Not a bit tired…
This article is about the second day of our journey from Turku to Arctic Ocean. The day in the calendar might have changed to Tuesday but that didn’t have any effect on our driving. We just kept on going north. We didn’t have time to stop for sleep because the goal was to be next to the ocean by morning and that’s what we intended to do.
If you haven’t already, please read about the beginning of our trip from here.
At the end of day one we had almost driven to Sweden but eventually found the right way along the western border of Finland. Luckily the sun doesn’t set in Lapland in the summer so we continued our drive along the river Tornio towards Enontekiö. I have to admit, that while I wasn’t the one driving at this point, my memories from this part of the trip are a little foggy. I tried to sleep now and then but didn’t get to proper sleep. Eventually I stopped trying and started looking outside views again.
I’m not a jealous person but at this part of Finland, I have to say it looks so much better on Sweden side. They have proper fells there and Finland doesn’t have much. And only one river between. But oh my how good that river looks on the summer night.
At some point we stopped at roadside parking (there are many of those on north while gas stations are more scarce). While checking out the view and walking a bit further, we found a spring of water. Since we had bought two tin mugs for this trip, now was the time to give them a test. It took a while to dig them out of the depths of our car, but eventually we took some spring water in them and tasted the water. It didn’t taste anything and that is a good sign. Fresh, clean water from the spring in Lapland. Some people could say that it’s pure freshness from the behind of the reindeer.
Speaking of reindeer reminds me of one of our goals for this trip. To take a selfie with a reindeer. No reindeer was spotted so far so no selfies either.
A little before arriving to Enontekiö, I found my efforts so sleep useless so I stopped trying. I started to concentrate on the scenes now that I didn’t have to pay attention to driving. On the early morning hours (still night though) we saw this totally silent and calm lake called Muotkajärvi and there was no way we were going to pass that without taking some photos first. The fell on the background gave a nice finishing touch to the image. True eye-candy and something to relax your mind.
We filled up the tank at the center of Enontekiö before going to Norway. It was also a good spot and time to clean up the window from all the bees and bugs. I don’t know what they had in that water bucket but it surely did clean them all.
There will be mountains soon while arriving to Norway and Arctic Ocean or so we thought. At the border, we had to slow down to 30 but that’s about it. It took a while before we saw any other people (normal people sleep at night) if you don’t count the mobile homes at the roadside parking places. We kept on going and it took longer than we hoped to get to mountains. It was same flat than it had been on Finland. It was not far from Alta, when the mountains began to appear and the road became more interesting.
It was first of July and mountains still had snow on top. Temperature was about +10 C so roof was up and heater was on. The road to Alta started winding along a river near Alta and there was a nice waterfall there too. We stopped for a moment to take some photographs and video.
It’s not very often you see bones and someones spine lying on sharp rocks. Hopefully that was a reindeer spine and not the outcome of a traffic accident. What ever it was, it gave me shivers.
It was clearly time to continue even though the morning traffic jam was already forming.
Finally we arrive to Alta and Arctic Ocean. The Ocean seemed calm and we admired it from a small parking lot. We wanted to take some water with us and luckily we had two empty water bottles. It was not that easy to get some water since it wasn’t actually a beach, more like breakwater rocks. Eventually we had two bottles of clean (looked clean) ocean water and both of us were still dry. All well apart from frozen hands.
Then it hit us. We had achieved what we came here for and we had driven almost 24 hours to get there. We were hungry and tired, but it was just 8 am local time. We started driving east and found a gas station open. So we went there and ordered two big hamburger meals. Those two girls taking the order must have wondered who is ordering so big meal that time of the day.
The world started to seem much better with a full stomach. We were still very tired but at least now we remembered to take some video too (just guess if we took any from the Ocean itself). New plan was to drive to Nordkap, which would be the northernmost land place in Europe. While we arrived to the junction, where other way lead to Finland and the other to Nordkap, we chose beds and Finland. It would have meant several hours extra to the trip if we had gone to Nordkap. Not this time but hopefully that day will come when we can visit there too. It was also time to change the driver and I was back behind the wheel. A quick thinking of a new plan and the result was to drive to Inari and stay the night there. We would book the room as soon as we were in Finland.
Even though the road from Alta to Olderfjord (the junction I mentioned above) was really beautiful, it was nothing compared to what we drove now. There was ocean on the left and the winding road along the mountainsides. There had also been some reindeer nearby but they were too scared for us to take the selfie. So we photographed the views and took some video on the road. We still didn’t have that videocamera in use but SLR and GoPro did the job.
A little before Finland, there was a long section where parking was prohibited. I guess it was military area or something. Maybe a James Bond style base inside a mountain.
At this point I would like to bring up one issue about the roads in northern Norway and the Mini Roadster. Roads were strangely bumpy and Mini has a sports chassis. It means its hard and you can feel each bump on your spine. But what you lose on comfort you gain on the feel of the steering.
We stopped on a little cafe as soon as we were back in Finland. It was at Karigasniemi and it was time for coffee and buns. Also time to book that hotel and the outcome was that we got a room from hotel Inarin Kultahovi. We had packed a tent but the only thing we could think at this point was a shower, bed and a restaurant.
Scenery was nice at Finnish side too. Aparently the eastern side of Finnish lapland is formed better than the flat west. Most of our energy went to staying awake though. We would have wanted to go around the tip of Finland but we just weren’t in a condition to drive any longer than necessary. It was fighting against the lack of sleep for 114 kilometers.
The weather was nice but it was still too cold for lowering the roof.
At last, safe and alive, we arrived at the hotel. We had driven 2000 kilometers and we had not properly stopped until now. We signed in and carried all the important gear to hotel room. Video camera was plugged in to charger and then we decided to take a short nap before dinner. I put an alarm (if I hadn’t I would have easily slept until morning) on. I don’t think it was too much of exaggeration if I said that I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. I really really was THAT tired.
I woke up to alarm. I was still tired but now as totally as before the nap. A quick shower and off to hotel restaurant for dinner. I can’t even recal what I ate but the food was tasty and the service was good. I had one glass of wine and Marko had a beer.
After the dinner, we took the video camera and walked to the Juutuanjoki -river next to the hotel and shot some video.
We saw some reindeers next to one building behind a fence. We closed by and they started walking way. So still no reindeer selfie. But what we noticed was, that they were not inside any fence. They were just there and then moved somewhere else. They are free to walk in the town.
We went to see the lake Inari before going back to the hotel. We had a short recap of the trip so far while in the room and also plans for next day. The next day would become a long one too even though we was going to sleep the night.