I was sorting through my photo collection the other day and found a record of a trip Mr EE and I took to Norway, Sweden and Finland a few years (ok 10 years) ago. It was one of the last holidays we took on our own before our family expanded to include the children and we had a blast. We had been meant to go diving but had been gazumped from our liveaboard so decided to drive around the north instead.
Coming into the town of Ostersund after a long drive through the northern Swedish forests we had a huge shock. While we were waiting at a traffic lights we saw a bad collision between a car and an ambulance. I remember calling 112 to report it but was unable to explain where the accident had taken place. I think I thrust my mobile at a local because I do remember getting it back a little while later. Together with another man we were first to the ambulance and were able to get the paramedics and patient out onto the road and, at their instruction, get the oxygen away from the vehicles. By the time all the furore had died down and the police had confirmed that there were enough local witnesses that they would not need us to give statements we were a little late to book into a camp site. Still rather shaken we gave ourselves a treat of a night in a hotel, we must have looked pretty bad because the hotelier, when we told him about the accident, mentioned he had heard it on the news and offered us a brandy on the house.
|Reindeer crossing the road
The next day we wanted to take things gently, we had seen signs for a moose garden and, intrigued as to what that would be like we decided to visit. We had seen lots of herds of reindeer during our drive but no moose. The farm was closed when we arrived but the owner was extremely friendly and took us to meet his moose (mooses, meese??).
Moose, it turns out, cannot be domesticated but they can be tamed. A significant number of moose are the victims of car accidents every year and some are nursing mothers. This gentleman takes any abandoned calves in and hand rears them. Some stay with him on the farm.
As we went round we got to meet Helge, a huge male moose who was so tame he let us stroke his beautiful antlers. I thought they would be bony but they are covered with a beautiful soft fur. We were then allowed into the paddock with some baby moose who fed quite happily from our hands. Any babies that are bred on the farm and are to be retained there have to be taken from their mothers at an early age or they will not be tame. It was quite a wonderful experience seeing these two little babies, similar in size to a domestic calf and know that they are going to grow up into gigantic, powerful beasts.
It was a very calming experience and we felt a lot better about our brief stay in Ostersund.
Posted as part of the Animal Tales Linky