Monday, 6 June 2011

Following Rivers Again

                                                                Just before Midnight

Muonio – Tormasniska (about 15 miles from Kolari along the river) 
97.6kms   530’ascent
Summer made a brief appearance.
Woke to glorious sunshine at about five a.m. which was actually six a.m. Finnish time. Either way it did seem unnecessarily early but, in my confused early morning state, it seemed a good time to greet the new day. By 8.15, or 7.15, depending on time zone, I had even done the shopping!
We bowled along the E8 enjoying this unexpected gift of summer or possibly spring. Either way, the grass was greening and dandelions were unfolding in the warmth. What marvellous plants dandelions are! They really do get everywhere including the ditches alongside the road in Finland. These ditches are designed to prevent surface water collecting on the roads but they seem to attract an eclectic mix of detritus. We both wondered, in passing, why someone had abandoned their pants (as in underwear). Our speculations are probably unprintable.
The Finns had excelled again with the road and we made good time admiring the scenery as we went. You can never have enough of trees! Kolari was to have been our destination and, indeed, we expected to locate a campsite or huts with ease. However, in 24 hours, Finland had gone from half open or half shut, to ful! Undaunted, we spotted a sign sporting a picture of a hut and a fish and a distance of along the Salmon Road. Taking this at its face value(always a mistake) we set off along the road indicated and at 4.5 kms sure enough there was an information board with nothing resembling a campsite. There was a second blue sign though, which informed us of another campsite 27kms hence. Deep breaths, long conversations with various protesting body parts and we pressed onwards. Now sometimes things are just meant to be! At 15kms, Alan spied what had to be a mirage – huts! We located the owner and after some considerable confusion with two different languages, a son appeared and said there was a ‘room’ available and his mother would show us. The room was more like a small apartment on the banks of the river and was stunning. Soon, all was bustle, as this good lady made sure we had all we required which, in her opinion, included a sauna, verandah furniture, a barbeque area complete with wood and the option of a television which we politely declined. And all this for 30 Euros! We paid 60 and, as planned, took the next day as a rest day –sort of. Winds of 25knots had been forecast and they came to pass just as we prepared to cycle 14 km back into Kolari . An hour or so later and with only 20knots we managed to restock our dwindling food supplies.
Hoping for calmer weather tomorrow as we continue our journey along this wonderful detour along the river.

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