Today will be dedicated to the discovery of the Lappish wildlife. The programme includes a visit to the world's Northernmost zoo and to a husky farm, including a sledge ride!
It will take about 1h15m to reach Ranua and Alain takes the chance to give us some info on this beautiful country, including its history and economy.
Finland is a relatively new country: it used to be part of Sweden, before it became independent in 1917. At the time, it was the poorest country in Europe, but then it started investing in micro-technology. Wood export is also an important factor in the Finnish economy.
There are three official languages: Finnish, Swedish and Russian. The two last ones are spoken by 12% of the total population (6% each).
Samis were the first inhabitants of Northern Europe and live in 4 countries: Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. However, most of them reside in Norway (around 40.000), where they have their own government and school system and are the only ones allowed to have reindeer farms. On the contrary, in Finland they don't have any special status.
The state grants many services free of charge: school is free and kids are also served a meal each day. Hospitals are free and doctor visits have a symbolic fee (5 euros). However, due to the free accessibility to the whole population, waiting times are extremely long. Which means that for urgent cases it is necessary to go for private specialists, that are extremely expensive.
At 10 am we finally arrive at Ranua zoo. We have two hours to visit the place and take pictures of the beautiful creatures it hosts. And it's merely enough...
The Zoo has a wide range of animals endemic to the Arctic region: from the tiny lemmings to the gigantic polar bears, not to forget deer and moose. The real highlight is however Charlie (that's how we named him), a super-cute-and-fluffy beaver that melts our hearts at first sight. While his companions are sound asleep, he happily eats a carrot while holding it with both hands 🥕🥕🥕And, inevitably, despite the undeniable beauty of the polar bears and the wolves, we end up going back twice to Charlie's home before leaving the zoo.Read more