Cheap as Chips

Trip Start Sep 02, 2006
Trip End Sep 27, 2006

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Flag of Finland  ,
Tuesday, September 26, 2006

We reported for duty first thing this morning and made the mile drive south back to Rovaniemi where we were due to return the hire car at 1100. The weather was pretty dismal a low cloud/distant fog seemed to be all around and the temperature at one point hit -1 degree C, which I think is a trip record. However, it didn't snow on the way down and the drive was so smooth that all of us, hopefully apart from Paul, drifted off to sleep. We had a few narrow misses with some Kamikaze reindeer who kept running out into the road. I am not sure if the Finnish have a lot of reindeer related accidents or are very vigilant drivers, but we have come across herds of them fairly frequently alongside most of the 'A' roads we have been driving on.

Once we arrived in Rovaniemi we dropped the packs off into a day locker in the railway station and drove the car back into the centre of town. We needed to fill up so we pulled into the first petrol station we found. It turned out to be an automated system with nobody on the forecourt overseeing what was going on. We put in €20 and that filled fine, we decided to add in a further €20 for good measure only to find out that the nozzle has to be replaced before the pump will fill again. €20 well spent, I think not! I had now run out of money and Graham and Bo chipped in to try and put a further €15 in the machine, which worked this time. So the half tank ended up costing the same as the full tank the day previous.

We paid up for the rental then headed into town. The weather was still fairly bad so we popped into a shopping centre and sat down in a rather expensive coffee shop and had coffee and pastries. We had about 6 or so hours to kill but with no transport and the weather being fairly dull we didn't have too many open options. We wasted some time by going to the library to hop on the 20 minute Internet terminals. After a brief browsing session we headed back out again and this time we went to a local type pub and had a few rounds of beers. By this time we were getting fairly hungry, so the decision was made to swing by the most northerly McDonalds in the world. I was hoping they would have had some form of placard detailing the vital statistics, but to my surprise, the answer was no. We had some chips and drinks before taking a long wander back to the train station via a supermarket so we could buy some nibbles for the journey.

We played a couple of rounds of cards in the station whilst waiting for our train to arrive. When it turned up the train was 12 passenger carriages long and we were at the far end from the station. The train we were taking was to be called the 'Santa Claus Express', so I guess everything had to be just so, and it was, no complaints. The weather was starting to really come in by the time the train was just leaving the station and by the next stop it was heavy drizzle, if there is such a thing? However the cover of night was fairly fast to join us and most heads were beginning to nod off.
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