retrospective: stories from kamisak and inari

i didn’t finish telling you about kamisak husky farm. the night after we returned from husky sledding, we stayed at the farm. Mika (owns the farm) took me around the farm while he fed the dogs, and I did the annoying tourist thing of trailing behind, having trouble with the gates. All ears but no skills. Mika kindly put up with me, telling me stories of the dogs as we went past. They live in kennels, usually 2-4 in a kennel, except for Faura, who likes to live by himself. Some stories stuck with me. Two brothers, Fox and (maybe) Tibbu, always have to run together, if they are split up they won’t run. Two other brothers – one of them ran very well, and picked up everything quickly. The other one needed more time and more support. He would get all panicky if he was among the noise and bustle of a large expedition. So he tended to take quiet trips with small groups. I could tell from the way Mika told me these stories that all 96 (!) dogs were seen as individuals, and their training took place with the same philosophy that Finnish schools apparently operate under.

The guest house at the farm was outrageous in its luxury, especially after 2 nights in cosy log cabins. It was the top floor of one of the houses on the farm, with two bedrooms, a lounge room, a kitchen and a cat. There was food and drink available from a mini bar, and breakfast was included. We also bought dinner, just to add to the extravagance (also because it was unclear when we booked what other options there would be). We had the place to ourselves, and about sevenish the cook brought up a pot of chicken soup, with lots of grilled (some sort of fancy) cheese toast. He also brought up our breakfast for the morning, which was even more over the top. Different types of breads, cheeses, meat, eggs, cucumbers, tomato, cornflakes, yoghurt, juice, tea, coffee. Major excitement for scungy students like us.

Apparently, we slept right through a herd of reindeer walking through the farm during the night, and the constantly chorusing of the huskies. Bummer.

In the morning Mika came up to see if everything was all right (very much so), and to tell us that we had the run of the farm. From this conversation, it sounded like that included being able to go in the puppy kennel and play with the puppies (we even checked!) but in retrospect this probably wasn’t the case. Because of course that was the first thing we did. And of course, the pups immediately ran out of their pen. Fortunately there were only two of them, and they thought it was a hilarious game, and were quite happy to be returned to their pen. We didn’t open any more gates after that.

That afternoon was the beginning of our adventures of confusion with the Arctic Circle bus system. Everyone (Except me, it must be said. I was no help in this situation.) had an idea of when the bus left, and everyone’s idea was different. But we found a bus eventually, one that was even heading in the right direction. Bonus. At the end of the line we were in Inari, about 300 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, where it was rapidly approaching blackness. It was about 3pm. The town seemed small and like it had shrunk for the winter (which indeed it had). It took us a little while to find the backpackers, which was effectively next door. But we found it, with a little art shop attached, and our little attic room, with its pride of lions toilet. We did very little for our two days in Inari, took photos, went to art shops, walked next to a frozen lake, found a nice restaurant. SIIDA, the museum and Sami cultural centre, was very impressive. The two permanent indoors exhibits (Lapland and Sami history and culture, and the different seasons in a year in this part of the world) are packed with information – almost to a fault. Take food supplies if you want to get the most out of it. They do provide a nice lunch as well. The Northern Lights show is just a whole lot of pictures of the Northern Lights. Pretty, but not necessary to see, and I wanted more information about why they exist. SIIDA also has an outdoor exhibition in summer, which I expect would be amazing.

I met two more huskies in Inari, as well as some couldn’t-care-less ponies. One of the huskies was part-wolf, and very gentle. The other one wasn’t at all interested in me – I think because I wasn’t a sofa.

Heading off to Helsinki was the last episode of our adventure of confusion with buses. They all seemed to be heading somewhere that was not a place I was aware of. And then I had a moment of confusion about ticket prices and was probably not very nice to the bus driver. (Fortunately, I’m told that Finns just assume you’re having a bad day when you are unnecessarily rude. I greatly appreciate this character trait.) But then when we got to the bus stop where we had to change, again at a time which seemed to be unsure of itself, the nice driver wrote down when the next bus was apparently coming, and then cheerfully drove off with our bags. Now we assumed that he was just going to put them in the next bus for us, and wasn’t paying me back for being rude. This is of course what happened, but it was an hour’s wait tinged with a little anxiety.

And you already know what happened when we got to Helsinki.

~ precis of

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About precisofelsewhere

travelling and studying in and around finland. enjoying snow, meeting new people and struggling with a new language.
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