The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze.--Richard Bode

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

South of the Arctic Circle again

I have been trying to learn more about the Sami people who settled the Lapland area right after the Ice Ages. They are the famous reindeer herders of the Scandinavian forests. Once upon a time they lived in tepees and were nomadic, sort of like the Plains Indians of America. Here is a picture I got off the internet.

 They may have lived kind of like the Native Americans, but they sure look a whole lot different from American Indians. Here is an example -- This young Sami man talked with me for the longest time and told me a lot about their culture. As you can see, he looks quite European.

My young Sami friend said that nobody is sure where the Sami came from, but most people think they came from the Steppes of  Russia right after the ice ages.

I went to a marvelous Sami museum to learn more.

 Out in front of the museum were some Sami houses that had been moved from their original site. This one was used by a Sami family until just a few years ago.

Here is another shot of it. Notice the smoke coming from the wood stove inside.

It was warm and comfortable inside.

The woman and man in the picture were from Belgium. They were just passing through, like me, and had stopped for a visit. The Sami family who lived here slept on reindeer skins laid over sticks. Sounds kind of uncomfortable, but I think it really wasn't bad at all.

Here is another type of building, but it was more of a work building or a storage building than a dwelling.

After visiting the museum, Odysseus and I headed on south through Sweden. It wasn't long before we came to the Arctic Circle. There was a sign there, but it  did not make for an impressive picture.

This part of Sweden south of the Arctic Circle is beautiful. It is full of mile after mile of trees.

Not long after I took that last picture, I was buzzing along at about 60 miles per hour when a reindeer ran out in front of me. I slammed on the brakes, and missed him by about 10 feet (3 meters). I don't know who was more scared, him or me. I will never forget the startled eyes on that critter. I wish I could have taken a picture. Reindeer, by the way, are cousins to the Caribou of North America, but there are some differences.

I have been gradually working my way toward the mountains that separate Norway and Sweden. I want to get back into Norway again and work my way down toward Oslo. I think that will be the best path for me, and also the most interesting.

Sweden is pretty flat, and it has a lot of lakes. The mountains tend to be in Norway.

I decided to stop for the night while still in Sweden because hotel rooms are about one third as expensive as in Norway. I am only a few miles from the Norwegian border.

As you can see from this last picture, the sky has kind of cleared up.  I hope it stays that way because now that I am south of the Arctic Circle there should be a little bit of dark night. There won't be more than an hour or so of true darkness, but solar flares are predicted for the next few days, so maybe I will be able to see the Northern Lights. That would be worth getting out of bed for.

This map will give you a general idea of where I am. Look for the red dot.

I hope the weather is clear for my Norwegian mountain riding tomorrow.