Crossing Into The Arctic Circle, Norway

We have now left the Arctic Circle behind us and are heading back into balmier climes, I hope. Actually our last day in the Arctic was a rather warm sunny one but you couldn’t rely on it continuing. The visit has been well worthwhile for the scenery alone, particularly Norway. It has also been an interesting insight into the culture here as well. Although across Norway, north Sweden and Finland there are differences in culture, I felt these were outweighed by the similarities. The population of this part of the Arctic Circle have learnt how to live with nature rather than trying to adapt nature to suit human traits. There are noticeable similarities with the Canadian population where the climate is just as harsh. Tasks generally can be achieved when the person is ready to do them, relatively little needs to be done immediately. The people are more relaxed than in most of Western Europe or the USA. This attitude is across everything that the people in this area do and is even reflected in their driving, the majority are happy to abide by a 50mph speed limit, they rarely jump traffic lights and they give way to other drivers rather than trying to jump in ahead. Nature conservation is approached as a matter of priority without argument and almost without comment. It is so obviously necessary for the continuation of their lifestyle that they just get on with it. Hunting has been a major activity in the past, and there are still those that do it, but it appears to be approached responsibly. Forestry is also managed in a sustainable way. The other notable observation is the community spirit that seems to come from the need to help each other through the more difficult excesses of nature. If it was a sport or business activity it would be referred to as team work. Whatever you want to call it, it results in a community that is more respectful of others and more law-abiding. In short, nice country, nice people, relaxed lifestyle, shame about the weather. What about your soft-top you may be asking. It’s the old but true adage, it could have happened anywhere. It had nothing to do with people in general, location or the old chestnut, poverty. It was the mindless act of an individual who is anti-social and not really worth dwelling on. From Rovaniemi I think we will take a leisurely drive through Southern Finland, ending in Helsinki, before making our way across the Russian border. Bridget needs a four thousand miles service which I intend to address over the next two days and I need to check her rear springs which are creaking a little.

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