- Encounters with locals
You might wonder how and why a village would spring up in the middle of nowhere, in a place where the temperature in winter never rises above freezing point. Nevertheless, I really, really like Kautokeino. It's the capital of Lapland, a sort of phantom state which extends across Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.
Distinguished by a culture that's strongly rooted in animism and with cathartic chants, the village of Kautokeino is the very heart of the Sami people (a more respectful and correct name than Laplander, which is now an archaic term). Here you will find a whole university dedicated to this people that has braved the cold and retained its powerful identity.
I'll never forget the students who welcomed me into their halls of residence and into their lives, with whom I drank vodka between watching out for the Aurora Borealis. It's somewhere that must be on the top of your list of places to go to when you're travelling in northern Norway, particularly in winter.