It was “but where will my coffee come from?”
At home I have a wonderful network of weekday and weekend baristas who keep me in my drug of choice. Some even know me well enough to adjust strength by the look on my face or the pace at which my approaching stilletos hit the footpath… but on the road, I have be known to cry tears of frustration trying to explain a 3/4 cap to a hapless listener.
It was Chris who came to the rescue, experimenting until he hit on a solution that worked, with an old school Italian espresso maker. It’s this treat he wakes me with each morning, a guarantee of coaxing me out of bed. But I digress. Finland it is.
We resume our drive to Inari along the rollercoaster road of endless forest. It’s very sparsely populated this far north. We see occasional Sami shops and settlements but no evidence of farming. The villages that are mentioned on the map pass only by signpost – no discernable village is seen. I use the time to do a little research. Finland will challenge us in the motorhome – there is no LPG in the country and service points are virtually none existent.
Finland is also a land of water it seems. It’s everywhere, in damp marshes, still lakes, gentle rivers and streams. The whole of Lappland must be quite low lying as much of it is very wet, despite the map showing that most of the network of lakes is in the South.
We see lots of reindeer today. They graze peacefully or trott across the road, their white tails flashing. The Finnish reindeer seem a little lighter and more delicate than the Norwegian ones. Lots of stunning antlers on display and many babies staying close to their mothers.
When we finally arrive in Inari, there’s another treat. Joy of joys, a Finnish red squirrel flashes across a park. He’s gorgeous, 80% tail, a little darker than his red body. Quite different to the English ones. Try as I might I can’t entice him over, but he does put on a fabulous acrobatic display in the trees. I get so excited I give myself a headache. Brain freeze, my sister says.
The park, alongside the Inarijarvi river is also home to an array of mushrooms. I just love how they are absolutely everywhere. They still continue to be enormous.
We stop for supplies – also very good here, then hit the road again. Our aim is Santa’s village – yes folks, it’s real. Santa lives in Lappland and his reindeer prance about, showing us the way.
Later we spend a peaceful night lakeside. We are still inside the Arctic Circle, but it’s August, past the height of the midnight sun. It’s certainly not fully dark by any means, but there’s a hint of night to come.