We were rather surprised when we first arrived in Finland; all the lakes had red water, instead of the beautiful azure ones in Norway and Germany.
But, here they have sand instead of rocks, which means a nice soft beach (I’m grateful for this after slipping on a slimey rock in Norway and falling into an icey lake ahead of schedule) and the water is still very clear and drinkable. In the shallows it’s like swimming in light amber beer, but as it deepens it becomes red like the aftermath of a shark attack and then almost black due to the depth and sediment.
Sadly, it turns out that moose don’t actually exist. We’ve been in Scandanavia for 6 weeks now and haven’t seen one – simple explanation is that tourism bureau steal photos of moose from google for their websites and leaflets. They even go to the extreme effort of not only making realistic prints in the mud, but even shipping real moose poo from Canada to scatter around the forest. Disgraceful.
As we drove at dusk the other night, past perfect meadows for a Bull to trot past us and pose for a photo, I succumbed to singing. Much to Craig’s despair. It went a bit like this, ‘This issss, moose heaaaaven…but moose areeee, myth and leeeegend…’. There was more to it but I daren’t tell you more as it was awfully addictive and officially the most annoying song either of us had ever heard. The worst thing is, every time we see an area ideal for moose now, we start humming that goddam song!!
We’ve had a couple of uneventful days just driving. There’s been hikes to do, but it’s just forest trails and to be honest, there quite boring now. We wanted to rent a canoe to explore some water based national parks which are home to some very rare freshwater seals, but the info lady was helpless and didn’t know where we could get them from.
But we have met some interesting people, first up, ‘Unhappy-Clappy Lady’. We pulled onto the highway, it was clear but as we slowly veered out a car came over a crest and had to really slow down for us. I looked in my mirrors as she was right up our arse and she was clapping her hands at us like a trained seal. Boy was she angry!
Then we met the ‘1 Euro lady’ in a petrol station. Who demanded €1 for using her loo. I’m sorry, I can’t read your sign in Finnish saying I have to pay, yet you’ve gone to the effort of printing ‘only toilet paper in WC’ in English. So I left and hopped into Pablo, “damn, that lady had a right go at me, trying to make me pay €1 for a piss!!” Then Craig informed me that in the meantime he’d asked her where a water tap was and she took his canister and demanded €1 for water!
The same day we drove into a shopping complex in Mikkeli. After a food shop, we wanted to drive across the road and park in McDonald’s to use the wifi. But we drove the wrong way round a one way section, towards a police van. So we turned back into the parking lot, went all the way around, and missed the entrance to McDonald’s. Shit. As we pulled back into the carpark to do the same route again, we realised the cops were following us. Being innocent, we were laughing away, and then they pulled up with us at McDonald’s.
‘Mr. Blondie’ stepped out and approached me with a breathalyser and said “err, you are looking for something??” – “yes, McDonald’s, we found it!!” I said triumphantly. I informed him that clearly, I was not the driver, so he went over to Craig “OK, we do alcohol test as I see you driving round in circles”. Craig and I were cracking up!! “Yes, I suppose we did look rather drunk”. He took Craig’s license and registration back to his van to check it was all OK and wished us a happy trip. We checked the iPhone and found that there wasn’t even wifi at McDonald’s, brilliant. So we had to drive back to the mall, but at least we knew the way this time.