The destination with the ultimate Christmas feeling! Of course it is Finnish Lapland! Reindeers, Santa and a lot of snow are all included in this trip. But not only these things are amazing: The nature is stunning.
The journey started really early in the morning. Two in the morning to be precise. I was going to explore the adventurous north with six other friends that I made during my time here. The evening before we had a party which was a lot of fun, but not the best thing to have to get some sleep before your trip. I decided to stay awake and watch a movie.
At two I waited for the rest of the group downstairs to walk with our bagpacks and suitcases to the bus station. It was really cold outside and I was really tired but we had to get to that bus to Rovaniemi. As we walked through the city it was so quite with a few people leaving the bars to go home. The streetlights showed the white streets and closed shops which made it look really peaceful. The last few meters we had to run, because we realised or bus was almost leaving.
In the bus I tried to sleep but I was not really successful. At least the view outside was really nice. If you think I was done after seeing trees for hours I’m not. The never-ending trees and snow will stay magical. After a few stops and a cup of tea we arrived at the main station of Rovaniemi.
Let’s say Rovaniemi itself is not really charming or beautiful but a lot of tourists go here when they travel to Finland. This is all thanks to the big touristic attraction called Santa’s Village. Of course we had to see it so we took the bus. On the way there are lot of billboards standing next to the road showing smiling Santa’s. Because there is not only a Santa’s Village but also an amusement park. There is also an airport were families with children can go off the plane and go straight to Santa’s winter wonderland.
To me this wasn’t all that excited. I’m glad I’ve seen it but it’s really commercial and not really what I expected. Before we left we took our picture with Santa Claus to keep it as a memory. Santa can speak different languages. Well say hello in different languages. But I was a little bit disappointed when he couldn’t say something in Dutch.
After doing some shopping and getting our rental car we drove to our next destination: The hostel. I was now really tired but again couldn’t sleep. The view from outside the car was really dark with no streetlights and we almost didn’t see any other cars. You’re pretty much in the middle of nowhere and it gives a surprisingly peaceful feeling. Arrived at the hostel we were quite surprised. We didn’t pay that much and the building was amazing. It is a giant wooden cabin in the woods with a warm interior including a fireplace and board games. At the end we almost didn’t want to leave because it was such a cool place. We shared a 8-person room with bunkbeds which was the place I wanted to spend the night. I was so tired that I fell asleep right away.
The next day I woke up in my warm bed by the alarm clock and I really wanted to take a shower before leaving. But o yeah. The shower was in another cabin outside. Which I don’t really mind, but with this temperatures going in the snow in your pyjamas is not that fun. But we survived and made our way to the national park.
We walked for a couple of hours to the national park. With the beautiful nature surrounding us; birds tweeting in trees, footprints of animals in the snow and the sounds of our shoes stepping on the white path. We could see a big mountain from over the frozen lake which made this walk even more unforgettable. People were skiing on the lake and relaxing in little cabins or around fireplaces eating sausages or drinking warm coffee. We also decided to take a break and I ordered some warm berry juice (which I absolutely love) and ate a sandwich. It felt like a fairy-tale.
During the rest of the day we decided to go to the ‘centre’ of the village and looked at some shops. After that we went back to the hostel to rest and eat dinner. We decided to not only spend our night in the hostel but go outside. We went to this lake close to the village and search for the famous Northern Lights. We were certain to see them once during our trip and watched the forecast every day to look for the best time. And with success. We waited for a long time and went in the car and then again outside. Sometimes we were freezing because of the cold weather and we needed to warm up. But to see those green lights in a dark sky in the middle of a frozen lake was just magical. My roommate was able to shoot a picture of it and we will certainly never forget this night at the lake.
To be continued…