I had been eagerly counting down the days till I got to meet these wonderful animals and finally, the day had arrived! We were transferred from our accommodation at Luosto and finally, we pulled up to a traditional Scandi-style house. We popped out of our bus (well, I ran) and was greeted by our lovely host, Anu.
Anu took us along to the reindeer grazing area and allowed us to help ourselves to some of the feed. We stepped inside and I was almost shaking I was so excited! The reindeer cautiously wandered up to us and started nibbling away at their feed, it was so cute. I honestly could have stayed there all day, they’re such incredibly gentle creatures!
After meeting these adorable animals, we headed inside to the Kota - a traditional Lappish wooden tepee structure. Inside there were tables, chairs, reindeer skins and traditional artwork placed around the central roaring fire. Anu cooked us an authentic Lappish meal made up of traditional delicacies such as northern aromatic berries, freshwater fish, tasty mushrooms, and wild reindeer. Sadly, I can’t comment on how the reindeer was, but the vegetarian option was delicious, as was the cloudberry cheesecake.
The evening continued with Anu explaining the ways of the Sámi people, their legends, and modern-day practices. Over the next couple of hours, I had learnt so much about the Sámi culture that I’d developed a completely new appreciation for this part of the world. Anu was an amazing host and ended the night perfectly with a traditional song, sang to us whilst we enjoyed our last drink of the evening.
- Don’t ask how many reindeer your herder has- it’s rude! It’s the equivalent of asking how much you earn.
- Don't try to cuddle the reindeer! These beautiful animals are quite shy, so stay back and let them come to you. If you're holding food, I guarantee they will make their presence known!
- Remember that even though reindeers are adorable, they hold cultural importance in Lapland and are the means to a sacred and protected way of life - they aren't pets! (sadly).