A Timeless Member of the Slow Movement

JergulSlow food and slow cities have caught on for the last thirty years. The movement was started in 1986 by Italian food lover Mr. Carlo Petrini. It was the alternative to life in the fast food line, such as McDonald’s. The idea of using traditional local produce in a clean and healthy environment spread to tourism around 2000. A number of small towns in Italy formed Cittaslow. They must have gotten the idea from Jergul. Jergul Asttu is a premier destination in the category slow.

There are no neon lights in Jergul. Jergul Asttu prides itself on providing you a service where time is yours. It is the old Saami way of dealing with time. Time is not passing, it is forthcoming.

After magic moments of joik into the wee hours of the night, it was time to get up as usual in the morning. One would think that going to bed late at night meant getting late out of bed. Not so, late nights in the Arctic don’t spoil an effective start of the next day.

The previous night Ms. Berit Alette Mienna sang joiks in the moonlight. We were outside and there were no other sounds in the air. The only sound on this sunny morning was the occasional drift from the wind. It was possible to make new recordings outside, as if it was a padded recording studio. If you are looking for a slow destination, Jergul is calling in volumes.

Berit talked with reverence about the past of Jergul. She is just one of many siblings involved in this classic accommodation establishment. The first building is so special it deserves its own blog post.

Her grandmother was famous for her butter. People used to say, it was the best butter they ever tasted

Her mother was also an astute cook and baker. Almost before the term of catering was invented, she travelled long distances to serve the homemade bread and delicious soup. She even served her food as far as Finland in weddings and other celebrations. A woman of many talents, she was also very interested in sharing. She called upon her children to share and live by the old stories of the Saami people.

The river Iesjohka quietly moves past Jergul Asttu. The river has through the years been important for the people along the river. The river is perfect for canoeing. The salmon, trout, and northern pike have been an important part of the diet. There is also grayling in the drainage system. We don’t catch more than we need, Berit explained. She sat in the riverboat and fished for a few minutes, the fish didn’t bite this morning. Not even after a joik.

The river can be a dangerous place for kids. Berit went on; When we grew up, there was no kindergarten. Often we would play outdoors on our own. But we were told stories about the trolls. The trolls would come and get us if we did things our parents did not want us to do.

On the Diamonds of the Arctic tour we visited Trollholmsund. Maybe a lot of stories are just a smart way of nurturing kids?

The old stories are maybe not out-of-date after all. In Jergul, stories and service are blossoming.

Jergul asttu

Berit Alette Mienna on a riverboat

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Posted in Karasjok, LIFE, MIDNIGHT SUN ROAD

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