Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Reindeer Galore!

After a slow day on Monday, we were excited to get out and do an excursion on Tuesday.  We booked the reindeer excursion through another company.   The bus took us and about 15 other people to a Sami village.  The Sami are the native people of Lapland and they make a living herding reindeer.  

When we arrived, we met Hokan (an easy name to remember!) and his wife and assistant Sam.  There were a few reindeer that they had tamed and used for visitors.  











Our first activity of the day was trying to catch a reindeer with a lasso, just like how the Sami bring in single reindeer out of the herd.   There were three reindeer that ran around the pen as each person tried to lasso.  It was much more difficult than Hokan made it look and only one person was able to catch a reindeer (who then managed to escape the lasso)!







Mike came close, but in the end, no reindeer.



They got away from me too

After reindeer herding, it was time for some reindeer sledding!  I was amazed at how fast these reindeer could go!  One was so fast that people were falling out of the sled as they rounded a corner!  I opted out of sledding, since I figured Baby Maximus didn't need too much excitement, but Mike tried and loved it.














Crash landing into the fence






Once everyone had a chance to ride, it was time for lunch. We headed into one of the Sami lavvus (teepees), where they prepared us reindeer and berry sandwiches.  It was delicious! Reindeer is surprisingly good. Who would have thought?

While we were eating lunch, we got a chance to talk to Sam about the Sami people.  It was such a fascinating conversation.  We learned about the struggles that the Sami people have faced against the Swedish government, which sounded extremely similar to the issues surrounding the Native Americans and the US government. We learned a little bit about the Sami lifestyle and people, as well as the language. Certain Sami words can even be found in Turkish! I truly felt like we were having an Olmsted moment as we talked and learned about all of the connections between the people of Europe.









We were so pleased with our experience with the reindeer.  I had heard that reindeer are kind of mean and while they aren't as friendly as horses or other animals, they definitely were calm enough to pet and feed some treats.  We loved hearing about the Sami culture, as well and left extremely happy and pleased with our experience.  Lights Over Lapland really knows how to plan an excursion!

This article showed up on my newsfeed right after we left Lapland it provides a great look into the lives of the Sami.