Local Lives: Meet the Hosts
Discover the nature, culture, heart and soul of Arctic Europe.
We know the quest for authenticity in our holiday experiences is shaping the way we travel; we want to respectfully engage with cultures and communities in the places we visit. It’s all about finding a window into the local interests through personal connections, a conversation at every stage of a trip. This is the essence of our Local Lives Portfolio – exploring spectacular destinations through the lives of locals.
Introducing the people you’ll meet…
Eva Gunnare - The Foraging Expert
Eva is a culture and culinary guide, a forager and a botanist. Her passion is wild and edible plants, how to preserve them and their value in nutrition and wellbeing. Originally from Stockholm, Eva moved to Swedish Lapland over 30 years ago and, for most of that time, she has lived in the town of Jokkmokk. Eva was married to a Sami man and as a mother of a Sami son, she is well-accustomed to the ways of indigenous Sami life, immersed in its culture and attuned to its ancient and pure ways of living with nature. During the summer and autumn months, Eva is normally found foraging for plants, berries and mushrooms in the forests and mountains of Laponia. She often makes them into oils or dries or freezes them. Always keen to share her in-depth knowledge, Eva will take you on a culinary and cultural journey through different tasting experiences. She has a unique way of communicating through singing, sharing stories and talking about her experiences.
Lennart Pittja - The Culture Connoisseur
Lennart Pittja grew up in a reindeer-herding family in the local Unna Tjerusj Sami community. Spanning thousands of years, their reindeer-grazing land is found in the mountains and meadows of Laponia, which was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996 for both natural and cultural reasons. It is here that Lennart decided to build the Sapmi Nature Camp as part of his commitment to responsible tourism – sharing his knowledge of Sami life, both past, and present, while helping to ensure the future of reindeer and reindeer herding in the area. Lennart invites his guests to be involved in the preparation of meals based on Sami cuisine. Fish such as Arctic char and sea trout are likely to have been caught by Lennart himself, while reindeer and moose meat is provided by his family and berries and herbs are picked from the Laponia wilderness. As well as taking part in activities, Lennart is also keen that his guests relax and enjoy the tranquility and beauty of the camp.
Ulf Juo Jonsson - The Stargazing Fanatic
From a young age Ulf has had a fascination with astronomy and the beautiful night sky so clearly visible in the arctic latitudes. Since retiring from the Swedish Armed Forces as an officer and a helicopter pilot he has continued working as a consultant in the areas of aviation, space and photography. However, his evenings are mostly spent in his own small observatory near Pine Bay Lodge. Ulf is keen to share his passion for the cosmos and his knowledge on the constellations. He will talk about how different cultures, such as the Greeks or the Sami, perceived the stars and the patterns in the sky. When visible, he will show you the craters of the moon, the moon landing sites and should the northern lights make an appearance, Ulf will be on hand to assist with the photography. The astronomy equipment he uses is a permanently mounted pier with 10 Micron GM 1000 HPS, GOTO mounting and the observatory is about 3 x 2 m with a roll-away roof.
Britta-Karin and Thomas - The Organic Farmers
A sixth generation farmer, Britta-Karin has worked on her family’s estate by the Lule River for the past 20 years. Together with her husband Thomas, they run an organic farm in the challenging environment of the Arctic. Their passion is to nurture and pass on the old knowledge and traditions of farming in the area. They have dairy cows, sheep, pigs, chickens and goats, as well as a thriving summer kitchen garden. This far north, vegetables and berries grow slowly, preserving and intensifying taste, colour and vitamins. During a visit to their farm, Britta-Karin and Thomas invite guests to meet the animals, explore the farm, learn about organic farming in the Arctic, take part in baking and, of course, taste some of their delicious homegrown produce.
Linn Huuva - The Culinary Artisan
Linn and her team of culinary artisans are behind the innovative Arctic Deli in Jokkmokk. This experience-based meeting place not only serves local produce, but also invites guests to join workshops specialising in Arctic food craft using homemade ingredients from local, small-scale producers. Linn’s vision for a meeting place, for both locals and visitors alike, developed from a simple cafeteria and lunch venue to a delicatessen renowned for its authentic taste experiences. The concept contributes to the sustainable development of this small Arctic community.
Sanne and Erik - The Husky Lovers
Originally from the Netherlands, Sanne and Erik have lived and worked as activity guides in both Finnish and Swedish Lapland for the past 10 years. Falling in love with the Arctic, the wilderness and most importantly the huskies, they decided to make their permanent home in Swedish Lapland. They now have their own husky kennels and work year-round on dog sledding tours in the winter and hiking tours during the summer and autumn. Sanne and Erik are keen to introduce guests to their spectacular forest surroundings, exploring the wilderness in the company of their beloved huskies.
Hege Enge Dekkerhus - The Wilderness Guide
Hege is an activity and wilderness guide who spends much of her time hiking, exploring nature and kayaking. Nature on the island of Senja is her medicine, motivation and meditation. She is keen to share her passion for Senja’s spectacular landscapes, encouraging her guests to experience the great outdoors, discover nature and learn the art of forest bathing. She is also very interested in Sami culture. Her passion for this stunning and remarkable island is infectious.
Sissel and Wenche Hole - The History Sisters
Sisters Sissel and Wenche wanted to change their hectic lifestyles, getting away from computers and social media to return to their roots in the countryside. Their desire to be closer to nature, people and animals was fulfilled when the opportunity arose to return to their childhood island of Tranøya. The island has a very calming and peaceful atmosphere – people feel relaxed and revitalized after visiting. Sissel and Wenche set about renovating the Old Vicarage Farm, protecting its original spirit, features and character. They have an immense knowledge of the island’s history and nature and welcome their guests to experience this very special place.
Issat Siri - The Sami Herder
Having lived in the north for thousands of years, long before the Vikings or Scandinavians, the Sami are one of the last indigenous people of Europe. The earliest settlements discovered in Northern Norway date back to 10,000 BC. Issat is a local Sami from the county of Troms in Finnmark. Although he spends most of his time in the mountains with his reindeer, he is also very keen to share his knowledge and passion for reindeer herding, local mountains and Sami traditions with his guests.
Jonny Mikalsen - The Husky Musher
Local to the Island of Senja, Jonny has over 30 pure-bred Siberian huskies. His dogs are his passion and lifestyle. They are almost part of the family. Bred and trained by Jonny, the dogs are used for husky sledding tours in the winter. But in the summer and autumn, guests can join Jonny and his huskies for hikes around Senja, enjoying the island’s beautiful landscapes and scenery.