The Bumble crew were up and off before the mosquitos could catch us. Either that or a Lidl looms! A Lidl, I hear you say, yep and Craig is all fired up and ready to pounce. He has checked out the nearest Lidl – you can download all the Lidl coordinates and upload in to your GPS system. Makes shopping easy. Craig’s not been this excited since, well I cant remember when but needless to say he is a wee bit giddy. Our Euro’s are loaded in the wallet, bags are ready just a few hundred kilometres to go!
We drove and drove. That is what you do in Lapland, you jump on the Arctic Road and drive. You drive and you drive and you drive, advancing from one forest to the next, creeping across a landscape full of big blue puddles aka lakes. This country is beautiful and we would love to go and explore. You know, like walk in the forest or a stroll along the lake but nah. Not a chance unless we come across some mosquito body armour. We have never been anywhere on this planet with so many mosquitos. Shame really because the country is stunning…think next time we will visit in winter when the mosquitos are asleep.
Once at Lidl and disappeared for several hours, poor Mac n Tosh thought we’d gone on holiday without them. Lidl was heaven. We had fresh fruit and veg to choose from. In fact, we had so much variety we got confused and bought the lot. Up and down the aisle like two deranged sods. Our trolley was piled high. We departed Lidl some £90 lighter and a ton heavier. Vin’s cupboards were bursting at the seems. It was wonderful to have choice and all at normal prices.
We travelled a few kilometres down the road to a small picnic spot on a lake. Lunch time…at 3pm and pizza time. Its been 10 weeks since we had a simple pizza. Whilst the pizza was cooking we tapped and unwrapped all the goodies from Lidl. Getting rid of all the boxes, cutting things up in a portions sizes and freezing them etc etc.
As we unpacked, we noticed a motorhome next to us with a strange couple lurking around. The woman was swinging in the doorway and the fella was leaning on the bonnet. Both around 50 or so. At first, we thought pimp and pro but after 5 minutes a van pulled up. They zoomed over. Next minute there were a dozen dozen folk all around the van eagerly waiting for the back doors to open. The doors flung open and out pops a chap with a white bucket filled with stuff then another white bucket…the buckets kept on coming. Inside the buckets, orange stuff all from Ukraine (vehicle registration). We have no idea what it was but it looked like small round meet balls covered in orange chilli sauce. Once the buckets were out the fun began.
The bartering for orange balls. It was was serious stuff, the scales were out, the pen and paper. It was like a ping pong match with our heads going from left to right as the bartering went in to full swing. In the end the motorhome pimp and pro won the lot and they scooped all their orange balls in to their buckets, loads them in the motorhome and shot off. We were left gob smacked at the whole affair and yip, a bloody burnt pizza! Serves us right for tooting.
After a burnt pizza, we set off and drove, drove, drove.
We pulled in at one of the many picnic spots with a service station sign. There we were greeted with a huge Finnish statue of Marta painted in bright colours with a sleigh. Behind a small cafe with a fence made out of old sleighs.
More driving then whoa! What happened? Did we drive on to a runway by accident? Out of nowhere the standard A road turned in to a 12 land road without any markings. It was weird and totally messed with our heads. We seriously thought we had taken the wrong turning or wandered on to an airstrip by accident. It wouldn’t be so bad but there are no cars around here to check out if you are right or wrong. We carried on but as well as look ahead, we looked over head just in case.
The vast northern land of the midnight sun has crystal blue lakes, rushing rivers, and more forests than you can shack a stick at. We fancied a little forest adventure and as luck would have it, we spotted a forest camping sign. We followed the directions, which took us to a quaint little picnic area with basic facilities.
We pulled in and parked Vin in one of the many little private ‘garden’ parking bays. Surrounded by trees and bushes on a nice lawned area, free wild camping doesn’t get much better. A little walk around the facilities to get our bearings to find natural toilets…wooden hut with hole and a side ordering of peat to over your waste. An au natural bath, gap in the bushes for immediate access to the running river. A wooden bridge takes you over the river on to one of the many walking trails. A forest sign kindly reminds you to be aware of the bears and wolves. Jeez Mac n Tosh no howling tonight, please.
At the end of the wooden trail, a lovely communal area with log fire, seating and small huts for night time huggles. On the entrance a sign saying you can now ‘dial a fishing license’. You simple phone a number, register your name, quote the reference on the wall and pay £15 pp. Once complete you receive a license via text message and off you go fishing. How cool. Apparently, there are many organised places to rest in the Finnish national parks. These include lean-tos with fireplaces and wilderness cabins. Some of them are designed only for daytime stay, but there are some where you can spend a night. In some cases you can reserve a cabin for a moderate fee of a few euros and have the whole cabin at your disposal. Other cabins are shared with other hikers. You can get info about cabins from a local visitor centre or online.
Tonight, a group of around 50 Polish are enjoying a canoe club adventure. They are out having a ball. Everyone is gathered around the open fire telling tales and stories as well as toasting marshmallows and swinging moonshine.
Earlier today, we had the bright idea of having a BBQ in the sun but we completely forgot about the aggressive little Finnish vampires. With a nice selection of BBQ foods we prepared the cadac barbie along with 500 mosquito coils around our perimeter. Despite the hot, humid weather we put on the long trousers, long sleeves, socks, repellant and head scarf…and ventured outside to enjoy a summer BBQ in the middle of the wilderness.
Our wild camping spot tonight is on a free picnic spot with great facilities. The place doesn’t have a name but the village of Vikajarvi is not far up the road.
GPS position N066.619525 E026.185614
Weather: Low 13, High 28 perfect mosquito weather.