26th of May – 28th of May 2018:

In Finland, we enjoyed our fist rest day. Feeling welcomed by our hosts Gareth and Elina, we slept in a warm and wind-protected camper. For dinner, the friendly couple prepared a delicious and typically Finnish dish made of reindeer meat and mashed potatoes. In the night, we cuddled in the comfortable camper and watched the snow fall outside through the small windows. During the next day, we recovered our energy, and we washed our clothes and our bicycles.  

The village of Kilpisjärvi is the most western settlement in Finland and is the coldest place in continental Europe. Many tourists from all over the world come here to gaze at the northern lights, to undertake ski tours or to hike in the nearby mountains.  

After Kilpisjärvi, we cycled along the Finish-Swedish border in the direction of Karesuando. Just after we started, we crossed paths with a great many reindeer. We realized immediately that those animals are much larger in this region than in the far north. As we descended, the landscape and the climate changed rapidly from sparse, cold to green, and sticky warm. The further we went, the fewer frozen lakes we saw around and the more trees surrounded us. In comparison to the strenuous days in Norway, we enjoyed long descents and windless weather. 

Between Kilpisjärvi and the next border town were 110 km of dead straight road with only a few turns and settlements. In the planning phase, we decided that instead of travelling more in Finland we would cross through Sweden from north to south. Therefore, our impression of the country of saunas was a rather short one, but nonetheless interesting and we liked the unique landscape.  

After a ceremonial border crossing, playing the national anthem on our speaker, we camped close to a pine forest. To our disappointment, we had our first visit from mosquitos that night.  

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