Thursday, March 30, 2017
Sunday, March 5, 2017
While our trailer is winterizing in Oregon we decided to take a trip to Lapland in North Finland to experience adventures we have not been able to do till now.
A few words about this area:
Lapland is Finland’s northernmost region, a sparsely populated area bordering Sweden, Norway, Russia and the Baltic Sea. It’s known for its vast subarctic wilderness, ski resorts and natural phenomena including the midnight sun and the Northern Lights. Capital Rovaniemi is the gateway to the region. The homeland of the indigenous Sami people, which extends into neighboring countries, centers on the far north.
Population: 179,997 (Aug 31, 2016)
Area: 100,366 km² (92,667 km² Land / 7,699 km² Water)
A group of retired airline employees which I belong put up a plan for 7 days visit that included :
A direct flight to Rovaniemi (5 hours flight), hotel in the center of this small city with a walking distance to a shopping area (not that I cared about it), full board, transportation to and from activities and a guide .
All included and you could put the wallet in the safe unless you go shopping or to a bar.
We landed in Rovaniemi at noon from a temrature of 17C (62.6F) to minos 5C (23F)
A heated bus took us directly to the supply hall where we were all lent (included in the price) ,heavy over coat, special boots,gloves,hat,warm neck scarf and stockings, this is going to be our outfit for the whole week while we are in the outdoors.
We all looked and walked like penguins having 3 layers of clothes under the coat, but after a while we got used to it and even dressed up in 10 minutes...
At the same evening after a good meal we walked to get used to the gear about half a mile to see the Northen Lights calle Arora.
It is a phenomena consisting of colorful and varied patters in the night sky.They are caused by charged solar wind particles hitting the Earth’s atmosphere and the best time to spott them is in the dark and cloudless nights in the fall and winter.
We were lucky and saw this fantastic sky show before we got frozen…..it comes unexpectedly and goes in a matter of seconds, you need to be patient and be ready with your camera which is not easy having the gloves on.
The next day it was all about snowmobiles, they were waiting for us next to the hotel and each couple geared up and after breakfast got a helmet and an introduction to this fast going vehicle.
The 3.5 hour ride was mainly on the frozen river and the woods, it was allot of fun and dressed properly the only place I felt cold was right hand using the throttle.
After an hour or so we stopped for a break and learned how to fish from the river by drilling a hole in the ice, it come without saying that we caught nothing....
After a short rest we all went for dinner and around 10 PM again to see the Arora (some did this every night).
The next day we experienced Northern Deer ride (like Santa Clause was using...)and Husky Dog sleds ride .
Sitting on the Deer Slade was not comfortable and I was happy it was a short ride.
The Husky dogs were amazing, all they wanted to do is run and run fast, to stop or to slow down you have to step hard on a a metal bar into the snow it has spikes and it is done by the person that stands behind the sled, you have to slow down as you make a curve or you might be thrown away...but it was all fun.
After getting used to the gear and the routine we took on the next day a hike of 2 Miles round trip to a frozen waterfall.The way to the falls was down hill which means that on the way back is uphill , although it is a short hike some found it difficult considering the heavy clothing and the path condition that had some ice spots on the way, but it sure was worth evey inch.
A Chocolate fundo and a toilet break on the way to the falls, what a treat...
We also did some “Sandal” walking in the deep snow , very good for morning exercise.
The next morning we woke up at 4:30 AM to be able to catch the Arctic Ice Breaker Ship SAMPO that leaves at 8AM a 2 hours drive from the hotel.This was a very special event as you can see from the pictures below.First we had a Ship tour before heading to the Baltic Sea to break Ice.
The Ship stopped at a certain point where we could walk on the ice and soak in the cold waters wearing special suites.
After 10 minutes the cold water gets to you even after wearing 3 layers of clothes with no coat and they pull you out to the change and have a hot tea, woow no complains now if there is no hot water to take a shower back home.
In the remaining time we went to see High Jumps, ice hockey game, visited Santa Village (a tourist trap), Ice Hotel and a zoo.
It was a unique experience, very tense but enough time to enjoy the minute and come back home with a suitcase full of memories , there is no better time now to plan our next trip that will be in June to Oregon to pick our rig and explore Oregon and Washington till November.