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Polar Triangle (Part Two of Three)

 article about Extreme adventure holidays
My Dear Friend,

I haven't heard much from you lately, and I
haven't written much. So I will tell you what I have been up to. I went
to the tourist office of Arjeplog. Far up in the north is Arjeplog,
rjepluovve. The name Arjeplog comes from the old Sami language "arjep"
(a lot /mycket) and "luogt" (rocks/stenigt). In the great forests. By
the mountain ranges. Among thousands of lakes. Peter made it his
mission to show me his favorite municipality and made sure that there
was not a second of boredom. I had an interview today - the local
paper, The Times...Arjeplog Times. It is strange not to do the
interviewing but to be on other side, although I should be used to it.

The
first night I slept in a hotel Silverhatten, and the owner with whom I
ate breakfast is the same person that owned the hotel in Mal. There is
a downhill with half pipe right next to the hotel. I tried going up the
ski slope with a four-wheel, and I failed miserably twice. Anyway the
Hotel room had cable tv and warm water. The bathrooms where very fancy
and many of the rooms have joining doors. A two bedroom can become a
suite or a three bedroom. They had given me a present at the hotel. It
was a fox hat. The fur was beautiful and the seams showed great
craftsmanship, and should keep me warm since Arjeplog can have really
cold weather.

I made some extra sandwiches, and afterwards
Peter, the manager of the tourist office, a friendly chap about 26 yrs.
old drove me out to the ice. Ice fishing is very popular here but Ice
fishing with the net is a rare opportunity. We ate some of the fish on
the spot. No, it was not a sushi version; we roasted it over an open
fire. We went by four wheel over the lake. It was really great, but the
most fun we had was as we came to the end. To a ice-race track. The
race track is situated right next to a restaurant at the deepest lake
of Sweden. The view from the hot tub facing the lake and the hills is
sensational.

Today I went out all the way to Adolfstrms that
played a major role in the mining of Nasafjllet. There are some
pictures of it on www.adolfstrom.se . They had a very unique shop - it
looked like one lost and forgotten by time, from a past century with
lots of toys... while Peter from the tourist office was talking on the
cell phone some of the toys went off and started playing music. One
bear started singing. They have many activities there, even a
helicopter service.

My clothes where all wet, not from
snow but from sweat. I was dressed for outside but the car ride made me
loose a couple of liters of sweat. Peter had the heat seating on, and I
didn't say a word since I wanted to see how much heat I could endure.

When
we got back I had moved my equipment to the second stop where I was to
spend the rest of nights. www.kraja.se. I had everything in this cabin,
even a possibility to dry the clothes. It was so cozy that I almost
overslept. It had everything from TV to a kitchen. The prices were a
bargain www.kraja.se . Their breakfasts where a feast, Savoj and Plaza
would not be able to compete with them. The best was their service. No
wait, the best was the dinner in the restaurant. No, the best was the
Sauna. No, wait, the best was the price. To tell you the truth I really
can't say what was the best. It was simply the best! I stayed there for
the remainder of my trip.

The next day turned out to be one of
the most interesting snowmobile rides I ever had. To get the chance to
talk to Robert Pantze, the painter. You know, I have never been a
person to pretend to understand art, but when I've come across his
paintings many times in my life, I actually feel something when I see
them. I am to see www.pantze.com

Even though it is said that
he does not give interviews anymore, he allowed me one of these rare
interviews, providing I come along on a tour as a "help," without the
German tourists knowing that I am actually there for him, and without
disturbing the harmony during the tour. Peter made sure that I would
have a snow scooter available, as well as transportation to and from my
cabin to see him. I will share the interview with you some other time.
His tours turned out to be one of the best and turned amateurs into
novices within a couple of hours. The course... it does not exist. It
is deep snow, woods and high mountains. We saw the holy mountain Sarek
in the distance while we prepared lunch. The Germans seemed impressed
that one could make a fire without matches or lighters.

Arjeplog
is so much more and has so many unusual tales. Tales of settlers and
Samis alike being used by the Swedish politics and church. A unusual
tale to tell in the triangle of the pole circle. A tale of a young
doctor. A tale of an outdoor-artist. The tale of prosecution. hunting
for riches, hunting for solitude, for harmony.

The Silver
Museum keeps the common memory, all share in the area. Fact is that,
yes, every one had it hard, and fact is many people suffered to bring
the silver to its present destination, the Silver Museum of Arjeplog.

The
Doctor who came and never left Agine, Einar Wallquist, arrived in
Arjeplog in1922. He was fascinated by the people - this is especially
the Sami, the countryside, which became the essence of his painting and
writing. He collected many things as well these recollections and
records of the life of the Sami people, as well as his fellow settlers.


Arjeplog is these days more known for its car testing; in school you can learn that

Swedens
deepest lake (Hornavan, 226 meter djup) is located here. You will also
find out in the statisticss that is that 0.3 persons live on every
square km. Arjeplog is Swedens fourth largest kommun (municipality).
With 12 945 square kilometer Arjeplog is as big as Skne och Blekinge
together. For norrbottningar measurements, Arjeplog is bigger than
Pite, Lule, lvsbyn och Arvidsjaur together. Even though its vast size
it has but 3277 inhabitants. Including the 70 kilometer long
Hornavanlake are an additional 8 726 lakes, giving each inhabitant
(arjeplogsbo) 2,5 lakes. If this abundance of water is not enough,
there is more water running trough here...Pite river, Skellefte river,
Laislven, Tjeggelvas, Uddjaur, Storavan, Aisjaure, Labbas and Rappen.
Needless to say fishing is big here especially Harr, ring och arctic
char.

The first newsletter in Arjeplog is dated in the 1700's.

Many
new settlers came from Sami of Vrmland and Kronoberg who where forced
to leave reindeer herding by the order of the King Gustaf, but also of
settlers from the coast area. Animal keeping made much sense because of
the natural grasslands close to the lakes.

Dellikns is one of those remaining from the 1800's.

It
is on top of mountainous area between Laislven och Delliklven. It was
used from 1892 och to the beginning of 1960's. Hunting and fishing was
one of the main sources of income, it still plays a very big part in
todays world.

Today this are is "ur" woods and nature reserve Delliklven.

In
Arjeplogs kommun is a treasure box for the left overs of the Sami
tradition. It must be preserved and funded. In Arjeplog you will find
six same villages, three of them belong to the wood tribe Skogssamiska
(Maskaur, Stkke, Kikkejaure) and three to the Fjll (tundra) tribe,
Fjllsamiska (Luokta-Mavas, Semisjaur-Njarg, Svaipa). Home construction
varies between the Skogssami and Fjllsami, and even a bit between the
different villages of the same tribe. This explanation could be found
and explained in the forced resettling from coastal Sami to Arjeplog.

Many
of the older samiska lodgings are still in really bad shape and time is
running out to save them. Evidence and research has proven that
reindeer herding is already found in Norr and Vsterbottens fjll and
wood area 500 b.c.e. (before common era)- 1800 a.c.e (after common
era). It is really amazing how little impact this form of herding has
damaged the environment. NONE!! Reindeer herding is the only form of
domestic animal usage that has not had any impact on the ecosystem.

1542:
The Swedish King Gustav Vasa declares that 'All unused lands belongs to
God, us and the Swedish Crown' (i.e., the King). An uncanny resemblance
with what was said about the North American continent at about the same
time - don't you think?

1603: The first church is built in "Lapland".

1635:
The mine in Nasafjll is opened and the Sami's are coerced to work, both
in the mine and with the transport of ore; those who refused to work
were cruelly punished.

This slave mine is perhaps the worst
atrocity committed by the Swedish government. Many Sami's fled from the
area, so a large part of the provinces previously used by Pite and Lule
Sami's was depopulated. The government sent troops to prevent the
Sami's from fleeing.

1673: The official start of colonization
of the Sami area. The idea was to encourage settlers to move to the
northern regions by granting land and water rights, as well as
tax-allowances. The settlers moved into the areas "unused" by the
Sami's; farming and cattle ranches were a source of livelihood which
contrasted strongly with the traditional Sami lifestyle. More
importantly is that the farmers hunting brought several species to the
brink of extinction, among them the beaver. The economic foundation of
the Sami hunting culture was destroyed and starvation became widespread
among the Sami's.

1685 : Burning of the Sami drums, persecution of those who practice the old religion, and destruction of holy sites and idols.

1693:
Lars Nilsson from Arjeplog is burned at the stake for "Witchcraft"
after he tried to save the life of his grandson who had fallen into a
creek.

There was a time in history when silver and copper were
very highly valued, especially since the war chest of Sweden was very
empty. Therefore after a find by a Sami, the first mine was opened at
Nasafjll, very close to the Norwegian border, in the municipality of
Arjeplog. Mining began in 1635 and a smelting work was built further
away. It was meant to become a eldorado and to make it boom, while the
Sami where forced to transport the ore with their reindeer. Profits and
production where very low and the transportation very difficult. The
mine was torched in 1959 by Danish and Norwegian troops. Over this
period a meager 861 kilograms of silver had been produced.

Did
you like hunting? If so Arjeplog is a beautiful natural eldorado for
those interested in hunting. And the great thing is that almost
everyone you meet shares your interest. Arjeplog offers small game
hunting on many fine hunting grounds. In these vast wildernesses, you
never need to crowd other hunters. Several chalet villages are to be
found up in the mountains, where grouse and other small birds are
abundant. There are several helicopter firms who can take you to
distant hunting grounds. Some hoteliers also offer packages including
flights, overnight accommodation and a hunting guide.

I love
fly-fishing and fishing in Arjeplog. It is wonderful to fish during the
long light days and nights of summer. To creep along a lake shore and
cast into the mirrored surface only disturbed by insects and wakeful
fish. Or to sit on a rock at a rapid and watch the fly following the
stream, suddenly to be swallowed by a kilo salmon trout! It does not
matter whether you are a beginner, a professional or have a handicap.
In Arjeplog, we have the best conditions for everyone to catch fish!
There are actually more than 8, 000 lakes here and three large rivers
offering almost all kinds of fishing. Only a couple of kilometers from
the built-up area of Arjeplog there is water suitable for fishing by
people with handicaps, with jetties, walkways and casting ramps in both
white water and still water. If you are a fly fisher you do not need to
be disturbed by other anglers as there are specially reserved waters
for fly fishing. If you want to go trolling we have the most
spectacular trolling fishery in the mountains on one of Swedens most
beautiful lakes - Tjeggelvas.

There was so much to see, that the
week went by too quickly, but if you come up to visit me, experience
the Sami culture At Btsuoj Forest Sami Centre, you can learn about the
Sami culture. Here, we will take you around the camp and tell you about
the work and traditions of the Sami people while we show you the
reindeers and the typical Sami huts. Before leaving you will enjoy a
genuine Sami dinner with reindeer meat and other local ingredients,
cooked on the open fire in the hut. Price per person: SEK 400:- (min 2
persons)

Ice racing with four wheelers

Challenge your
friends and become the champion at ice racing with a four wheeler. End
the race with a wood-fired sauna and a dip in the outdoor bathing tub.
Wonderful for tired winter muscles! Prices approximately: 500:-/Person
for a group of 10 persons

Elk safari

With snowmobile
and sledge, we will travel trough the Lapland forests. We look for elk
and other animals. The area that we visit has a dense winter stock of
elk which should give us a good chance of spotting the king of the
forest. When we make our stop for coffee, you can try your luck with
snow shoes and forest skis. Price per person: SEK 450:- (min 2 - max 8
persons)

Snow mobile safari

Join us on a guided snow
mobile safari, which takes us up to one of the beautiful outlook places
in Arjeplog. From here you will get a wonderful view over a large part
of the municipality, with its forests, mountains and lakes. Up on the
top we will stop for coffee before we make our way back to the centre
of Arjeplog. Price approximately: 810:-/person for a group of 4 persons

Dog sledge Tour (2 hours)

Learn
how to drive your own sled dogs. Together with a friend or colleague
you will learn from your experienced guide how to drive your own dog
team. The trip goes through the beautiful snow-covered forest and
halfway through we make a stop for coffee and a snack. The two
Norwegians are funny and entertaining and always up for a laugh. They
love their sweets and will be happy if you like their homemade
chocolate truffles. Price per person: 390:- (min 2 persons - max 6
persons)

They also offer longer rides. (4 hours)

You
will travel the silent way through the magnificent nature of Lapland.
The engine of your vehicle is the six hard working sled dogs that you
first will learn how to drive. We enjoy a meal in the wild, before the
journey continues. Included in the package: 1 sledge/2 persons, guide,
lunch and coffee. Price per person: 770:- (min 2 persons - max 6
persons)

Helicopter trip in Lappland

This 20-minute
helicopter ride will not take you to see the New York skyline. Instead
we promise you a tour with a magnificent view of the lakes, forests and
mountains of Lappland. With a little bit of luck you might get the
chance to see an elk or a reindeer. Price per person: 680:- (group of
4-6 persons). The tour is available on Sundays 11.00-12.00

Kick sledge rental

2 hours 30:-

1 day 80:-

3 days 150:-

4 days 200:-

1 week 300:-

Oh,
and if time permits it and you would like to go for a walk they have
snowshoe rentals 1 day 50:- SEK, weekend 100:- SEK, 1 week 200:- SEK

Quad bike rental includes fuel and warm clothing 15 min 60:-, 1 hour 190:-, 2 hours 250:-

Western riding

Riding lesson (1-2 persons) Price per person: 150:-/hour

Riding trip (1-2 persons) Price per person: 150:-/hour

Attractions in Arjeplog

The Silver Museum

The
Silver Museum has an unusual tale to tell: the tale of a young doctor
who came to Arjeplog in 1922 and stayed for the rest of his life. The
"Lapland Doctor," Einar Wallquist, was fascinated by the people and the
countryside, which formed the subject matter of his painting and
writing. And he collected...

Today, his collections and
records of the life of the Sami people (Lapps) and settlers represent a
shared concern for everyone living here. The Silver Museum is the
common heritage of all the inhabitants of Arjeplog. For information and
bookings: 0046-961-612 90.

The Doctor's House

You can
visit the founder of the Silver Museum, Einar Wallquists, beautiful
home. In July there are daily tours of the villa. Book through the
Silver Museum. For information and bookings: 0046-961-612 90.

Skeppsholmen Sami area

On this small island in Lake Hornavan you can see something of Sami architecture and walk in beautiful countryside.

Vaukastrmmarna Country Park

This
country park lies two kilometers from the centre of Arjeplog and
includes a nature trail suitable for persons with disabilities and with
good fishing. There are lots of places to picnic and have a barbecue,
all adapted for people in wheelchairs. This is part of the
Arjeplogstrmmarna fishery conservation area. Fishing permits can be
purchased in the Tourist Office. Information: 0961-222 30.

Galtispouda viewpoint

A
very pleasant place to visit by car, 15 kilometers from central
Arjeplog. Drive up to the top of the mountain and enjoy the view. On a
clear day you can see all the way to Norway in the west and to Sarek in
the north. This is the perfect place to experience the Midnight Sun.
Rapatjrn Lake and Ridge, a 6 kilometer long boulder ridge formed during
the Ice Age. There is a very fine nature trail where you can see traces
of the nomadic people who lived here during the Stone Age, with remains
of hearths, cooking pits and game traps. There are also three small
lakes with put-and-take fishing for char and rainbow trout.

Fishing permits can be purchased on site or at the Tourist Office. Information: 0046-961-222 30.

Adolfstrm

This
village developed during the second Nasafjll era. A forge and smithy
were built, as were, eventually livestock farms. Today you can see the
remains of the forge, smithy and the beautiful Majorsgrden House, which
has been restored to its original state. In Adolfstrm you really must
visit Handelsboden (the Village Store) where you can find everything
from sugar loaves and old wall hangings from the 1950s to fun gifts and
fine souvenirs. A little way from Adolfstrm lies Mrkforsen Nature
Reserve with a beautiful waterfall and unusual flora to study.
Information and booking of guided tours of Majorsgrden: 0046-961-230 40
or 0046-961-230 41.

Dellikns

A settlement above the
cultivation boundary, in country with no roads. More than a century
ago, a settler couple established themselves in an area of mountains
Dellikns. Today, this is a place where visitors can experience a
fascinating cultural and natural environment which provides
tranquillity and inspiration to even the most stressed-out modern soul.
Information and booking: 0961- 210 60 or info@guidelaponica.com

It
does not matter what time of the Year you come up, the ones living in
Arjeplog have many regular Events. The Winter Market is such a good
example.

The first time Arjeplog Market is mentioned in
writing was in 1640, but the tradition is probably even older. The
market was originally held in February, and at that time of year there
was often bad weather "market weather". The time of year was always
described as before or after the market. When people went to market
they took along things to sell or barter for something else, for
example clearing skin (dried fish skin used for clearing coffee), sewn
shoes, calfskin, goatskin, fox fur, squirrel fur, forest game, grouse,
reindeer shoulders and dried meat. The market did not begin until the
Sami arrived. It was a stunning sight when they came up on their
reindeer and traditional sledges (ackjor). Today the market looks
rather different among the goods on offer there are still articles in
skin, but also much else which did not exist in the 17th century.
Nowadays the winter market is staged at the beginning of March. In the
early days of the market it was the burgers of Pite town who had the
right to trade. Today a large number of people still come to the event
from the coast. But primarily it is our western neighbors, the
Norwegians, who attend the market. If you wish to find out more: mail
to turistinfo@arjeploglappland.se or ring 0961-222 30.

If you are as competitive as I am then the Racksund Fishing Festival is a must.

The
fishing competition in the Swedish municipality which has more lakes
and fish than any other. The event takes place over four days, in
waters belonging to Racksund- stansj fishery conservation area. If you
wish to find out more: mail to turistinfo@arjeploglappland.se or ring
0961-222 30.

Festival in Pite lvdal (River Pite Valley)

The
successor to the Lappland Festival, which was held for the last time in
2000. The Pite lvdal Festival was inaugurated in the summer of 2001,
and represents collaboration between the municipalities along the River
Pitelven: Arjeplog, Arvidsjaur, lvsbyn and Pite. During the summer of
2001, four concert days were organized in Arjeplog and visitors could,
for example, enjoy a performance from Stina Ekblad. Year 2002, July 4-7
Silveryran ('Silver Frenzy'). A three day festival in July with a
funfair, entertainment and the traditional duck race. If you wish to
find out more: mail to elisa@algonet.se . Folk Musicians' Rally. A
musical festival for all styles.

Silver Road Weeks

There are all kinds of activities throughout the valley. Arts and crafts exhibitions, fiddlers

rallies in Tjrnberg and cultural evenings.

For
a week in July each year different cultural events and lectures are
arranged showing how certain things used to be made in earlier times.

Culture in Laisdalen (Lais Valley)

Slagns Week

Art and cultural exhibitions and other cultural events over the summer.

The Autumn Market

This
market was staged for the first time in 1978. If you compare it with
the Winter Market, this is a recent phenomenon. Nevertheless, it
attracts both locals living away, people living on the coast and
Norwegians. And what is more, market traders come from all over
Scandinavia. If you wish to find out more: mail to
turistinfo@arjeploglappland.se

There are several alternative
forms of accommodation in Arjeplog, both as regards form and location.
There are hotels here with mountain views, a Youth Hostel in the centre
of Arjeplog, cabins with open fireplaces close to both the mountains
and streams, and more besides. Choose one of the areas on the map to
find out which type of accommodation is available at that location.

I
wish you could see some of the things I have seen, experience some of
the things I have. The sun that shines across the bare tops, the light
purple in the morning brushing the trees.. it is all so incredible. I
hope that the church and the state have learned their lesson when they
tried to change Arjeplog and its inhabitants. No matter how many
resources they try to drain or mine out of the area. The never really
discovered the real silver. That silver that is still in its original
place. In the veins and arteries. It is the blood of the people living
here. That is the real silver.

I really miss you so much and hope that you and your family will come up and visit me in Arjeplog.

Love Oliver



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