Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Lapland [Laponia]: Home of Santa Claus

How can we go to Finland and not visit Lapland, with its capital, Rovaniemi, having continuous settlement since the Stone Age, and its lowest temperature ever recorded was -47.5 °C, recorded on January 28, 1999! It is the home town of Santa Claus, Reindeer and lots of Snow.

We decided to conduct this trip via car rental, since other means were limited, expensive, and not as flexible. The Finnish Road trip was awesome, with us guys in one car, stopping when we want, [pit-stops] at gas stations, meeting random people, speaking what little Finnish we knew [combining our knowledge and speaking and understanding as one!]. We practically drove through the entire Finland driving 1500 km, and over 30 hours [of course not non stop].

Here are the major stops:
Turku [Home]>Tampere [Nothing]>Jyväskylä [Frozen Lake]>Kinnula [First Cottage: Left]>Kalajoki [Frozen Sea & Sledging]>Oulu [Technology City]>Kemi [Pit stop]>Rovaniemi [Lapland's Capital]>Napapiiri [Santa's Village & Arctic Circle Border]>Kemijärvi [Pit Stop]>Posio [Second Cottage: Right]>Kuusamo [Pit Stop]>Suomussalmi [Pit Stop]>Kajaani [near Vuokatti - Hanna's Village]> Jyväskylä [Pit Stop]>Turku [Home].

Ole Hyvä!
[There you go!]

So, we did what we had to do, things that people in have never done in their lives[pictures are in order]: walked on a frozen lake, walked on the frozen sea [actually who knew that the sea could freeze for miles?], sledged down a hill on a mattress belonging to people we don't know, did sauna and then rolled in the snow naked [in minus 15 degree temperatures], Crossed the ARCTIC CIRCLE [come on we're almost to the north pole, on top of the world! I have a certificate to prove it].

After all that, we still managed to see the REAL Santa Claus [who is Finnish] and his office/workshop two minutes before it closed! [oh, Santa's elves are certainly hott & Finnish]. Semi-magical, with Christmas music playing all the time everywhere, and semi-super-commercialized and touristic and stupid, Santa Claus is so cheap he did not even give us a piece of candy.

In the north here, it's much easier, convenient and practical for people to own either reindeer or huskies [snow dogs] neither of which we have seen, or snow mobiles as means of common transport. It's amazing the further north we got, the less roads and cars, and the more snow mobiles we saw, it was so cool, no limits, no roads, just pure snow and snow mobiles! Could you imagine such power and such freedom and such speed? Unfortunately we didn't get the chance to rent any since the places were closed. :(. It's very very weird, you see a lot of people [what little people you see], like this lady, walking around the small towns with these sleds, it's almost like a storybook. A lot of skiing as well, but in the end too expensive for us, but we enjoyed it nonetheless.

We saw the Aurora Borealis [Northern lights] briefly but not in its full glory, which was a bit of a disappointment [as was the lack of reindeer], but it was good enough for us. We even passed by the Lumberjack's Candle Bridge [a.k.a.: The Kemijoki Bridge] in Rovaniemi, which is the one printed on the back of the 500 Euro bill! We saw a famous bridge ok! In the end, we were on a driving spree, rushing to get back home to catch some sleep before class the next morning. However, no class was going to stop us from seeing our Finnish friend whom we met in Aix-en-Provence, France! Hanna, the tallest girl i know, and really fun. We Stopped off in Kajaani to see her, then headed on back home, blasting music, talking life, playing poker, winding down the glass in minus 26 degree temperature, and just having fun to keep awake...

Until our next road trip...Biljana, Jose, Ken, Marcos, Mark, Merie, Tingting, Salman, Waziq, & meeee of course!

For more pictures see:

1 comment:

sheila said...

hey, remember me? i wrote you about immit. :)

i love reading your blog -- makes me wish i can get an immit scholarship SOOON! keep blogging! i can't wait till it's my turn to go to france & finland!!!