finlandFinland contains huge forests and lakes, as we discovered when we first visited the country in July of 2002. We came into Finland from Norway on our way south after having visited the Nord Cap. We arrived in Kivilompolo, Finland on highway 93. Our first impressions - beautiful forests, lakes, rivers and streams amid rolling hills and sparsely populated. We rode for 37 kilometers before we encountered any real signs of civilization. There were a few buildings at the border area by no signs of life to be seen anywhere.

Based on our initial encounters with the locals we pray that we find people who speak English because there is no way we are going to be able to decipher the Finish language! Our tour book tells us that the language is, “One of the worlds strangest and most difficult”. This was obvious when we stopped for lunch and were not able to understand anything. When we were looking up the pronunciation of numbers in our modest food translation book we were convinced that this is not someplace were we are going to be able to communicate unless it is with English.

Finland has been independent since 1917 after centuries of being ruled by the Swedes and Tzarist Russia. The capital is Helsinki located in the extreme southern part of the country. In Finland, there are so many lakes that in the south east portion of the country water is more likely to be seen than land. The central region of the country is heavily forested with small population centers being scattered villages. In the north, Lapland, completely devoid of large towns, the Sami reside. The Sami lifestyle has remained mostly unchanged by modern culture and herding reindeer continues to be the dominant lifestyle.

Our tour guide also tells us that Finland is second only to the USA for per person Internet use.


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