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Pole to Pole

Day 19: Karasjok

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleThere isn't much to see in Karasjok. It's a transit town, straddling the E6 Arctic Highway on the tourist route to the North Cape. But if you look a little closer, if you stop for more than the statutory half-hour the coach tours allow at the gift shop, there is evidence here of a thriving culture which is not Norwegian or Swedish or Finnish. It is Same, and it is alive and well, with its own museum, radio station and since 1989, a gleaming new Same Centre, incorporating their own parliament. I meet Gunhild Sara, who has travelled all over the world and lived and worked in Canada and Tanzania.

I ask her if this is not just Lapland by another name.

'Lapland doesn't exist. We are in Sameland.'

So she isn't Norwegian then? She shakes her head dismissively.

'I am Same. I shall always be a Same. Whatever passport I hold I shall die a Same.'

I ask what took her to Tanzania, and she smiles, which is rather a relief.

'Very common thing, you meet a handsome fellow and then you just go!'
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 19
  • Country/sea: Norway
  • Place: Karasjok
  • Book page no: 37

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