Lapland With Dom and Daniel
On Friday the 17th of July Dominique, Daniel and I all met in Rovaniemi, all coming from different places. Daniel had taken a train the night before to arrive at the train station in Rovaniemi around 10am. I had taken a bus from just south of Rovaniemi, a place called Ranua, and was on my way to meet him at the train station. Dominique had made her way to the airport in Helsinki and was flying to Rovaniemi and then hiring a car and picking up Daniel and I from the Train Station. Once we all met up it was a quick dash to the local supermarket to grab a few last food supplies and then hit the road while eating lunch. Dom was the pilot for this adventure so I navigated us out of Rovaniemi and we headed north on the 79 towards a national park called Pallas-Yllastunturi. Only a few kilometers out of Rovaniemi and we had crossed into the arctic circle. It came so quickly that we did not stop to take a picture and made a note to stop on the way back.
Daniels video of Reindeer on the road.
For the next few hours we would be heading almost due north, a distance of about 220km, towards and into the national park. Not long out of Rovaniemi we saw one or two reindeer off to the sides of the road and Dom was pretty excited to see them in the wild. But after another hour of driving and many, many reindeer on the road, we were getting tired of always being on alert and just wanted to get to the park. Once there we asked one of the park employees at the visitors centre where would be a nice place to set up for the night and he suggested a camp hut on a lake Pallasjarvi. He said it would likely not be busy and he was right. We had visitors on and off in the evening but no one except us and 2 others were staying the 'night' (the other two took one of the other huts about 1km east of us). It was a real neat experience to see the sun all through the 'night'. I wanted to make a time lapse of it but all the foot traffic had me worried about the camera walking away. So I made a few shorter time lapses. While there we went on a few short walks along the shore and just relaxed. I boiled us lots of water and read while Dom and Daniel did crosswords. It was a truly special place and I am sure we all wish we could have spent more time there.
A photo of Dominique and I on the shore near the hut.
A view of the shoreline.
Our hut for the night.
A selfie at Midnight. Reading, boiling water and being investigated by a Siberian Jay (Bottom left)
The next day took us back to the main visitors centre and off into the fells for a 10km hike. The hike took us up high into the fells above the tree line, which is quite low in elevation because of how far north we were. These fells are a popular skiing area during the winter. On the fells we could see quite far but also got to see some more reindeer as well as a ptarmigan and its babies. The hike took us up to the top of the highest 'peak' in the area of just over 800m.
Heading off on the 10km hike.
Ptarmigan with two babies ( top right and bottom left, good luck seeing them)
At the summit
View from the summit.
Reindeer on the fells.
After coming back down from the fells it was back into the car to head west to a town called Muonio on the border with Sweden. We all wanted to see Sweden and had heard that Muonio was a nice little town. Well it was a very small little town, but we stopped at the shop and had a quick drink of coffee and ginger beer and headed to a bridge just south of the town that went all the way to Sweden. When I say all the way I mean the bridge was about 100m across. we were going to walk into Sweden but the bridge didn't have a walkway so we piled into the car and drove across. Because it was a rental we were not supposed to but we figure if anything went wrong we could just push it back over the bridge. And just like that another country was on the list of places visited.
70m from Sweden!
From there it was back into Finalnd and heading south. Dom didn't want to have to drive so far the next day as we were hoping to make good time into Rovaniemi as we wanted to see the Arctic center. So we drove and tried to camp along the way in the park but could not find a suitable site for two tents where we would not be bothered by foot traffic and decided to stay at camping park in Kittila. It was a nice little park, the manager spoke almost no English but I managed to indicate we were in a tent and needed a spot. In the end it was only 10 Euros and we had washrooms as well as a full kitchen, but we chose to cook on the camp stove anyway.
Next morning was off to Rovaniemi, remembering to stop at the Arctic circle sign, and the Arctic centre. The Arctic centre was pretty amazing and had an exhibition on about Rermans in Rovaniemi during WW2 which was very interesting. After that it was to our hostel called 'Rudolph" to shower and relax a bit with the only English channel showing some gardening show. It is funny how interesting any TV show is when you rarely watch TV. I learned a bit about plants and am keen to try some things once we are established in Australia! For dinner it was off to a fancy restaurant where we all shared our dishes of various versions of Reindeer including; stew, dried neck, sausage, and a few others. Was very delicious and a great night out with Daniel and Dominique.
Stopping at the edge of the Arctic Circle.
The Arctic Centre.
The next morning came all too soon. Dom headed off to the airport and Daniel and I had a wander about the town until our ten hour train left from Rovaniemi. On the train there was time to nap and read and just relax. It was a great trip but all too short.
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