So I've now been in Inari for 3 weeks!! Which seems like a crazy amount of time- I'm starting to feel like this is my home and that I have been here for a very long time, and it feels like I have done so much for such a short time. Most of the time when I'm not with the horses and huskies we're making dinners for everybody, or aurora hunting, or hiking and cycling and exploring the area, so there's not an awful amount of time for messing around on the internet, especially when the weather is so beautiful (we've had some wonderful sunny cold days the last few weeks- a welcome break from rain!) I'm currently looking after the handicraft shop for my host, and so can play around on the laptop here. This is still the quiet season so not many tourists come in, but there have been a few, and so some very awkward moments when people start talking Finnish to me, and I have to explain I'm from England. Then then look extremely surprised and ask "but why are you here?!?" and seem unconvinced when I tell them how beautiful it is here, and how much nicer it is than England. I can also see them thinking what the fuck is someone who doesn't speak Finnish doing in a shop in Finland. Keeping my fingers crossed for non Finnish tourists to walk in next.....
Very much wanting to catch myself up on the blog front so going to try and speed through the rest of my Scandinavian adventures, picking back up from feeling grumpy about leaving Bergen and flying to Stockholm.
|Chris and our yummy vodka|
The hostel was amazing, as well as a free sauna to use, free pasta for guests, there were free mac computers everywhere, the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in at a hostel, and a really cool crowd of travellers. Whilst checking in I noticed an advert on the desk asking for tourists to take part in filming for a Swedish TV show- 'Färjan'- 'The Boat'. It would include an all expenses paid cruise to and from Finland, and they'd film us as we wandered around the boat 'experiencing swedish culture'. Anyway, after a few emails, I struck lucky and they replied saying yes, we want you! But we need you later today, you'll come back tomorrow afternoon, and you need to have some friends. So I turned to my travel buddy and my new Stockholm friends from the hostel and everybody was up to it, so 4 of us ended up rocking up to a random port in Stockholm with an overnight bag waiting for a camera crew to turn up...
Luckily they did, and we boarded this HUGE fancy cruise boat, found our cabins, and signed our lives away agreeing to be hooked up to microphones and filmed for tv!
|Sailing through the Stockholm archipelago!|
(Turned out the guys were both straight, and they'd promised a gay friend that they'd kiss each other on TV for him..... I was a little confused but they were cool guys to hang out with and the film crew were very happy with themselves, and me....)
The next day we got to go the spa, which was wonderful for me as I got a facial, a massage and got to nurse my hangover in the jacuzzi and sauna. Meanwhile, the guys were having a rather awkward filming session in the sauna, where they got a little bit interrogated.... They didn't really tell me everything that got asked or spoken about but all seemed rather traumatised when they came out, so I left it at that. Our next 'swedish experience' was to have a 'Fika'. A fika is a swedish word that doesn't translate directly to English, but is a very important part of a Swedish day. It is, loosely, a coffee break in which you stop and sit down, usually with other people, and have coffee and some pastries or sweet bread. It doesn't necessarily have to be coffee though- it more symbolises a sacred break of sorts, which is coveted by the naturally very busy Swedish folk. Swedish law dictates that in every workplace there must be a fika in the morning, usually around 10am, and in the afternoon, usually around 3pm. Sounds good.
So we sat and had a fika, with a selection of beautiful Swedish pastries. They then supplied us with various 'Swedish' things they had bought from the duty free shop, and filmed us exploring them. In the classically staged way they began by saying "oh hi, so what are you guys doing?" and we had to reply with the usual bullshit of "oh well we were just wandering through the duty free and thought we'd pick up some things we didn't recognise and try them out together, to get the real swedish experience!" So they filmed us trying caviar fish paste, spicy sausages and mustard, and salty liquorice (which is apparently the most wonderful thing in the world to Swedes, but is absolutely disgusting. The tradition of salty sweets unfortunately continues into Finland, where they also hide it inside fruity sweets. So you're sucking along thinking oh this is nice and then you crunch into the candy and get a salt explosion in your mouth..... If there is going to be lots of small white granuales on a candy it should be sugar, not salt!!). We also had to try Snus, which is a kind of swedish tobacco- snuff. Rather than smoke cigarettes, alot of Swedes have snus which is stuck between your gum and upper lip, and you let the tobacco enter your bloodstream that way. This would have been fine- I have a couple of friends who use snus and I've tried it before, except that was in neat little mesh packages. This snus they supplied us and wanted to film us trying was thick and black and loose in the tin. You had to pick it up, squeeze it together with your fingers and stick it under your lip, where naturally for me it all fell apart and smeared all over my teeth. Add to that the fact that it smelt and tasted absolutely disgusting, and it was not good times.
|Dancing our way through Stockholm|
(Also, apologies for the drop in writing standards and lack of jokes. It's been a long day and I'm getting a little bit sick of blogging...... Hopefully just a stage....)