Although there was this common recommendation not to travel to Lapland we… we decided to do it anyways. At the end of the day, we felt much safer in a cabin in the fells than in a flat in the capital region. Opportunities for meeting others were very limited and even more limited for those who injured their knees on the first day and were then unable to part-take in any decent winter activities.
Except from walking short distances and visiting a reindeer farm.
And yes, the (real) North remains what it has been for me since the first day I set my tired foot there (Kiruna, a.d. 2012). I have never been calmer and happier anywhere else. Maybe one day you will find me herding reindeer and spending evenings drinking black coffee and chewing on reindeer jerkies.
I’m back in Helsinki after a wonderful trip to Lapland, and the homesickness stroke again just a day after we came back to the capital. Lapland will always remain the place where my body, mind and heart are completely free; a place on Earth like no other.
And for the tourist in us, whom I believe all of us cherish: yes, there were reindeers. Of course I saw zero reindeer in the wilderness, however, I fed, stroked and cuddled a few of them, now how great is that.
I learned that the best things in life are for free – or they cost 3 €. While on painkiller and muscle relaxant high (migraine), a few weeks back I bought this jumper at the local second-hand store: grey, oversized (or maybe it was just placed on a wrong rack, it was a regular men-sized winter garment) knitted jumper with reindeer pattern and a wind-proof insert. Woolmark. A Finnish product of the 90s I believe for mere 3€ – and my absolute favourite piece of clothing in Lapland! I felt warm and cosy wearing it as a top layer and – most importantly – it made me stood out from the crowds of tourists. I felt so local…
… another one of my 3 € swags was a bag of lichen I bought at the Sámiland museum in Levi, aka Lappish Disneyland and a destination for party skiers, aka a place to avoid – or at least close your eyes while passing downtown Levi on the way to the slopes or treks. Sámiland is a sub-par museum about Sámi culture, and it is located in the basement of a hotel situated right on one of Levi’s slopes. You got the idea. So we got the tickets (or Museokortit) and a bag of lichen, please, because there were reindeers in the outside part of the museum! And they were so much fun to hassle with. When I grow up I will get myself a reindeer, or rather, I’d be taking care of one as reindeers don’t belong to anyone but the nature.
Now, what next is there? Some creative work, some academic work, and getting used to above zero temperatures. And I promise that this year I won’t miss the moment of Finnish spring.