A Travellerspoint blog

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

Visiting Kuopio

A day in Kuopio, Finland

overcast 18 °F

Another train ride working our way north. This time the stop was Kuopio.
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We had a longer walk, about 10 minutes, to our hotel. The walk was made longer after I slipped on the ice. But with my pants torn at the knee, I looked very cool! (cold?) Torn pants are the look of some of the young people.

We asked at the desk where to go and where the locals eat. The two people recommended that we walk to the lake and then marked on the map where two restaurants were. They said that the hotel also had 2 good restaurants.

The walk by the lake was beautiful but funny to see boats frozen in place for the winter. We walked until we were way too hungry. Winds were also picking up making it really cold. IMG_20161211_133435896.jpgIMG_20161211_133902797.jpgIMG_20161211_133911761.jpgIMG_20161211_134655677.jpg

On the way to the restaurant area, we were passing the cathedral. We decided to step inside and blow our dripping noses. We wanted to warm up a bit too. http://www.spottinghistory.com/view/215/kuopio-cathedral/

We stepped inside the cathedral and in the choir loft, above the door, we heard music, “Little Drummer Boy”. It became apparent that it was a rehearsal so we thought we’d sit down, warm up and hear the music. Within minutes people started streaming in and within 10 minutes the whole place was packed.

I went to the rear and picked up a brochure but, of course, we couldn’t read it as it was all in Finnish. There were numbers 1-24 listed on the front page so we thought that maybe it was about programs every night until Christmas. A lady sat down next to me and started to talk but I had to tell her that I did not speak Finnish. Alas.

The program started and people sang along, the lady next to me pointed to the song they were singing. We did not recognize most of the songs except for “Little Drummer Boy”, “Away In a Manger” and “Beautiful Savior”. Some of the songs were performed by a men’s chorus in the choir loft, this included the “Little Drummer Boy”. Otherwise, the audience joined in accompanied by the organ. A part of the rendition of “Beautiful Savior” is attached.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWRYdZEdvDg&t=1s
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We walked to the center square but winds were blowing and the restaurants did not have anything we wanted to eat. We decided to walk back to the hotel for dinner and sauna.

Posted by Miss Chris 03:08 Archived in Finland Tagged winter walking outdoors singing kuopio winter_in_finland kuopio_finland kuopio_cathedral christmas_songs Comments (0)

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