So you imagine when you are headed off to the World Cup, everything is going to be very well organized and taken care of. But in reality you could find yourself in the middle of Lapland in a mini van whose gas light has been on for close to two hours with only a handwritten list of the towns between Munio, Finland and Gallivare, Sweden as happened to us earlier today. We were driving on roads which very much resembled hard packed but very bumpy snowmobile trails and narrowly twisted through northern Sweden. The list of towns was the the closest we had to a map and each time we reached another blue sign with another town name we crossed our fingers hoping for a gas station. But a big town consisted of a handful of cabins rather than just one or two and a store or gas station which wasn’t snowed in and closed was definitely out of the question. Finally as we passed through one “town” and it was doubtful whether we would make the next, we stopped at a cabin with a fenced in yard of reindeer in the front. We asked the guy where the nearest gas station was and he said Gallivare which was still close to 100km away. We asked him if he had any diesel which he did not but was very eager to help us find some. He started calling all of his friends and neighbors asking for diesel. Finally he came back to the van and told us he would take us to his neighbor’s house who had diesel but only after his reindeer came since he was expecting a big shipment. Sure enough, a little while later as we waited huddling in the van which was slightly warmer than the -20 or so temp outside, a big truck showed up carrying this guy’s 200 new reindeer. We watched as they set up the ramps on the truck to unload all the new reindeer to this guy’s herd which already consisted a couple thousand. Then when the last reindeer moved its way out of the truck, we were driven over to the neighbor who had enough diesel to get us all the way to Gallivare. Both men were very nice and helpful and told us we should come back in the springtime which is the best season since “you can sit outside without a shirt on.” Then we loaded up the vans and finished the drive to Gallivare which seems like quite the metropolis compared to Munio.
Truck filled with with two layers of reindeer!
Reindeer in the yard
Our friendly reindeer farmers house: