|A skeleton model of a traditional Sami tent|
|The reindeer herd and Sami people waiting for us|
We were greeted by 2 Sami people dressed in the traditional costume called Gatki, made of reindeer leather and fur. There was a traditional Lavvo (Sami tent) from which thin layer of smoke was coming out, there were reindeer antlers fixed in the snow as a decoration. The whole tundra region was covered with blanket of fresh snow, the sky getting clearer and showing off the blue colour, Sun was peeping out of the clouds, and the reindeers were lazing around.
|The 2 Sami people we met|
|Reindeer Antlers used as decoration|
|All set to sleigh with reindeer in the tundra|
|A lovely house we encountered during the reindeer sleigh|
|Snow, tundra, reindeer, bells and sleigh – quite an experience!|
After a good 25-30 minutes ride, we were back to the starting point where 2nd group of people where waiting. By then the snow got reduced, and the Sami people taught all of us how to throw lasso. Lasso is a long rope that’s used to catch reindeers. The lasso is thrown on their antlers and pulled to bring the reindeer. After a bit of demonstration, we all were given chances to throw lasso! It was fun to try them, but we all were close enough, but could not exactly put the lasso. Then we all went into the Lavvo, traditional Sami tent.
|Inside a traditional Sami Lavvo with bonfire|
With the temperature at sub zero condition and snowing, we all felt nicer as we entered the Lavvo. There was a bonfire in the middle of Lavvo, but moments later, we all got choked up with smoke. Trine, our host suggested that we lay flat and rest our head down to avoid the suffocation. We all did as she said, and felt better, but couldn’t continue our stay in the Lavvo for more than 10 minutes. By the time we all came out, the 2nd group had completed their sleigh and were back. And the snow had stopped, thankfully!
We all took our time to take pictures with reindeers and Sami people. Then took off to a modern Lavvo tent built near Trine’s house. they are build in wood, with same looks, only a little bigger and spacious.
|The look-alike Modern Lavvo|
We were impressed with the way these modern Lavvo were built and were tastefully decorated by Trine and her family. Inside, there were picnic tables, and chairs, and nice wooden stools topped with reindeer fur. There was a huge bonfire in the centre and there were antlers kept in random places. Coming inside such a cozy tent was welcoming, especially after being drenched in snow.
|Interiors of Modern Lavvo maintained by Tromso Friluftsenter|
We were offered hot tea/coffee. After chit chats and more talks, Trine served us with traditional soup known as Bidos, a reindeer meat stew with vegetables that was prepared by her. This is a traditional food of Sami served during weddings and other celebrations. Since we opted for vegetarian food, we were offered bread rolls with cheese.
We heard from other travellers that the stew tasted really good. After a little more chat, we came to know that Trine’s ancestors were Sami themselves. She and her brother grew up listening to the Sami stories from their grandfather who was also a Sami. Although Trine and her family have not registered as Sami, they are proud of their roots, and that was evident from the amount of information she shared with us about Sami culture and history.
They had butt boards available inside the tent which a couple of us used to do sledging on the slopes close to their home. Came back, and had bit more talks and roasted marshmallows, but this time we heard the Sami singing their traditional song called Joik. It seemed like a perfect ending to a great tour. After spending a good 5 hours on the tour, we were ready to travel back to Tromso city centre.
We had absolutely fab time understanding Sami culture, and having sleigh fun with reindeers. We totally recommend this tour if you happen to be in Northern Norway, because there’s no better way to experience Sami culture than this. And Tromso Friluftsenter are the guys who can make this dream come true. They are very professional and run the tour without any hassle, and most importantly know the business so well, and are extremely knowledgeable about Sami people and their culture.
Information about the Tour:
When: The tour runs between January to March every year
How much: Costs 1450 NOK per person
Duration of the tour: 4-5 hours
Sami are the indigenous people of Northern Europe / Scandinavian region. Sami’s homeland is spread across northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. There are roughly about 70000 Sami people currently living across Arctic. Sami’s language, clothing, handicraft, lifestyle and music is distinctive. Reindeer and Sami have a great cultural connection with Norway that’s more than 1000 years old.
Tradition of Castrating Male Reindeer
Check out our sledging and Sami Experience video that covers our sleigh ride, tundra landscape, inside a modern lavvo and Sami singing their traditional song called Joik.
Note: Reindeer Sledging and Sami Experience was made possible by Tromso Friluftsenter. We would like to thank them for giving us this opportunity. As always, all the opinions expressed here are our own.