Arctic dreams | Lapland

Tripoto
15th Feb 2020
Photo of Arctic dreams | Lapland by Sushma Materla
Photo of Arctic dreams | Lapland 1/1 by Sushma Materla
Afternoon stroll in the Sami village @kakslauttanen, Sodankyla

As the day passed by in an untamed silence of the snow, I could only realize there's nothing quite like the winter sun on a snowy day.

The sense of touch when I held a handful of it,

The sense of sight when I gazed at it while the sun shone upon it,

The sense of smell when it fell into my breath of air,

The sense of taste when I looked up and smiled wide open,

The sense of sound when its silence cracked under my feet,

Magical are the five senses of snow around this part of the World.

Day 7

Dessert plated on ice cutlery at the Arctic Ice restaurant

Photo of Arctic Snow Hotel, Lehtoahontie, Rovaniemi, Finland by Sushma Materla
Day 1

Lumberjack candle bridge, Kemikoji river at Rovaniemi city center

Photo of Rovaniemi, Finland by Sushma Materla
Day 5

Chasing arctic sunshine @ Ranua Zoo

Photo of Ranua Zoo, Rovaniementie, Ranua, Finland by Sushma Materla

For all the first-time experiences I had in this country, is sure a long list to even dream about. Lapland is what makes up a power package of all the possible bucket list items beyond what it is known as ‘the land of Christmas magic’. I must admit, this whole visit has been a guilt trip I would never regret doing it even though I am not a person to follow routine blogs that seduce your travel lust with bucket lists and must-dos. I did it anyways and I am glad, I undoubtedly had an experience of a lifetime. As if Santa Claus and his reindeers weren't enough to lure me into visiting this country, every ride I took with the huskies, reindeers, snowmobile, and fat bikes boosted up my adventure rush.

Sledging with the Alaskan huskies at Rovaniemi

Photo of Rovaniemi, Finland by Sushma Materla
Day 4

Riding on the snowmobile even on the back seat was adventurous enough

Photo of Kakslauttanen, Finland by Sushma Materla
Day 7

Riding around the Rovaniemi city center along the Kemikoji river until Arktikum museum

Photo of Rovaniemi, Finland by Sushma Materla

Having checked off quite a lot from the list, I wasn’t still prepared to accept I was already halfway through this trip. Throughout my journey on the bus from Rovaniemi to Kakslauttanen, I kept thinking “How am I to believe seeing what I had been dreaming”? That journey proved not only the destination is beautiful but the whole journey is worth visiting this country. I couldn't take my eyes off the snow laden trees through the Arctic sunshine and the umpteen frozen lakes that passed by on the highway throughout that journey. I then knew, why it was also called the ‘land of lakes.’ During that journey, I could recollect my first emotion somewhere up in the air while the captain announced we were about to land in a few minutes. I couldn't contain my excitement and I got all geared up with my mobile to capture the infamous footage of our flight landing into Rovaniemi. The moment I saw the snow showering down as if it were welcoming me, I knew I was about to live my arctic dream. I have been contemplating, “Would this country meet the vivid picture I painted in my mind?” The truth is, my dreams weren't anywhere close to the reality of what this country offered, and I couldn't have possibly imagined.

Day 5

Touring around the Santa Claus Hoiiday Village

Photo of Santa Claus Holiday Village, Tähtikuja, Rovaniemi, Finland by Sushma Materla
Day 4

Land of Christmas magic with the tradition of Arctic circle crossing

Photo of Arctic Circle Santa Claus Finland Oy, Rovakatu, Rovaniemi, Finland by Sushma Materla

Of course, how can I not confess my long-lasting bucket list item that I dared myself to even think about flying into this country? Despite having the lowest threshold to withstand cold temperatures, I packed my bags to visit this wonderland in mid-winter with subzero temperatures. Not knowing if and how I would cope, I took a leap of faith with all the best possible winter gears and said to myself “it’s all going to be okay”. And, the time finally came when I stood still in the bluest hour. That longest night of my life - crisp and cold, tested my patience, my stamina, my survival limits, shivering all along in the utterly bitter cold at -20ºC. All I kept repeating to myself “this is it, this is the moment, finally it’s here and I can bear it, just a few more minutes”. That night when my 'soul' met my 'dreams', they both came alive.

Day 3

The enchanting night to remember, lights over Lapland

Photo of Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort West Village, Sodankylä, Finland by Sushma Materla

Knowing that 2020 is the lowest year of the Aurora season, I stood with a hope, listening to the snow crackling underneath my shoes. After long hours of wait, there I saw a faint spotlight above. It began flirting as I gazed, dancing in the hues of mint green turning yellow and red only for few moments behind the dreamy snow laden pine trees. What's made this experience even more worth, was my stay in the glass igloos at Kakslauttanen. “250 km above the Arctic circle! Would I survive it? Not sure. Do I want to experience it? Hell, yes!” That was all I had in my mind while I was planning this trip for nearly a year. Two days at this place just didn't seem enough yet it almost felt like home in the wilderness. Gazing at the Arctic sunrises and sunsets while taking in the glitter of snowflakes, standing on a cute little wooden bridge at the Kakslauttanen river, is all I wander back to now in my thoughts. “Why Finland?”, was the only question I got from my beach buddies, startled with my choice for vacation. I didn’t have an answer at that time.

Sunset at the Kakslauttanen river

Photo of Arctic dreams | Lapland by Sushma Materla
Day 2

Sledging our way to Glass Igloo at the Kakslauttanen west village resort

Photo of Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort West Village, Sodankylä, Finland by Sushma Materla
Day 5

They call themselves the happiest country, and ‘right’ they are, I realized when I saw myself jumping around with joy in the powder plunging in knee-deep snow playing along like a child in the Santa Claus holiday village. That Christmas magic came alive all over again while crossing over the Arctic circle. As I was about to leave this magic behind on the coldest day of our stay at this place when it was -25ºC, I stepped out to the magic of gleaming snowflakes that created a 180º rainbow, haloing around the polar sun. For me, that moment spoke a thousand emotions that doped my travel lust forever.

Day 3

Just when I thought I had experienced it all, sipping on to hot lingonberry juice and relishing on ginger cookies in a Sami teepee fireplace while listening to their folklores at a Sami village seemed like the only relaxing experience of the trip amidst the adventure outdoors.

Day 6
Photo of Santa Claus Village, Rovaniemi, Finland by Sushma Materla
Day 7

Even more, visiting the Arctic snow hotel portraying the artisan sculptures carved out of ice, dining in ice cutlery at the ice restaurant and raising a toast in ice glasses at an Ice bar as such were one of the most unique experiences. It didn’t have to end it here, a typical Finnish steam and snow sauna followed by a hot tub jacuzzi was an icing on the entire Lappish experience.

Reindeer hides keeping me warm in the Ice restaurant , Arctic snow hotel

Photo of Arctic Snow Hotel, Lehtoahontie, Rovaniemi, Finland by Sushma Materla
Day 2

Getting all cozy at the Teepee fireplace in a Sami village

Photo of Kakslauttanen, Finland by Sushma Materla

Break your ice glass by hitting onto the wall inside the Ice igloo bar after your drink, only @ Arctic snow hotel

Photo of Arctic dreams | Lapland by Sushma Materla

On the last day of my trip, a conflict of sadness and excitement is what I was going through for it was about to end while the most adventurous day awaited. All the butterflies in my tummy flew off when I boarded the Polar Explorer icebreaker cruise. A complete package that it is for the adrenaline junkie in me, not only I had the opportunity to cruise my way on the Gulf of Bothnia listening to the crackling of frozen ice but also dared my heart out in flotation survival suit and swam in the frozen water amidst boulder blocks of ice. One constant thought that lingered throughout the day, “How lucky was I to have done this on a day with plenty of arctic sunshine, on a day which started off with a snowstorm”. Yet another moment of joy, worth every penny.

It wouldn't be fair not to mention about the delicious Finnish cuisine I relished with cinnamon buns, Arctic cods, reindeer and elk. The long walks that I’ve taken after scrumptious meals alongside the frozen Kemijoki river with a view of the mighty Lumberjack candle bridge was certainly a great way to end the action-packed day.

Never ever have I felt an immense gratitude towards the unknown for whatever this life has offered me, some moments unasked for and some moments forever dreamt of, turning ordinary into pleasantly extraordinary, turning life into an extravaganza, a life that's surreal, beautiful beyond dreams and beyond life. Finnish Lapland for me is an emotion indescribable, a moment un-creatable, an aura invincible, an experience that's too perfect to believe. Those moments will stay in my soul and senses, forever; because frozen is my heart in this corner of the World!

With each experience, I realized that the quest to find myself in the middle of nowhere ends here. It's a calling, I know I will hear time and again, now that I am back to an illusion of work life but the lust to explore more like this couldn't end yet. So, I decide to travel again, to a place a bit more mystical, a bit dreamier, and a bit more adventurous.

Suomi, my love at frost sight is what I call it and cherish forever. ️Kiitos!

If you feel the urge to land in here right away, go check out my post on all you need to know for planning your dream itinerary here:

https://www.tripoto.com/trip/planning-hacks-for-lapland-adventure-dreams-to-reality-5e63708c3a6d1

Taking in the joy of walking over frozen sea

Photo of Gulf of Bothnia by Sushma Materla

Swimming over the boulder ice blocks in the Gulf of Bothnia in subzero temperatures

Photo of Gulf of Bothnia by Sushma Materla
Photo of Christmas House Safaris reindeer farm, Piiruojan silta, Rovaniemi, Finland by Sushma Materla