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The magical inn

A house which is known to every northerner stands in the village of Karigasniemi in Utsjoki. Through its twenty years of history, Kalastajan Majatalo, or ”the Fisherman’s Inn”, has never lacked customers, who come here to enjoy a tasty meal or a friendly chat – or even a good brawl. Fortunately, the inn’s wildest days are now in the past. 

Karigasniemi is home to about 300 people, but the inn is a busy place and the village shops also do quite a lot of business. The price levels across the Norwegian border are considerably higher, so people still come to Karigasniemi when they feel like shopping, eating out or partying.

Ninety-seven percent of the clientele of Kalastajan Majatalo, which is also known as Hansabar, after its owner, comes from Norway. The inn opens its doors at 9 a.m. on weekdays during the winter season and as early as 8 a.m. in the summer. The inn serves lunch, dinner and drinks to a large number of regular customers, newcomers and travellers.

According to the inn’s owner, Hans Rasmus, the restaurant is currently the heart of his business.  The 1990s were an entirely different story, but things have calmed down a bit since those wild days. Still, Hans often has a house full of customers just like before. At the weekends, adolescents gather in the inn in large numbers. Many have come all the way from Karasjok and Lakselv. 

– People are pack animals. When the house is already full to the rafters, more people always turn up from somewhere. Maybe it’s the full moon’s doing? says Hans, with a grin on his face.

– We are often also busy in the middle of the winter. When someone gets married in Karasjok, the wedding reception is often held here.

The inn is a popular meeting place. People gather around a table to eat, drink and sing. Popular music, a favourite with adolescents, is usually played on Friday nights, while Saturday is the night for karaoke and dancing.

Karaoke became popular at Kalastajan Majatalo in 1997. According to Hans, rumour has it that his inn boasts the largest selection of karaoke music in Finland. A large number of regular customers from both sides of the border are enthusiastic singers and performers and gather at the inn to sing karaoke, especially in the summer.

– And many customers seem to find their singing voice after a few drinks, laughs Hans.

Ordering a pizza in the small hours of the morning has also been made easy – the only thing you need to remember is the word ”Teno”. The pizzas that are served at the inn all have the same name and are only distinguished by numbers. 

Although culture clashes may sometimes cause trouble, especially when disagreements are fuelled by alcohol, Hans says that no wars or border skirmishes have ever broken out at Kalastajan Majatalo.

– During the olden days, the Finns and Norwegians would gather somewhere to bash each other, but I have never needed to break up such fistfights at the inn.

A Norwegian newspaper, Finnmark Dagbladet, once published an article about life at Kalastajan Majatalo. When the inn’s customers were interviewed for the article, they described the inn as a place of magic in the middle of nowhere. The magic of Lapland must still be strong in a place where people from both sides of the border gather year after year: local residents, wedding guests, families, travellers... So, why not slow down at the inn yourself? Step in, make yourself at home and listen to our stories from years past.

Kalastajan Majatalo Karigasniemi
040 484 8171, toimisto(at)hansabar.fi