Finland

27th of May 2018 (Day 9-Break Day Kilpisjärvi):

On our first break day, we did not plan anything exhausting. After a comfortable breakfast, we cleaned our bikes for all the dirt from the previous days, washed our clothes and contacted our family and friends. In the afternoon, we helped the local community to clean the trailer parking from leftover rubbish. The village Kilpisjärvi is the most western settlement in Finland and the coldest place in continental Europe in the summer time. Many tourists from all over the world come here to observe the polar lights, do ski touring or hike in the nearby mountains. Due to the special location the probability of seeing the northern lights is higher here than in many other places. This is because two weather fronts meet here, which means it can be either clear sky on the Norwegian or Finnish side. Gareth from New Zealand is an independent outdoor tour guide here and knows the area very well. He organizes specific tours through his agency for customers. Many scientists from different fields study the unique environment in this area, since the vegetation is pristine and remote. In addition, the lakes are filled with unpolluted water from the surrounding peaks. The nicely shaped mountain “Saana” next to the village is extremely popular among Finnish people for hiking and skiing.

28th of May 2018 (Day 10- Kilpisjärvi-Karesuando):

After an energy-rich breakfast, we said goodbye to Elina and Gareth. Shortly after, we cycled along the Finnish-Swedish border towards Karesuando. Between Kilpisjärvi and the border town are 110 km of straight roads with just a few turns and settlements. During the whole day, the road led us downhill and contained only little ascents in wavy shapes (total 550 m). The landscape and the climate changed quickly from sparse, cold to green, with lined trees, and humid-warm. The further we cycled, the more the surrounding lakes thawed. In contrary to the exhausting days in Norway, we enjoyed the calm weather and the route without many hills, so we cycled next to each other and had good conversations. In Karesuando, we used the last and only shopping opportunity of the day and strengthen our bodies with food from the restaurant. Afterwards, we crossed the border in a ceremonial way and camped in a nearby pine forest. To our disappointment, the first Scandinavian mosquitos visited our tent-wall and prevented us from spending too much time outside.