Luosto, 2007

Eventually we managed to catch a thin strip of green light - the Aurora Borealis - which would have been disappointing had we not had so much fun already.

An excellent guide

Gabby joined us for this part of the trip. Our guide for most of this leg, in Luosto, was Sauli, weather-hardened, strong but gentle with us. On the way to our lodge from the airport, in the middle of a wide stretch of nothingness, he said, "That's my house." We couldn't see anything beyond some lights flickering to our right.

"How do you tell?" we asked.

"By the lights."

He was a nice bloke who suffered quietly what must have seemed to him our utter ignorance and clumsiness in the snow.

Instant shamans

Between mugs of steaming hot berry tea, we rode in reindeer sleds, fed reindeer, listened to reindeer stories and ate reindeer. We sat in sleds pulled by packs of huskies bred to be people-friendly and "not for pageant shows". We scooted around in snowmobiles, with me driving mine into a ditch - twice...

And digging for amethyst, we became instant shamans - when all four of us found the supposedly rare shaman stone.

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