Wildlife and forests

There are signs along the highway warning of moose crossing. We saw moose in a sanctuary but not in the wild. Today, however, we had to stop twice for reindeer crossing the road.

We visited a reindeer farm for a closer look.

The reindeer all belong to someone and are ear marked, but wander freely through the forest – no fences, no trespass orders – and keeping track of your reindeer is even achieved with GPS these days. I’m not sure how land ownership works here, but anyone is entitled to pick berries anywhere in the forest and everyone has access to beaches and riversides. There is forest everywhere you look, except in the towns, although they are built alongside lakes and rivers which are lined with trees. This is Kuopio from the tower.

Many wild life are endangered, and we saw these rescued animals in Ranua Wildlife Sanctuary.

This impressive moose is in the wonderful Arktikum Museum in Rovaniemi.

Toys, trolls and dolls

There are the odd gems amongst the souvenir tat. Once you brace yourself for the cliches, stereotypes and anthropomorphism you can get some simple enjoyment from some of the merchandise.

These were some of the crown prince of Denmark’s toys in an exhibition for his 50th birthday.

These made me smile:

High cute factor applied to violent history – and rolling pins?!! Really?

Children’s literature gets lots of attention:

There are Moomins (recently a personal favourite) everywhere. There are even Mumin cafes. (Altered spelling for copyright reasons, perhaps?)

At the Vasa Galleon Museum, a cut-away model showed life on board in miniature.

And the anthropomorphic lynx – on the end of our beds at the hotel in Helsinki. (Gave some of us a bit of a start at first glance.)

The Hotel Santa Claus was full of it – even elves popping out of the bar ceiling.

Or on hallway walls, such as this elf on a watering can.

Sometimes it’s a little overwhelming.

Sometimes it’s charming and magical.