Isby On Tour
Isby Report 45
Welcome to Finland
Sauna, Reindeer, Midnight Sun and the Worst Day of the Trip!
In Helsinki, we are welcomed by bright sunshine. But already the next day this changes. The first time, since Italy in February, we get rain for a couple of days in a row! This does not bother us too much, then after almost a year on the road, we are well organized and connected to other travelers! People, who have kind of the same travel route like us, some of whom are ahead of us, others are behind us. This is great, as we can give each other tips about weather conditions, pitches and attractions.
One tip like that, is sent to us from Northern Finland by a French couple. They have 27 ° degrees and the best weather! This statement is enough for us, to drive north through forests and past innumerable lakes for the next two days. At Rovaniemi we cross the Arctic Circle and visit Santa Claus' official post office! This is where children from all over the world send their wishes every year and Santa tries to answer them all ;) https://santaclausvillage.info/
Video Explanation for Midnight sun and Arctic Circle:
Just after we have crossed the Arctic Circle two surprises await us:
We have been waiting for a long time for one of them and finally it comes unexpected and stands in a field between houses and not in a Finnish birch forest! It is OUR first reindeer! We are very excited! It is an extra beautiful example and even poses for a few minutes in front of our camera before disappearing into the nearby forest.
The second surprise follows shortly afterwards. We have just found a place for the night on a beautiful river, as it knocks on the van door. Outside is a Finnish couple. They laugh and greet us friendly and explain that they are the owners of the nearby holiday home. Right now, they are on their way to start the sauna next to the river. If we would like, we can use it after them as well! Of course we want! So it happens that on our first evening north of the Arctic Circle at midnight we sit in front of a Finnish sauna on a beautiful river and enjoy the midnight sun! More clichéd and beautiful it is not possible!
The next day we catch up with our French (Weather Tipp) friends in Kolari and inflate our kayak for the first time on the whole trip! At first, Isby is not astonished when he is supposed to take a seat in this wobbly thing. But after only a few paddle strokes, he sits quietly and with his head held high up in the back of the boat.
Finland is a beautiful country with many outdoor opportunities, which we enjoy a lot, if only there were not this many mosquitoes! Not surprisingly, it is them who crown the worst day of our entire trip!
We are about to start a hike onto a Lappish Fjäll (high plateau), when it happens:
Isby eats something from the wayside. Soon after, he starts wheezing and coughing. It does not stop anymore. We control his throat, but cannot discover anything, also drinking water and eating grass does not help him either. We are realizing that this is something more serious and are questioning where the next vet would be. The closest one, according to Google Maps, I cannot reach, only a Finnish Voice Mail is answering.
Finally, I call any vet in Finland. Fortunately, the vet that answers the phone, speaks perfect English and is very supportive. I send her my coordinates via SMS and she looks for the vets in the area around us and then sends back their phone numbers to me. To our great relief, one vet is available in a "nearby" village. It's only half an hour away in Munio. This is huge luck, as she works only two days a week in this village. This area of Finland is sporadically populated, that’s why she works in three different villages, far away from each other. Luckily, today she is in the closest one to us. We are racing to the vet’s office. . It is tiny and the vet works on her own.
Isby gets a general anesthetic and I’m quickly appointed to assistant the vet by keeping Isby’s mouth wide open. Finally, she pulls out a long grass haulm, which was stuck between Isby’s nose and his breathing tube. The relief is huge! Especially as the vet mentions, that she could not do more for Isby anyway, as the nearest clinic that could perform surgeries, ultrasounds, etc., would be in Rovaniemi, which is over 3 hours away from here!
Although Isby is feeling a bit better in the evening, we decide to drive quickly towards the Norwegian border, so that we get closer to the next veterinarian, in case we need one again.
On this drive, the second shock of the day happens:
Abruptly the engine stops! The ESC lamp in the dashboard lights up. Simon turns the key and the engine starts without any problems. We drive on, but already on the next slope, in 5th gear the engine goes off again. This happens three times more, then we drive only high speed in 4th gear, like this we succeed for the moment. When we finally find a parking for the night, Isby is fit enough to loll around in front of the bus. Suddenly, I see that he is surrounded by mosquitoes. I'll call him back into the van, but it's too late. He is black, surrounded by thousands of little sandflies whirring around the poor dog. First we try to kill them by hand, no chance. Simon jumps out of the van with Isby and chases him into the nearby river. Then I call the dog back into the car, shut the door and dry him off. These horrible creatures have eaten right through his skin. He looks horrible and has red spots everywhere. I think, from Isby's point of view, this was the worst day of the trip even before the mosquitoes, but now we all have enough and just want to go to bed! But the night is nothing better. We have no idea how, but now normal mosquitoes get into the van somewhere. I give up long before Simon and crawl deep into the sleeping bag. Luckily, tomorrow is a new day!
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