A nobleman meets an unknown way of life

The Finnish guides bid Acerbi's party farewell at Raastajoki. The party is now left with the reindeer herding Lapps. The experienced globetrotter encounters a way of life, totally unknown to him, and feels disconnected from the rest of the world. He writes that his existence seems to lie in the hands of the unpredictable Lapps.

The journey continues, in extreme heat and pestered by hoards of mosquitoes, first by foot, then by boat along the river Alattiojoki towards Kautokeino. Many men are needed to carry the equipment because the reindeer cannot be trusted any carrying of loads at this time of the year. The heat and the mosquitoes can get the reindeer into pure fury. And if possible, even people try to avoid journeying in the fell areas in July.

The nomadic way of life is too alien to Acerbi. He thinks the Lapps' behaviour is extremely asocial and lazy. Even the ease of fishing and the abundance of the catch are only examples of the Lapps' laziness to Acerbi. It is much easier for him to approach the Lapps who stay and live in one place. In Kautokeino his eyes meet a far more familiar and more understandable human race. He describes the local farming settlers as energetic people who, however, appreciate the value of money too high.

In Kautokeino Acerbi has a guide and interpreter who is a teacher by profession. He has an interpreting duty in church services: he has to interpret the sermon of the Danish priest, sentence by sentence, into the Lappish language. For this task he is in the habit of always placing himself under the pulpit.


 At the mercy of the mosquitoes and the weather
On the character of the Lapps


A.F.Skjöldebrand: The village of Kautokeino
(a detail)


Kemi | Tornio | Ylitornio | Pello | Köngäs | Kolari | Muonio | Enontekiö | Kautokeino | Alattio | Nordkapp
Route | Scientific interests | Pictures from travels | On Acerbi's footsteps
Travellers in Lapland