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My Dream to the Arctic Comes True!

22nd Feb 2015
Photo of My Dream to the Arctic Comes True! 1/23 by Yesha Gala
Abisko National Park
Photo of My Dream to the Arctic Comes True! 2/23 by Yesha Gala
Teepee Tent & fire
Photo of My Dream to the Arctic Comes True! 3/23 by Yesha Gala
Old Town of Copenhagen
Photo of My Dream to the Arctic Comes True! 4/23 by Yesha Gala
Husky Sledding
Photo of My Dream to the Arctic Comes True! 5/23 by Yesha Gala
View from Top of Tromso
Photo of My Dream to the Arctic Comes True! 6/23 by Yesha Gala
Northern Lights from Tromso
Photo of My Dream to the Arctic Comes True! 7/23 by Yesha Gala
Ranua Arctic Zoo
Photo of My Dream to the Arctic Comes True! 8/23 by Yesha Gala
Northern Lights in Arctic Forest in Finland
Photo of My Dream to the Arctic Comes True! 9/23 by Yesha Gala
Northern Lights at Igloo Hotel
Photo of My Dream to the Arctic Comes True! 10/23 by Yesha Gala
Northern Lights at Igloo Hotel
Photo of My Dream to the Arctic Comes True! 11/23 by Yesha Gala
Santa Park
Photo of My Dream to the Arctic Comes True! 12/23 by Yesha Gala
Dinner at Igloo Hotel
Photo of My Dream to the Arctic Comes True! 13/23 by Yesha Gala
Copenhagen Zoo
Photo of My Dream to the Arctic Comes True! 14/23 by Yesha Gala
Modern Architecture Copenhagen
Photo of My Dream to the Arctic Comes True! 15/23 by Yesha Gala
Nyvahn, Copenhagen
Photo of My Dream to the Arctic Comes True! 16/23 by Yesha Gala
Play with Husky Dogs
Photo of My Dream to the Arctic Comes True! 17/23 by Yesha Gala
Northern Lights at Sommaroy from Tromso
Photo of My Dream to the Arctic Comes True! 18/23 by Yesha Gala
Aurora Sky Station, Abisko
Photo of My Dream to the Arctic Comes True! 19/23 by Yesha Gala
Abisko Turistation
Photo of My Dream to the Arctic Comes True! 20/23 by Yesha Gala
Ice Hotel
Photo of My Dream to the Arctic Comes True! 21/23 by Yesha Gala
Ice Hotel Room
Photo of My Dream to the Arctic Comes True! 22/23 by Yesha Gala
Say Hello to Santa
Photo of My Dream to the Arctic Comes True! 23/23 by Yesha Gala
Ranua Arctic Zoo
Most people (myself included!) wouldn’t blink an eyelid before planning a trip halfway around the world just for a single once-in-a-lifetime experience. Be it jumping off a plane in New Zealand, Swimming with the dolphins in Mauritius, eating cheese fondue in an Ice hotel (Japan), or staying in a villa suspended over water in Maldives – we’re all guilty of booking an air ticket just to tick one item off our bucket list.

But what if a trip promises not one or two but over a dozen once-in-a-lifetime experiences at one go? We'd jump right into it. Well that’s what we did. We slept in an igloo under the northern lights, rode on snowmobiles, played with husky dogs, tobogganed down ice slides, walked on a frozen ocean, spent a night at the Ice hotel, met the original Santa Claus!
Lapland is a truly phenomenal corner of the world. I’ve been to over 25 countries and have experienced some crazy things but very rarely have we seen beauty that left me Awestruck.
As a traveler, there is always a next dream destination we set. Looking forth, Scandinavia/ Arctic Circle was my dream destination last winter. In total I did a 17 day trip with my parents covering more of the northern Scandinavian regions called the Lapland! Starting off my trip from Copenhagen we flew all the way up to one of the northernmost region of Norway- Tromso!  Well I traveled with the hope of seeing the Northern Lights as it was on my bucket list to tick off next. But, it was not so easy because the chilly & negative weather of the Arctic makes it challenging for you. Trying several times I was not able to spot the lights. They say the climatic conditions have to be right but it was my last day in tromso, although the conditions were not good I decided to join a tour to take 1 last chance. And guess what they appeared! The first time I saw the lights- they were green in color, dancing all over our heads, the experience was so beautiful that at a point of time I just shut my camera and just kept gazing. I almost had tears in my eyes having felt that experience. 
Going forth our next stop was to Sweden- Abisko National Park. It was so freezing that even after wearing 6 layers of clothes I was given a thick overall as we went up in the chairlifts- it was all dark, so windy and so silent which we could never even imagine.
My final country was Finland- the home of Santa Claus, Rovaniemi! Just like how we imagined when we were kids, the Santa Claus, the Arctic Forest, the Reindeer, everything was like a fairy tale here. . I spent a night in the Glass Igloos somewhere up north in between the Arctic forest. This was the last day of my trip and guess what the Northern Lights appeared to bid me a good bye. 

Life in the arctic can be hard and challenging with negative temperatures and dangerous terrains. But it can be equally rewarding with the northern lights displays. 17 days closest to the north pole I have ever been, coldest places I have ever seen, and an experience of a lifetime. I am sure I will be back here for North pole and Antarctica still remains in my bucket list. Some journeys enthrall you, some change you, and then there are some that make YOU!
A beautiful city to stroll around, enjoy cafes & restaurants, Not to miss the Canal Cruise which will take you completely in the old town and a foot journey in the new town should not be missed discovering the amazing architecture of the city! The best way to explore the city is take a Copenhagen city card which allows you free transportation across the city and enabling you to have free entrances to a lot of attractions!
Tromso- The City of Northern Lights and also know as the Paris of Norway! A small lovely town islandwhere you cannot just ever get bored. The city has so much to offer whether its summer or winter, day or night. I went for the Aurora Chase tours for 3 consecutive evenings and on my last visit, it was the first time I saw the Northern Lights- The Aurora Borealis with my own eyes which I had always seen in photos! The feeling is just inexpressive. Thanks to Northern Shots Arctic Guide Services & Green Fox Guiding for offering us an unforgettable Aurora chase experience. I also took a dog sled ride and visited a husky farm where there are more than 300 husky dogs and some pups as well. Tromso Villmarksssenter is the best to have your husky sleds. Also, if you want to enjoy the stunning views of the whole town just take the cable car all the way up and you can see a spectacular view!
Abisko National Park in Sweden was my next stop. After changing some buses & train and getting lost in between with luggage and in the dark cold weather finding no people around, I finally landed here! Abisko is known to be the driest place on earth thus makes the chances for Aurora Displays higher. Unfortunately I could not spot a strong activity here but I had a great experience in this place. I took a private room in a hostel which was like a local Swedish house. Due to heavy snowfall often the door used to get jammed or locked. All equipments to clean the snow were provided. Had it been you were locked inside and the door wouldn't open, you had to climb down the stairs from your 1st floor bedroom's window to come out and clean the snow. It was all pure white with so much snow around. An evening I took a chairlift at 9 pm in the night- walked upto 1 km to arrive there in the chilly windy climate. But the views from the top even at the night were surreal. Another evening I decided to join a Photography course conducted by a famous photographer Peter Rosen. We went on his snowmobile somehwere in between the Arctic Forest where we laid our cameras, a Teepee Tent (Traditional lappish tent) & broke fire. For several hours we waited for Aurora display but just some mild strokes could be captured by our camera. We did some star gazing and I learnt some night photography! It was an awestruck moment seeing such beautiful sky. Lappland Media Photo Adventures is the perfect tour to avail this experience. Peter Rosen, a brilliant photographer, would teach you some excellent skills which you will never forget while taking good pictures. We had a lovely evening with him.
Do you know there is a hotel in Sweden made of Ice every year? This is hotel is actually made of ice- like everything- the bedroom, bar, the entrance.. It was just an unreal moment. This season the hotel was celebrating its 25th Anniversary. One can enjoy a lot of activities here like snow shoeing, snow mobiling etc. The first thing I did was took a guided tour of the hotel and see the amazing sculptors carved out of Ice.
After the Ice hotel visit, I wanted to meet the Santa for which I had to fly to Finland. Due to the airline strike my flight from Kiruna (closest airport to Ice hotel) to Stockholm got cancelled. I had to pay double the price on the spot and take the flight to catch my next flight to Helsinki. You see I was so desperate to say Hi to Santa! Finally I reached Helsinki in the night and I was not left with any time to roam around in the city. I just picked up some Indian food as I had not had it for some many days then and hit the bed. Next morning I took the flight for Rovaniemi.
Here I land... To the official town of Santa Claus! There was a red Santa bus which had come to pick me up from the airport and dropped me directly in my small cottage which was just like another small house you dream about or like a house which you draw! Freshening myself I decided to pay a visit to the Santa & look he was right there.. the original Santa Claus about whom we have always been told stories or have seen one dress like him on Christmas. The Santa actually knows everything! He knew how I had traveled, he could speak my language! I was just amazed.. Left Dumbstruck! Later in the noon I visited Santa Park. Although its not open during February, I was fortunate enough to at least get a small guided tour of the place, it is setup under a big Cavern offering so many things for children as well as adult. Well I couldn't stop imagining how lively it would be during Xmas. Another evening I thought of trying my luck again and rode a snowmobile into the Arctic Forest & guess what.. I could find the Aurora.. Chasing me.. And I was riding around as if I'm gonna catch hold of it! We did our tour with Arctic Circle Snow Mobile Park, their guides were just so excellent & friendly.. The next day I visited the Ranua Arctic Zoo where I could see the Polar Bears, Wolves, the Arctic Fox, the snow owls and many more arctic creatures. We had a great time in the lovely small city of Rovaniemi!
How can someone travel to Finland and not stay in a glass igloo & not try his luck to view the Northern Lights from your very own Glass Igloo! Well I did the same... Took an early morning bus to the Saariselka Village where the hotel is located! This resort is right in between the Arctic Forest, you just cannot find a man or vehicle outside the hotel. In the evening it was so peaceful with thousands of stars shining above you. A memory that you just cannot forget. And guess what, they appeared, yes the Aurora Borealis! It was my last night and I was so excited and happy. I had mixed emotions then as it was my last day in the Arctic! But all of it was worth the journey! It was also very surprising that we got some amazingly delicious vegetarian dinner here which made our evening even more memorable, and as soon as we walked out of the restaurant, a mixed burst of green & pink appeared. I did have my camera in hand but no tripod to get an amazing picture. But it was so beautiful that I just stood there and kept staring without moving an inch.