Laura Ricketts Designs

"She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands..."

Laura Ricketts Designs is a personal and business website for Laura Ricketts, hand-knitwear designer, author, teacher, crafter, mother and wife.

Karasjok, the Sámi political capitol in Norway

Wednesday morning dawned bright and early.  I ate my expensive breakfast, bought by myself in the expensive grocery the night before, packed up the car and left. 

Off I went down the road I had journeyed up and down the previous three days. I said good bye to the little fishing villages, and the church at Nesseby. 

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I right past the Tana museum in Polmak again, taking a quick sidetrip to cross the Tana bridge.  The various bridges across the Tana are a big deal: until 60 years ago, there weren't even roads in the area. 

Just past Polmak was the Finnish border.  That's right.  Even though I started off in Norway and my destination for the day was in Norway, borders are very close in this area.  Mountains, rivers and other formations, often make it quicker to go through a neighboring country. Crossings are easy and swift.  In fact, in the three weeks I was overseas, I went in and out of 10 countries, and the only time my passport was asked for in Europe was in Berlin, Germany on my layover on the way home.  But, that's another story. 

Welcome, Finland! 

 Tana bridge

Tana bridge

 The speed trap on the eastern side of the Tana bridge.  I didn't participate in the fun.

The speed trap on the eastern side of the Tana bridge.  I didn't participate in the fun.

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The Tana river is really quite beautiful.  It forms the northern border between Finland and Norway, and in this area is shallow and rocky.  The surrounding land is sheltered and excellent for farming, and unusual occupation this far north. 

 The Tana river

The Tana river

The car I rented, a VW golf, had bluetooth capability, so I was able to play the songs on my phone over the stereo system. Occasionally, I found the automatic shuffle / song choice ironic.

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At Utsjoki, Finland, the very tippy-top of the country, I crossed another bridge, the twin of the Tana bridge, and went back to the Norwegian side.  Utsjoki was smaller than I expected: basically a school, grocery, gas station and several campsites. I made sure I used the cheaper gas station and grocery, then took off up and down the hills of Norway. 

I arrived in Karasjok around 11 and headed straight for the parliament building. Karasjok is a charming town.  

 The Sámi parliament building in Karasjok, Norway

The Sámi parliament building in Karasjok, Norway

 Roadway sign indicating the Sámi parliament building

Roadway sign indicating the Sámi parliament building

At the parliament building I met with a librarian I had been emailing back and forth for a couple years.  Kåre took me on a tour of the building, introduced me to colleagues, took me to the Sámi museum where his cousin, Berit Åse, showed me some amazing mittens, and then we had some coffee with other colleagues.

Back at the campsite, I had a very interesting conversation with a Irish shepherd, recently come to Karasjok to do 3 months of shearing. 

 The parliament building as seen from the Prime Minister's seat

The parliament building as seen from the Prime Minister's seat

 The Prime Minister's seat from the gallery

The Prime Minister's seat from the gallery

 A handcraft shop in Karasjok that has a hilarious door covering that mimics a woman's cap.

A handcraft shop in Karasjok that has a hilarious door covering that mimics a woman's cap.

It was a very full day. Tomorrow would prove to be just as full, as I got up and drove to Alta, Norway.  Until then, knit fast, knit safe.