Breakfast in Maze (“Masi”)

While listening to the wind running through the delicate leaves of the birch forest which is showing early autumn colours, I am enjoying a late breakfast with fresh cloud berries at the lonely mountain station near Maze (pronounced “Masi”) at the Northern rim of the Finnmark Vidda.

To reach this place , I have followed the Alta river for 50 kilometers from the North Atlantic Coast as I had done many times years ago when I worked here as a veterinary student.

The Vidda is seemingly endless, with very little features and with a very fragile eco-system (there is a very thin line here between just bare rocks and a vibrant low growing arctic forest with a dense layer of small shrubs and flowers that depend on precious four months of endless light and on unfrozen ground) you will find at this place one of Europe’s harshest climate conditions.

This truly is Sami country – if you are not born here, you will never fully understand or appreciate it. Every piece of the environment was vital for human survival: the trees provided firewood and precious housing and construction material, the berries gave much needed vitamins especially through the long months of winter and darkness, the reindeer was a vital source of food, material for clothes and transport and even the snow and ice made progress so much faster and easier in the winter.

Although modern transport and supply systems have by now eliminated most off these direct needs – the (much larger but less tasty) bluebeeries in the local supermarket are coming today from green houses in the Netherlands …..- a deeper understanding and adaption of the Sami way of life (eg to consider winter with the polar night as the by far best season of the year (the world around you covered in a blanket of pure white, just iluminated by the moon and the stars with very few noises or smells and without any tourists) is vital to enjoy life here.

At the cabin I was greeted by a friendly Samoyed – a dog breed made for these climates.

This small island of shelter has for over 150 years not only been a road side cafe, but in many cases an absolute lifesaver for hikers being taken by surprise by a sudden change of the weather conditions.

The mountain hut offers not only simple accommodation, but now also a pretty good percolated coffee and the surprisingly good cloud berry icecream and the home made waffle are testimony of the progress the culinary offerings have made since my last visit.

But now 80 km (or 8 Norwegian miles….) further South to Kautokeino….

Published by The Blue Vet

I am a veterinary surgeon with a German and Norwegian educational background. I have been the founder and for over 20 years I have been the senior veterinarian at the Virginia Water Veterinary Clinic in Surrey, England. When starting this blog I was also the President of FECAVA, the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations. In the summer of 2019 I left my clinic to work as an international locum and clinical advisor. I am interested in all aspects of clinical companion animal medicine, in endurance sports and in traveling and meeting people with and without their pets and especially in sharing my knowledge with colleagues in other parts of Europe and the World.

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