If you're in Saariselka and you want to see a true craftsman at work, visit Lintu-Antti, otherwise known as the Bird Man. He has been professionally carving intricate bird ornaments from wood for the past 12 years and studied the craft for 30 years to perfect his trade. With his Kuukkelilampi restaurant as the backdrop for his work, he serves up savory grilled fish and crepes for his customers and gives them bird carving demonstrations while they eat.
When you walk into the circular-shaped wooden restaurant, you immediately notice the the product of his work: hundreds of beautiful birds hanging from the ceiling, wooden logs used as tables and chairs, the smell of wood on an open fire (which functions as a kind of barbecue pit for the restaurant), and the curls of wood scattered on the floor.
The grilled whitefish and mushroom dill salad were served to us on parchment paper with carved wooden spoons. I thought this was very environment-friendly. The fish was so tasty. Perhaps it was the fact that the fish was grilled right before our eyes. For dessert, we were served coffee and crepes sprinkled with sugar. Again, simple, yet delicious.
As we ate, Lintu-Antii began carving his bird, explaining each step as he went along. From a medium-sized piece of wood, the bird form quickly began to take shape. In a matter of minutes, the wood was transformed and he was carving out the fragile wings.