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Legendary Cultures
March 12 to April 1 2011
Day 1 (London)  |  Day 2 (Lille)  |  Day 3 (London)  |  Lapland  |  Armenia  |  Mongolia  |  Lijiang China  |  Papua New Guinea  |  Indonesia  |  Calcutta  |  Bhutan - Day 1  |  Bhutan - Day 2  |  Petra  |  Turkey  |  Reprise

MARCH 14, 2011 NORTH OF THE ARCTIC CIRCLE IN NORWEGIAN LAPLAND (SPECIFICALLY, THE LAND OF THE SAMI PEOPLE)

Journey begingsWe checked out of our hotel in London pretty early and were bussed for more than an hour to the town of Luton in the English countryside, where our jet was waiting. The plane was as luxuriously outfitted as we remember and the service topnotch. We settled in with a glass of champagne and got to know the seatmates around us. Lunch and sleep made up the trip to northernNorway.

We flew over miles of virgin snow and water and finally landed in a little airport (Lakselv) in the middle of Arctic nowhere. We went through customs/immigration and were bussed for another hour to an outpost on the edge of a more remote nowhere. The hotel was pretty basic, reminiscent of ones where we have stayed in and around public parks in America.

The ground is covered with snow and because there is a major dogsled race going on, the hotel had lots of customers.Dogsled

Sami encampmentRight behind our hotel was a reconstruction of a Sami encampment. There are some huts and a few reindeer that you can pet. The young girl and boy who led the tour were natives and almost froze us to death as they tried to stretch out the tour to fill the time between when we arrived and when our bags would be available. I quit and went back to the hotel when they did a lasso demonstration (trying to rope reindeer horns on a fence about 50 feet away). (CC comment: I continued the tour. Part of it included a truly remarkable portrayal of Sami legends/history using video plus around-the-room lighting effects. It was startlingly effective.)

In the evening getting to dinner required a walk outside. Outside was about 0 degrees F at that point. faux Sami lodgeDid I mention that the ground was packed hard snow, with ice in spots? Not the kind of weather we get in Southern California. The evening meal was served in a faux Sami lodge. This appeared to be the first time that the hotel tried this place and everything went wrong. The fire in the middle of the room was not drawing so the smoke forced all of us out after a while. There were not enough servers for our 80-person group so we just sat around breathing smoke. In the end, the plane's staff moved people out of the smokey room and put themselves there, put the fires almost out, and became the wait staff. The man who provided the entertainment, local folk songs, was quite good. The singing is called "yoiking" and we are told that we will hear the similarities between yoiking and "throat singing" in Mongolia and Bhutan. (CC comment: What's not to love about the word "yoiking" ?)

That night we slept like death (great beds and duvets).Today's trip to Armenia is all air travel plus three hours of time change.



Day 1 (London)  |  Day 2 (Lille)  |  Day 3 (London)  |  Lapland  |  Armenia  |  Mongolia  |  Lijiang China  |  Papua New Guinea  |  Indonesia  |  Calcutta  |  Bhutan - Day 1  |  Bhutan - Day 2  |  Petra  |  Turkey  |  Reprise



HOME  |  AUSTRALIA 2003  |  ACROSS AMERICA  |  IMPRESSIONS OF CHINA  |  VIETNAM  |  AFRICA  |  AROUND THE WORLD 2009  |  SOUTH AMERICA 2009  |  LEGENDARY CULTURES 2011
  |  TURKEY AND GREECE  |  CIRCLE THE ARCTIC