57: A wildlife kind’a day
J ran in the am early-ish and then we visited the bear et al establishment at Euro10 each – well worth it as it happened. We saw the brown bears at 1 metre distance (behind fences) – the big ones weigh 500 kgs! 7 times as much as your average adults… they can run at 60 km per hour over short distances – James can only dream of 15 km per hour – but he weighs 70 kgs and is not very brown…yet. Or hairy, thankfully! We also saw wolves, red rox, lynxes and – guess what? Rheindeer with babies… K had already seen three yesterday grazing along the road. The owner of the rescue centre had been involved in some kind of research and then when it ended kept the orphan bears and raised them. They see him as ‘Father’ and he takes them for walks in the woods. And one, apparently, goes with him in his fishing boat. I asked the tour guide – you don’t wander round on your own (a guide bribes the animals to come close with fruit and honey) about going in the pen with the wolves. Oh no! Unless , you are the owner – he can. He really must be some animal magician / whisperer. This was really special. It is not a zoo, wedded to scientific inter-zoo breeding programs and conservation. This is a small holding where the rescue animals are cared for and loved. The centre is not glossy or gimmicky – it is just about the animals.
Thence to the Oulanka National Park, specifically Juuma, for a truly memorable hike over 12 km known as the Little Bear Ring, via rope bridges, rapids and gorges. Indiana Jones and Mrs Jones. But no swinging … on ropes of otherwise! Guide book described it as one of the most scenic Finnish walks. Both of us agreed that this is one of, if not THE, most interesting and scenic walks we have ever done. Pix can speak for themselves – sorry there are so many, but it was truly lovely. Had taken only the little Canon instamatic, but still pleased with the quality. Do check out the water reflections – superb.
And Maddy sent me pix of our pottery painting efforts that have now been glazed and fired – look surprisingly OK for a couple of non arty types.
What a fabulous couple of days! And the sun came out for us whenever we stopped to look at anything!