I always gets fascinated with photos of those green lights across web and social media pages.
Later i found they are known as Northern lights and Aurora borealis.
It was all in dreams as Scandinavian countries are very expensive and provided my payroll is pathetic enough.
I decided I should save well for atleast 3-4 months and can go before the season ends and it will be definitely worth rather than visiting traditional European countries with Monuments and sky scrapers.
I googled facts on Auroras, what causes that Natural Phenomenon and the places across world where one can witness same.
I found multiple itineraries on travel websites and enquired on same. Most of my days were gone checking feasibility and cost of Northern lights and nature expidition across Scandinavian countries.
So out of all, Finland seemed to be the best possible option which were fitting both in my budget and also got fair chance to witness auroras there in March'20.
By the time i have already made up my mind that i will be going for that expidition and straight away booked to and fro tickets to Helsinki.
I got the super cheap flight deals and the best hostels across finland to stay.
Tickets cost to and fro Delhi->Helsinki - 48,000 INR.
Hostels cost for 6-7 Days overall - 17-18,000 INR excluding breakfast.
Visa fee - 8,000 INR ( they have revised the fare post Feb'2020).
So a week ago before my trip there were enough news of Coronovirus across but there were not big issues in Finland that time and I started but there was fear in my mind.
Let me come to the actual trip now, the moment i landed helsinki city it was all cold and much cold. From 30 C in Pune to some 5 C.
Helsinki, captial of world's Happiest country and surrounded by cafes, cathedrals and some beautiful neighbourhoods.
Next day in Helsinki I have visited Suomenlinna island where there is a fortress across sea shores.
Suomenlinna is a UNESCO World Heritage site that is popular with tourists and locals, who enjoy it as a picturesque picnic site.
I went there via ferry ride which cost me around 10 euros for both side.
After Helsinki starts the fairy ride for me, so i boarded a late evening flight to Kittila from Helsinki and it was heavily snowing right from the airport till i reach the hostel.
The bus from Kittila to Yllas dropped me at midnight nearby hostel with a cabin around woods and all snow and no people to be seen around, i was scared and excited both.
Next morning i woke up at around 7 am and out of window i saw snow drizzling around and then i noticed i am kind of in a heaven.
I rushed outside without the jackets having negative temprature outside and the view made me realize this is some place out of nowhere.
I rode fat bike across snowy roads, snow shoeing while hike to forests and even caught faded Northern lights and damn what a sight it was to hike on a night with full moon and without any artificial lights.
I was shivering to cold but that feeling kept me going. We had bonfire that night and the guide told some real/fictional stories on Northern lights.
So it was 10th March and people were celebrating Holi across. I came very late last night and woke up late too. By the time i enquire about cross country skiing all resorts were booked. It was heavy snow showers outside too so I decided to spent my time in the cozy hostel and went out only in evening for food and to search the bus stop for airport bus.
Next day i boarded bus to Rovaniemi at around 6 am in the morning and that was quite a sight too.
It was -15 C outside, snow showers all the time and I was carrying luggage on wet snow with every chance of falling and barely no people to be seen around kms back and front.
Cant express that whole thing actually.
This day I went to explore Santa Clause Village.
The santa clause village is like a fairy land again where you can meet santa 365 days a year and there were husky and Reindeer farms to visit.
One can get the Arctic Circle Crossing certificate too as Souvenir.
The best part there was Snowmobiling which i did and rode for around 2 hours across the tracks in the forest where you will snow till your knee. It was quite a experience to ride that beast and trust me its not easy for a starter.
Glad i got hold of it after few mins of struggle and not getting into cancellation and i can't thank enough my guide for her patience and all help throughout.
It was once in a lifetime experience for me.
Last Day in Finland, no signs of Northern lights yet and drank too much Last day due to missing out on Auroras:
So far there were no clear skies and all cloudy days and nights with Snow showers most of the time. I lost all faith now travelled so far in search of Auroras and got disappointed.
I visited Arktikum Science centre in the noon and spent first half around the neighborhood.
On the last day at evening before my departure i was told that there is a slight chance that Northern light tour can happen and they picked me from my hostel at night.
The night was going to be super cold and we were provided thermal wears. What to say for our guide for that tour, Mr Alex who is some kind of professional.
Let me put some facts on Auroras and source ofcourse is Mr Google:
When charged particles from the sun strike atoms in Earth's atmosphere, they cause electrons in the atoms to move to a higher-energy state. When the electrons drop back to a lower energy state, they release a photon: light. This process creates the beautiful aurora, or northern lights.
It happens only in places where the solar activity is very high.
Auroras are also known as Revontuli in finnish where Revon means Fox and tuli means Fire, so a Firefox.
Within 15 minutes of our journey he drove us to a sight where we spotted our first set of Northern lights. Damn it was bone chilling cold close to -20 and i was there posing to get some cool pics.
After that we headed to a frozen lake near arctic forest to hunt Auroras again and we had a bonfire there and we were listening to Alex about Northern lights and each others experience.
Trust me it was a night i can never forget. May be it was destined that my trip gonna end on so high after few off days due to CoronaVirus news around and listening that airlines might cancel their flight.
Train from Rovaniemi to Helsinki and flight back to India:
Last day I boarded a train from Rovaniemi to Helsinki.
The train rides are must whenever one is on Euro trip and I witness some most scenic routes again.
From Helsinki Airport I boarded flight back to Delhi->Pune.
Finally I came back home safe on 15th March, screened properly at Delhi Airport, self isolating at my home ever since then and corona negative so far with no symptoms.
It was my 2nd Euro trip after Amsterdam->Paris->Barcelona which I did on June 2019 which was one of the Crazy rides too.
I grow out of confidence after taking two solo trips across Europe.