A Travellerspoint blog

An Anniversary to Remember

What an amazing anniversary trip to Finland

overcast 3 °F

I love the breakfast here; smoked salmon, herring, veggies and coffee. We will try more of these breakfasts at home

We had to get out for our reindeer safari at 10am so we had to eat breakfast sooner than later. We found that we were sharing the safari with 4 other people. The others were parents with 2 kids, a 7 and a 2-year old.

Our guide arrived, dressed in the garb of his people. We learned that he is part of the Sami, an indigenous group, located in the Lapland area. They are known for raising reindeer. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sami_people

The guide introduced us to a bit of his life. The reindeer belong to him and he is so kind to them, they are really like his children. He pets them, smiles and speaks so kindly to each reindeer. The ride itself was so beautiful, quiet except for the sled going over the snow.
We each had a reindeer skin to sit on which kept us really warm. Then nice wool blankets to cover with.

Each sled had a reindeer to pull it but all were attached to each other in a long line. The reindeer behind us kept coming over to Dale’s side and tried to lick Dale’s face on a couple of occasions. The reindeer in front is a leader in the group and the other reindeer let it eat meals first. It knew the way and would sometimes run, sometimes walk, sometimes slow way down to put his nose in the snow or grab a bit of snow.
IMG_20161216_105335115.jpgIMG_20161216_110051455.jpgIMG_20161216_111345996.jpgIMG_20161216_133831744.jpg
After our ride, we were invited into the guide’s tepee. This is a place where he likes to sleep in during summer months. He built a fire, served coffee, tea, and cakes, and then played a couple of songs of his people.

We had a sleigh ride scheduled for 9:45pm. We arrived at the reception desk and met our guide, then walked to the barn. The guide handed us a basket that contained a small bottle of champagne, lots of chocolates and 2 traditional wood cups. He said that we could have the champagne when we wanted.

The snow was so beautiful in the dark. Again, it was so quiet except for our sled, and again we sat on the reindeer skins.

We saw some lights in the distance, which we assumed were a house. Instead, they were lights from candles, a sort of Finnish farolito, in the snow. The guide had dug a hole then built up a wall of snow around the edge, with a hole one side leaving the top open. There were several of these candle holders. There was also a table, covered with snow, and candles. In the back, there was the structure of a tepee, only the wood, no covering.
We set our basket on the snow covered table, poured our champagne, ate some chocolate and took photos with the big camera on the tripod.

Wow, what an end to our trip!!! This has been an amazing journey.

Posted by Miss Chris 16:34 Archived in Finland Tagged snow walking finland outdoors reindeer winter_in_finland kaksluttanen sleigh_ride Comments (0)

Finally, The Glass Igloo

We made it to the glass igloo in the Arctic Circle

overcast 3 °F

We wanted to take the early bus up to Kakslauttanen, the resort that was the original purpose of this trip. There is no train north, hence the bus ride. We left our room by 7:15 and walked to the bus station, about a 20-minute walk. It was cold and dark but beautiful and invigorating.

The bus arrived and 2 women took a turn driving the 4-hour drive over snow-covered roads. Some roads were only snow but the women were pros. It appeared to us that the bus was partly city bus, for the outlying areas. And by outlying, there was nothing around for miles, then a little pullout with a sign with a bus symbol.

A couple of times, the route took a turn to the right, off of the main road, and the road was just snow covered. It went off thru the forest then by a few houses and then joined the main road.

We made it to Kakslauttanen by early afternoon but our room wasn’t ready. Also, I’d selected a couple of activities, but for whatever reason, the final info didn’t make it to the desk. We’d wanted to go on a Reindeer Safari in the morning and a sleigh ride in the evening. The lady at the desk said that we could go on the Reindeer Safari in the morning but the sleigh ride had to be requested 1 week prior. I had requested but since the request had not gotten thru we said we’d go on a sleigh ride, sharing it with other people.
IMG_20161215_141113252.jpg
The lady talked on the phone then came back. Because they knew this was our anniversary, they had arranged a sleigh ride for just the 2 of us. It would be for Friday night, our anniversary.

We got to our igloo, only to find 2 small bottles of champagne and 2 stems, a large bar of chocolate and a smaller bar of chocolate truffle, along with a note. What a nice touch.
IMG_20161215_142603098.jpg
The glass igloo is small, just 2 twin beds in the center, and a small cabinet around the edge on 2 sides. A small bathroom with opaque glass is on one side of the entry door and a shelf on the other side of the entry. No TV, no internet, just the sky above and snow on the ground.
IMG_20161215_141838791.jpgIMG_20161215_142611793.jpg
We had a drink in the igloo bar, Lapland Coffee, this is coffee with cloudberry liqueur. Cloudberries are only found in Lapland. They are very small and not easy to gather. We did buy some of the liqueur but drank it.
IMG_20161215_144505374.jpgIMG_20161216_095837176.jpg
We will buy more to take home. And maybe we will share with friends.

Posted by Miss Chris 17:24 Archived in Finland Tagged nature walking finland outdoors winter_in_finland glass_igloo kakslauttanen Comments (0)

Rovaniemi, Another Day

Another day in Lapland

overcast 5 °F

We got our bearings and were able to walk all over. We started by walking down to a Coffee Shop by the Square for coffee and some pastry, then back to the room to leave off my laptop. IMG_20161214_091023065.jpgIMG_20161214_112104893.jpg

We decided to go to the museum 1st, the museum on prehistory and Arctic Circle. This was only a few blocks from our hostel.
IMG_20161214_114707360.jpg
The museum is amazing and so informative on the area. We spent our morning on just the history of the people.

We left the museum by 1pm because we wanted to go to a restaurant that was known for its food. Unfortunately, the restaurant was closed, we could see that they were setting up for a party.

Dale then found a restaurant known for being romantic. Sure enough, it was a lovely restaurant, beautiful wood paneling with beveled glass to separate sections. After servings of Salmon Soup, we shared dinners of Arctic Char and Reindeer steaks. All was well.
IMG_20161214_150142101.jpgIMG_20161214_145135710.jpg

Posted by Miss Chris 19:10 Archived in Finland Tagged walking finland outdoors rovaniemi winter_in_finland Comments (0)

Rovaniemi, Lapland, The Land of Santa

overcast 20 °F

We’ve been spoiled with having our own sauna, eating fish and veggies for breakfast and fast quiet trains.

One last train ride, to Rovaniemi. But first a walk down to the Baltic to see the sunrise and maybe shoot some photos. I didn’t carry my tripod but think that photos came out ok. It wasn’t easy to work with the polarizer while wearing heavy gloves, so it looks like some photos have dark corners.
IMG_20161213_112231133.jpgIMG_20161213_112235919.jpgIMG_20161213_112749480.jpg
The 3+hour train ride became lots closer to 4 when a locomotive broke down. We cooled our heels drinking coffee, while the train sat on the track.
We got into Rovaniemi and took a cab to the Santa Claus Hotel where we had to check in. The lady at the desk said that we could walk to our hotel, which turned out to be a hostel. It was about ½ mile away.
IMG_20161213_144856854.jpg
We walked thru the square where the Christmas Market is then started up the hill. We walked and then walked some more. Finally, it seemed like we were walking into an area of apartments.

We stopped at a grocery store and the clerk was sure we’d passed the hostel. I googled the hostel and sure enough, we’d walked ½ mile too far. At least we got to walk downhill.

We were starving and after dumping our stuff started walking to a restaurant recommended by the hotel clerk. When we couldn’t find the restaurant, we went into one recommended by some people walking down the street. (They were looking for a grocery store) The restaurant was completely packed with no tables open for the evening.
IMG_20161213_161557594.jpg
Finally, we went back to the Santa Claus Hotel and ate a nice meal at their restaurant. What a day!

Posted by Miss Chris 04:23 Archived in Finland Tagged snow walking finland outdoors rovaniemi winter_in_finland Comments (0)

Off to Oulu

Continuing on north

overcast 15 °F

And so the train moves on, quickly to the north. On towards the Arctic Circle.
IMG_20161212_085826429.jpgIMG_20161212_085759986.jpg
It was dark when we boarded our train at 7:50am. The train started and as it moved quickly thru the dark, past small towns, we felt like we were in the Polar Express movie. As the sun came up we were entranced by the trees, completely iced over and glistening in the sun. This is a winter wonderland like nothing we have ever seen.IMG_20161212_112703687.jpgIMG_20161212_114801011.jpg

It was a 4-hour ride to Oulu and we did not know what to expect as every day we’ve had some experience entirely different than any other.

We were starving after checking into the hotel but the sun was still up and we thought we’d see the Baltic Ocean during the light. We walked down on the slippery sidewalks, I was hanging onto Dale. We had to laugh, if one went down, we both went down.
IMG_20161212_141230828.jpg
There were no good photo ops but we did duck into one of the old markets. The building has little shops lining the sides and down the middle. Shops sell knit goods, meat including bear, fish of all kinds, coffee, and food to take away (food ready to eat).
IMG_20161212_134231636.jpgIMG_201612..5556491_HDR.jpg
We then walked back to the smaller square and found a restaurant recommended in the guide book but lunch was finished for the day. So back to the old market for some Salmon Soup and coffee.

We walked more and were hungry still so went to a restaurant recommended by a woman, “The Flying Reindeer”. Of course, we had to have a sirloin of Reindeer!

We found a little bar, also in the guide book. One that was supposed to have a huge fireplace. We popped in and the bartender recommended a Finnish drink, not quite as strong as Vodka. They started a roaring fire and told us to enjoy it. As it was only 3F, we were feeling very smug.
IMG_20161212_185110467.jpg

Posted by Miss Chris 20:29 Archived in Finland Tagged winter walking outside train_travel oulu winter_in_finland finnish_food Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 346) Page [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .. »