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Snowmobile to the end of Europe
9th April 2017
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On to the next stop. Day three day of my FLY AWAY TRAVEL trip to Norway.

The ship has docked and there is a bus waiting for us. We have to get to our snowmobiles and travel to the next port in time to meet the ship again. Challenge accepted.

On the way to collect the Snowmobiles our tour guide told us some very interesting stories about the Sami People. He told us how he himself had Sami roots, but up until the 1980’s there was a lot of discrimination towards Sami people. 4Sami People About 1880 Who are the Sami People? The Sami were originally nomads, living in tents during the summer and more sturdy peat huts during the colder seasons. Today, the Sami live in modern housing and only use tents as very temporary accommodations during reindeer migrations, if they don’t already own cottages in the mountains and forests. Most Sami live in the north, but there are Sami people all over Norway. 4d97d0e7eb7d21af7caac160d50ba66c Today, only ten per cent of Sami people earn a living from the reindeer industry and many combine their family businesses with tourism, fishing, crafts and other trades. Sami country – known as Sápmi – stretches across the northern part of Scandinavia and Russia’s Kola Peninsula. The Sami have been recognised by the United Nations as an indigenous people, giving them the right to preserve and develop their crafts, language, education, reindeer husbandry, traditions and identity. There is no census for the Sami, but the population is estimated at between 80,000 and 100,000 people, spread over four countries with 20,000–40,000 in Sweden, 50,000–65,000 in Norway, 8,000 in Finland and 2,000 in Russia. Another excursion you can do on your Fly Away Travel visit to Norway is the Sami Culture and Heritage Tour. Here you will explore the sami culture with help from a native sami guide. This excursion will give you an exclusive insight to their way of living. 

After an interesting talk from the tour guide whilst looking at some amazing scenery we arrived at our snowmobiles. A number of snowmobiles all lined up, where can only be described as “the middle of no where”. All you could see for miles was snow and at some points it was hard to tell where the snow ended and the horizon line began. All the appropriate gear was supplied to us. Helmet, gloves, boots and thermal motorcycle pants and jacket.

We got a brief but informative lesson on how to drive the snowmobiles and we were on our way. I was surprised at how difficult they were to drive at first in comparison to a quad or even a jet ski. Snowmobiles have a track at the back, two skis at the front and rely very much on your body weight to turn. So for example if you want to turn right you need to slide off the seat and almost hang to the right of the snowmobile. Whilst turning the steering you need to move all your body weight to the side you want to turn to. As we were going up and down mountains it was also very important to lean in towards the mountain at all times too, otherwise the snowmobile could turn over.

After some time we reached 71˚North and we had the opportunity to stop at a Sami Tent. The location was so surreal. I thought I lived in a rural quiet area but this was without question the most silent and still place I have ever been. No wind noise, no birds, no waves and certainly no traffic. All you could hear was the crunch of your boots against the deep snow. It didn’t just feel like the end of Europe, it felt like the end of the World.

So silent and sill, no wildlife, no trees, no vegetation just us and our snowmobiles. For a moment I thought how wonderful it would be to live in this part of the world, completely off the grid. Not controlled by technology or the rat race of life, you could just focus and invest in yourself. But then again, who was I kidding? A life where you didn’t have to reach over and check your phone for notifications, emails and missed calls first thing in the morning…….who wants that life?

The sun had set, we turned on our lights and it was time to hit the snow. To be honest, we probably didn’t even need our lights as it didn’t seem to get very dark. At least not the darkness I would be used to along the west of Ireland, where you can’t even see your hand in front of your face. Whilst it was only the end of March when we were on this trip, the summer sun doesn’t set between the middle of May and the end of July in this part of the world.

We reached a peak and on the way down the far side of the mountain we had one of the most beautiful and scenic views, overlooking the town and port where our ship was awaiting us.

Truly a once in a lifetime experience I will never forget. I can’t pick any flaws in this excursion. We were provided with all the gear which was exceptionally clean (and thats coming from a guy who can’t share clothes), the snowmobiles were not long out of the factory, the guides were fantastic and the scenery……well, nothing I can say here will do it any justice. It’s just something you have to experience and see with your own eyes.

It’s time to head back to the ship, get some dinner and rest before our Husky Sled Ride tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed we will get to visit the Snow Hotel too.

Watch the Fly Away Travel video below and book your trip to Norway today by calling 003539677771 or email info@flyawaytravel.ie

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Alan Clarke

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