Journal: Pages 41-42


played happily on the green grass near a fishing pond), the cabin was comfortable and fully-equipped (the grandfather kindly asked me to examine it before renting), and I was charged only Kr 400. My only regret was yet another cold meal of pickled herring, chorizo and smoked salmon...

28 May 2003, Wednesday: Kautokeino - Enontekiö - Jukkasjärvi - Kiruna - Abisko - Narvik  

I was likely the first customer of the day, if not the season, for the Sami souvenir shop at Leppäjärvi, in Finland's northwestern panhandle. The proprietress about my age treated me a cup of coffee, changed a few Euros with no extra fee, and introduced me to this land of 10,000 lakes, glorious fall colors and the dreaded summer mosquitoes. "It's only a problem if you think it's a problem," she said in reference to the seasonal pests, which I am lucky to have missed by only a few weeks. Ah, Minnesota...  

For having nothing to declare, I drove on without even a hand wave across the borders of Finland, Sweden and Norway. If only the rest of the world can be this civilized.

My Volvo swiftly carried me past pockets of rain and sunshine, overtaking the storm clouds high above. By the time I reach the Swedish lakeside resort town of Jukkasjärvi -- where the Ice Hotel, the world's largest igloo, melts away for the summer until it is rebuilt to prolong the tourist season well into this region's dark, frigid winter -- I was already donning my sunglasses again.
One must marvel at these long Finnish and Sami names on the bilingual road signs throughout Lapland. Near the mountainous Norwegian-Swedish border, I took note of another roadside photo stop along the E10, chasing the iron-ore train from Kiruna to Narvik. It's Paktajåkka (Finnish-derived Swedish) or Jáffogasluobblat (Sami), a stream running under the E10 west of Abisko to feed the thawing Torneträsk.  

Not relishing the thought of another dinner of smoked salmon back at my hotel room in Narvik (Northern Star Hotel, reasonably priced at 500 and recommended by The Rough Guide), I went out to buy

Switzerland (2002, 2003) 1-2 3-4 5-6 7-8 9-10 11-12 13-14 [Liechtenstein 15] 53 
New Zealand (2002) 16 17-18 19-20 21-22 23-24 25-26 27-28
New Zealand (May-June 2004) 54 55-56 57-58 59-60 61-62 63-64 65 72 
Australia (2004) 66 67-68 69-70 71
New Zealand (November 2004) 73-74 75-76 77-78 79-80 81-82

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