Polar Stroll - Day 14-16

You could say that the day before yesterday was the most important turning point of my adventure so far, and not because I finally met the real Santa-Clause, who wasn’t just my neighbor with a thin beard glued to his face. I instantly knew that Santa was real, because he matched the generally known description - “He had a broad face, and a little round belly that shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly”. But, as I said, meeting Santa wasn’t the thing that changed everything - the actual turning point was my realization that I can’t go on like this.

When I reached the Polar Circle capital Rovaniemi, I was exhausted and, to tell you the truth, sick of dragging the sledge over the snow-drifts formed by the snowplows on both sides of the road and through the wet and sticky snow. Actually I was dragging not only the sledge, but also a huge pile of wet snow constantly growing in front of it. Maybe I shouldn’t blame the warm weather and snowplows, maybe I’m just too week for this, but anywho something had to be done, and it had to be done soon. So when I reached Rovaniemi and the warm home of Linda Rautiainen, who answered my SOS in the electronic waves of social networking and offered a place to stay, I started to analyze my possibilities and plan the changes.

Since I can’t adjust the temperature outside and it wouldn’t be reasonable to think that I could magically become considerably stronger, there was only one thing I could do - I had to rebuild the sledge. Some time ago when I was still traveling with Martins, we joked about putting our sledge on wheels. Well - the joke is on me, because now I actually have to do it. I can see no other way to continue this stroll. So I spent the last two days exploring bicycle shops and hardware stores and designing a frame on wheels for my sledge.

By the way, today I got a chance to experience the pure honesty of locals. When I tried to pay for some metal bars and screws, I realized that my wallet and passport are gone. Not a nice thing to realize standing in front of a cashier in a foreign country. At this point I had exactly 1 euro and a handful of pure panic. As I tried to asses the situation my phone rang with good news - the driver of the bus that took me to the sore had found my stuff and wanted to return it to me. Quoting Fred from Flintstones - “Yabba dabba do!”

After some hours of drilling and screwing in a local bicycle shop I’ve built a frame with two bicycle wheels. And it’s not bad - it rolls well and is quite rigid at least till my “piggy” hops on. Unfortunately the sledge is too heavy for my self-designed and self-built wheelbarrow, and the excessive weight makes it wobbly. The couplings are bending, and the wheels are curving outwards. It’s clear that the construction needs more work and I need some help preferably from someone, who knows what he’s doing and can weld stuff. So now I’m pushing my new wheelbarrow to the industrial district, where I will make camp and spend the night, and tomorrow morning I will look for help in the nearby workshops.

Karlis (66° 29.78N, 025° 43.27E)

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