Places still exist where there’s no point asking for the password for the wifi. Places where you leave your mobile behind to spend some quality time with others – or perhaps with yourself. The Sámi eco-lodge Geunja and the camp in Tjuonajokk are two of Swedish Lapland’s finest places.
Mikael Vinka has a passion for the history of his ancestors. Even as a child the older generation saw that he loved listening to the tales they told and that he would pass on the stories and the knowledge. It’s nothing unique. Sámi history – like that of many other indigenous people – is an oral tradition. In the absence of a written language, stories were told again and again around the campfire. Mikael runs his hand along the hand-hewn timber wall of the main cabin in Geunja and says:
— In the past, two things mattered when we chose where to live. One of them sounds like pure shamanism, but the other is very practical.
— First of all, you had to feel welcome. You just walked around and tried to get a feeling for whether it would be a good location to settle, or not. You sat down and listened to what nature and the spirits told you.
Obviously, if you sit down on that hill tomorrow morning and look out over the lake, I’m sure you’ll agree this is a good spot, he says and points towards a hill by the lake.