Monday, 6 June 2011

1 Country Down

Enontakio – Muonio    82kms  380’ ascent
Welcome to Finland where, for some reason the clocks are an hour in advance of the adjoining Scandinavian countries. Not only had we to get up an hour early but discovered that this Thursday was like a Sunday in that everything was SHUT again. 
Those of our discerning readers will have noted the lack of ascent achieved today. The Finns, it seems do do flat (well almost) so we have forgiven them the change of time and the day off.
Needless to say the day began with head winds (nothing if not consistent) but with sunshine and few hills we were happy bunnies. By midday the temperature had taken a tumble but the wind also backed down and then inevitably, it rained. However, the combination of recent warmth and rain has transformed the trees and the verges into a Granny Smith apple green.  Flowers, it seems, have yet to proliferate, if indeed they do at all in this challenging climate.
For the first time since leaving Alta, we discovered a café almost half way along our route, which was not only open but provided coffee and a doughnut  for just 50 cents (yes, we are back to Euros)! Mind you, I came out about 14 Euros down having bought postcards and stickers for the bikes. No room for anything else. Clever formula we thought. The rest of the route, as usual, was devoid of anything except trees, lakes, rivers and, of course, the ever present reindeer. And dogs! Why does a dog ignore all road traffic except a bike which it can hear from a distance of some quarter of a mile? More answers on a postcard please. One more comment to all you drivers of fast cars, camper vans and lorries, remember the sixty four year old biddy on the bike might be your grandmother – so give her a bit of dodder room!
Sticking with Finland for tomorrow, hoping the flat road policy continues.

Essential Northern Finland
Santa lives here
Northern Finland is a beautiful  area
A big blue sign with symbols for accommodation and food means that the souvenir shop is open.
Wifi is coming next Wednesday
Thursday can occasionally be a Sunday.
Everything shuts on a Sunday and occasionally a Thursday
Reindeer are less stupid than they are further north but they are still stupid
Locals don’t smile much. When you spend half the year in darkness and the other half covered in mosquitoes, there isn’t much to smile about.
There’s no shortage of trees

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