Friday, December 23, 2011

Lapland Part Two

On Monday after skiing we went to a local high school in the town of Muonio. Here we had a talent show where many of the different countries did patriotic or just funny acts, and some of the local high schoolers played some music and there were even some who even had did this fire twirling thing, which was really awesome. It was a pretty fun time there. We all enjoyed the acts that many of the countries did, and everyone wanted to go to Brazil afterwards since they did such a good act. That night also founded the tour’s theme song, a brazilian song called Ai Se Eu Te Pego. Everyone was singing it for the rest of the tour and a lot of time afterwards. 

On Tuesday, which was our busiest day. We did several different things. It started early in the morning and all the busses took off for different things. Our bus went first to a place where we saw a slideshow about Lapland (the music of the show was hard to listen to so early in the morning and keep your eyelids open) and then we were in some place with information on different types of wildlife in Lapland. I was surprised to learn that ptarmigans live in Lapland. I didn’t know that ptarmigans would live on other continents than North America. 

After that we all took group pictures from our bus. It was fun. An interesting thing about Lapland, that was noticeable today especially is that they don’t really have the sun, but they do have daylight, and in the daylight, everything turns a blueish twinge. Which was seriously cool. It made everything soooo pretty! 
Then after that place we went and met a reindeer herder, and she told us about the traditions of reindeer herding. And showed us some of the clothes that they wore, and showed us pictures from herding and showed us some of the tools that they used and all that. The reindeer herders have this “sport” where they get behind reindeers with skis and then the reindeer pull them on a track, and it seems really crazy. And then the reindeer “princess” a girl in traditional clothes, awards the cup to the winner. Tuesday was one of my oldies’ (from Australia) birthday so everyone made her dress up like the reindeer princess. It was quite interesting to see all the very old and traditional clothes that the people wore, and still wear (when herding reindeer) today. 

So then before we went back to the hotel for lunch we had a little extra time. The town we were in was Muonio, which is right next to the swedish border. There is river that separates the two countries and our hotel was actually right on the river. So you could see Sweden right on the other side. And so since we had some extra time we actually went to Sweden for a few minutes. We went to the bridge that separates the two countries and we all ran around on the bridge for a few minutes, and then went back to the hotel for lunch. 
Sweden, From the hotel 


The sign that separates Finland on one side and then Sweden on the other side.

After lunch we went snowshoeing to a reindeer farm. I didn’t snowshoe because I had messed up my knee yesterday, so I got a ride on a snowmobile, and then I got to drink Glögi (traditional Christmas drink, you’ll hear more about it in my next post) and wait for the rest to come to the farm. 

So then while at the farm we were put into groups of three’s and then three groups at a time we went on Reindeer sleigh rides. They were really short (and we were right behind the reindeer, so the smell wasn’t great) but it was really cool. And then everyone got a chance to go on a ride, and then after all the rides we were able to take pictures with the reindeer. 

After the reindeer rides, we went back to the resort and then we went to the dog sledding part of the resort, where they had over 100 huskies that pulled dog sleds. We went on dog sled rides, which were also short, but the dogs went so much faster than the reindeer! They went so fast it hurt my eyes to be open and watching. It was also another really cool thing. 

After the dog sled ride we looked around the dog sledding place. There were so many dogs!! They were so cute!! And there were puppies! I loved the puppies so much!!! I wanted one so badly!!

Then we went back to the hotel and had dinner. Tuesday was Finland’s independence day. But Finns don’t celebrate their independence really big at all, they really just act respectfully and light candles, and if we were in our host family’s houses, they would probably be watching the independence day dance that the president hosts (my host father has made it quite clear to me how much he hates that dance). But we really didn’t do anything special. 

That night we also all gathered and had a “party” where we had a reindeer herder that came and sang songs, and the oldies all gave out gifts to their favorite newbies, and then some people had some skits and it was all pretty fun. 

Then next day we got up early and went on the busses and drove three hours south to Roveniemi. Which is right on the arctic circle, and boast being the home of Santa Claus.  We went to “Santa’s village” which was actually just a bazillion gift shops, and some reindeer, and there was also his office where you could take a picture with him and pay a lot of money, but I didn’t get a chance to meet him. But I did some shopping there. And that was fun. 

A Post in Roveniemi that said how far to different places all over the world

Santa's office

Then we went to lunch and we had to say goodbye, which was super sad because there were some people there that I would never see again. Which was sad. But we managed it, because all the people that I was closer with I would see again this year. 
Then we had the grueling 14 hour bus ride in front of us, which was passed by sleeping (only a little) and the TV show friends. And then we arrived back home in the south at 5 am the next day. Fun!
But Lapland was a really great time and it was soooo short and that is what is so sad about it!! 

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