Kautokeino

4 Dec

It took around nine hours travelling on a stuffy bus to arrive, but it was worth the wait. The snow was half-way to my knees and the lights of the town twinkled invitingly, like a picture on a Christmas card. We dragged our heavy suitcases through the snow to our cabin and set up camp.

The cabin at the Arctic Motel was adequately sized for the three of us, with a table, a basic cooker and a bathroom. And it was warm, so warm, compared to the minus 7 degrees outside. The big cabin was even better, with couches and a proper kitchen to make dinner.

The next day we visited Juhl’s Silvergallery, started by Regine and Frank Juhl’s in the 50’s, at a a time when there were few roads in the town and all the building materials for their house had to be rowed across a river and carried up the mountain. Even the house is a work of art, it’s construction based on the nature around it. Each room represents a decade of their work, and all of it relates to their lives and their interest in nomadic cultures, not just the Sami. It’s a beautiful place to visit and it’s packed full of things to look at. There are even chickens inside.

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After this we took a trip across to the Sami university, Sami Allaskuvla, to meet the students and take a look around. It has something like 200 students there, but the place is modern and well-equipped. We got to talk to some students who were practising duodji (traditional handicrafts) and making shoes for themselves. The library was fantastic, with a great collection of Sami, Norwegian, Swedish and English texts. I even found a copy of Romeo and Juliet. The university also teaches journalism, teacher-training and other courses. Many student study there, but the majority study in their home towns with the use of online lectures and assessment, which is a great way that ensuring that everyone who wants it has access to the education.

sami univerisity library

After this we visited Beaivváš Sámi Theatre and met this brilliant character of a lady, Rawdna Carita Eira, who had just written Silver Lake for the theatre. She showed us around, took us to the costume department and gave us a little presentation on the theatre. The theatre isn’t just based in Norway, but has travelled all over – even to Japan and Nepal.  I would like to catch one of their shows one day. They ‘subtitle’ in English and Norwegian – they incorporate it as part of the set or decorations.

Kautokeino is a beautiful place. The next morning me and a couple of friends took a walk into town while everyone else was still sleeping. It’s a much bigger place than I thought, but very peaceful and quite. Still, there is a lot going on and it’s worth a visit. Just wrap up warm! On the way home my breath was freezing on my scarf and I was very glad to have brought snow trousers with me!SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

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3 Responses to “Kautokeino”

  1. Katariina Partala December 8, 2012 at 11:41 am #

    Wow, you went to Kautokeino? That’s so cool! I was planning to go there last spring, but had to cancel my trip… The place looks just awesome 🙂

    • saramay91 December 9, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

      Aw that’s a shame, I’d definitely recommend a visit, especially if you’re interested in the Sami culture =)

      • Katariina Partala December 9, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

        I used to study Sami language a few years ago, but didn’t have enough time to learn that much… So visiting any place with some Sami stuff around is just great for me! :p

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