07.03.2014 - 08.03.2014 0 °C
Well guys we are going to have to backtrack just a bit. I know I promised you Morrocco however it would be remiss of me not to share the splendour of our last day in the frozen arctic with you. We set off in the morning from our hotel in kirkenes to go out to the snow hotel. Once there we were quickly ushered through the fat suit and warm boots room (we are much quicker at this now) and then outside with our guides Daniel and Robin who took us over to the dogs. Hundreds of excited Alaskan Huskies just busting to go for a run, barking and jumping around - all sooo exciting. We got to our teams and we set off (as the passengers at this stage). We headed off through a windy track through some trees and then came out onto a huge long flat white frozen fjord. (Just have to say it feels a bit strange writing this as the call to prayer for the Morroccan Muslims echoes down the valley we are in)
Any way - back to the fjord! The dogs galloped along pulling us - Haa for left and Chee for right and Stoo for stop! It was so quiet, white and peaceful with just the sound of the sled shushing through the snow.
We saw a herd of reindeer and then after a while we let the dogs stop for a rest which is amazing as they stretch out belly down in the snow to cool off and they lick and eat the snow. Then they got themselves in such a tangle we had to release and re set a couple (guides looked a bit embarrassed but we found it very amusing. We also learned that dogs can crap on the run and there are actually several techniques for it - might skip the details but it was quite funny to watch (and you couldn't avoid watching as its right in front of you)
We set off down the fjord and passed the crab fishers and the snow mobilers (well they passed us) and eventually found ourselves at a farm where we had a cup of hot chocolate. After a dog fight and a bit of mucking around (which included most of the dogs getting under the verandah of the crab cooking house looking for scraps) we set off and this is when we all learned how to be dog handlers. We were so good we were even given a dog handlers licence (must update my resume) and are now able to ad a new qualification to our snowmobiling and crab fishing ones.
The return journey seemed much quicker as we were driving and it is astonishing how hard it is to stop the team - even putting my full weight on the anchor brake!
Once back we farewelled our furry friends who totally ignored us as they got their dinner and we were led into a yurt like house with a fire in the middle and pots of soup hanging over it. We were given a reindeer and cheese hot sandwich on a homemade norwegian kind of damper which was delicious and this was followed with a bowl of salted cod and salmon soup. Even I the avowed fish hater enjoyed it! Thus fortified we went off to the airport to catch our flight to Oslo where we had the smallest room for three people ever (and it cost the same for one night in Norway that a week in Casablanca would cost!!)
Early up we had a happy birthday breakky for Manda who turned 49 complete with presents and a humming of happy birthday. And then off to the airport to leave the north and begin our African Odyssey.