…Is still phenomenally beautiful. When thinking of Lapland everyone imagines a white world. I admit, I thought I had to pack gloves and snow boots as well when I saw the invitation. I was thinking of white tree tops, an always crackling soil, glacial lakes and snowfall. Well, not in between May and september. You can experience Lapland without her white mask in this period. Simply as she is, stunning. Who could have thought that you could cross the Arctic Circle wearing a t-shirt? I didn’t. And that is exactly what I did. There are many amazing activities to do in Lapland when there is no snow. I already wrote an ode to nature of Finnish Lapland. I’ll tell you what else you are able to do in summer or autumn, next to marveling at this insane nature.
Fish tales and jacuzzi nights
I wake up and find myself in the authentic town of Tornio. It consists of wooden houses and is located on the wild Tornio river. I am wandering around and realize that it’s Sweden on the other side of the river. I join a villager to enjoy an authentic white fish diner (well, reindeer for me) and listen to his stories. It turns out they have a system here. ‘There are a few retired villagers that are fishing each day and catch pounds of white fish from the river. This fish is for all villagers. We share it and eat together next to crackling fire while we’re talking about life’, he says. I find this more than beautiful. As night falls I climb in the bubbling jacuzzi outside, on the edge of the river. Wow. I feel blessed.
The next day, a helmet is pressed in my hands. We’re going to what? Wildwater rafting. No ice on the water means adventurous practices such as this as well. The rapids take you into their depths when you are not peddling hard enough. An hour later feel exhausted but full of adrenaline and I decide to defy the river once more. This time, our rafting boat is standing straight in the river while the waves splash in my face and all my fellow rafters are no longer on the boat but IN the boat. That was some adventure. I loved it. A unwise kick. A beautiful tour through nature by bus brings me to the city of Rovaniemi.
Jet Ski, Husky Farm & the Artktikum
Without snow and ice you won’t take a ride on a snow scooter, instead you will jump on a Jet Ski. I press the gas and with a screaming Lotte on the back I decide to not let go of the gas anymore. This is so thrilling. Folded in half with laughter I pretend that I don’t remember how to use the brakes, and we fly over the water. What a kick. I want a Jet Ski at home. We make an hours-long trip along beautiful Lappish forests and hills. Along the way there are opportunities to stop and to park your Jet Ski on a beach. We stop at the interesting Artktikum museum . Besides a museum it has a Science Centre and meeting rooms, and it is a popular culture destination.
Moments later I park my jet ski against a ridge and climb up into the direction of the husky farm, where hundreds of barking dogs greet me. I can’t stop cuddling them. There are dozens of puppies as well. So. Cute. I expected fluffy, white dogs with piercing blue eyes, but here you will find Arctic Huskies. Just as sweet, but more known for their speed. The owner of this farm won many multi-day husky sledding competitions. We make a ride on a cart, pulled by a rod of this enthusiastic animals. Yep, that too is possible without snow.
Santa claus Village & the Arctic circle
Near Rovaniemi is Santa claus village, and upon arrival I find myself in Christmas spheres immediately. Elves are busy answering letters from children. The ‘real’ Santa lives here and he gets half a million letters a year. He is always up for a chat. Like a little child I clim upon his lap. It’s warm for the time of year. I jump over the Arctic Circle, back and forth, wearing a t-shirt. I’m not that far from the North Pole now, and yet it feels like a pretty autumn day. Two weeks after returning home it starts to snow here, and so it will continue to do so in the coming months. Not today. Today, the sun shines, I sat at the lap of Santa Claus and I now take steps in the direction of the North Pole. On the one hand, it is just a meaningless stripe on the ground, on the other hand, it is really a strange sensation. Touristy, but fun.
Finnish saunas are known worldwide, and obviously I discover this tradition. Almost every Fin has a sauna at home and it is common to pretty much spend half of the week in there. With friends, having a beer, between school time, before going to bed. The most impressing sauna retreat is Metsäkyly Forest Retreat. Here, I enjoy some sauna time as well and I even cool off by jumping into the icy lake. I can get used to this.
Nature & the northern lights
We visit a couple that lives in the middle of the woods and actually live self-sufficiently. We get a course of jewelry making and I design a beautiful bracelet and necklace of reindeer antlers. I step inside her little house for a glass of lingonberry juice and homemade cake, and wonder about her fantastic interior. Yesterday I bought a reindeer fur (travel like Laura’s part two: take a huge reindeer fur on your Jet Ski) and now I get even more interior inspiration. After, we go into the woods and pick pounds of berries. The forest is mysterious illuminated by the sun rays and I feel one with nature. I take my self picked berries to the Netherlands and make a delicious jam.
Yes. And that northern lights, eh. That’s another thing. The well-known green light is sure to see around the fall. But it was too cloudy. Before I was in Lapland (August) there are beautiful spectacles seen in the air. My week in Lapland? Nothing. I fly back on Friday. That night there is a solar storm, and an insanely northern lights take place where I was. A good reason to go back again.
Thanks Chantal for the pictures with me in it!