Tiring of Norway, we slipped effortlessly into Sweden for a change of nation if not scenery. Then, getting the hang of this international border crossing game, we transmitted into Finland for lunch, although thanks to an unexpected change of one hour forward in local time we had to rename it high tea before returning to Norway for real half past four type tea. MIndful as ever of the dictum about ‘the unexamined life’ (ask the internet…) in reviewing our day’s journey we realised that we had somehow managed to miss out Sweden in our return to Norway from Finland. Odd. We just hoped that there was no serious implication in international law.
The general air of wilderness continues, but increasing northernness means that the vegetation is more stunted and sparser than ever, giving us a better view of things more than 20 yards away. We knew there was interesting stuff there, and thanks to our improved field of view we noticed several reindeer ambling about. That’s more like it. Regular stops for coffee, lunch or just to admire the view kept us from making anything like rapid progress, but there you are. It’s utterly sublime, not having to meet any sort of a deadline.
Early on in the day at one of the aforementioned stops we came across a small wooden church that, it turned out, had been built in 1608 in order to start converting the local Sami people to Christianity. The pastor had the imagination to supplement his preaching with a brightly coloured, carved triptych showing scenes using Sami people for added relevance. Here is the full monty, briefing notes, pictures and all. And you thought this blog lacked culture, eh? Think again, that’s all I’d say.
Looking up at the pulpit we noticed a strange device made up of what looked like no less than four big egg timers in parallel. This must have been the pastor’s sermon timer, so the congregation would have been lined up for either a quick 10-minute sermon, to judge by the size of the egg timer, or the full forty minute harangue. We paused long enough to feel heartily glad that we weren’t there on a Sunday and then resumed our northward trek.