Catching the flight off to Helsinki in Finland and from there on to Ivalo in Lapland I never knew that my physiology and psychology was about to get so very hit with the change of environment.
The climb down the clouds and the first view of the city and i saw it brown, a strange site having been warned that the snow on either side of the road would be thicker than a standing human being.
On landing and keeping my feet outside i realized that the color was that of the forest trees which were so covered with snow.
The very first whiff of air and I knew whatever hell i was wearing was just not enough and thinking that all my additional stuff was packed inside neatly i was angry at myself.
All of us took a run to the terminal from the aircraft, legs hardly moving in the chill bite of the wind.
The airport of Ivalo is tiny and slightly larger than an average bus station.When finally we got hold of our luggage we took out a few warm clothes to wrap around and on the way caught a taxi to Holiday Club Saariselka. The view that caught us on the way was breathtaking. I cannot describe the white blanket we saw outside.
The hotel was an exquisitively vintage style with 2 ladies behind the desk greeting us.
She directed us to our cottage B4 which was almost less than half a mile away. Walked through the road where fresh snow was fallling and heaps of it cleared from the last night, on either side.
20 mts seemed like 2 hours and for some crazy minutes in between i thought i might even die due to the freezing wind.
Cottage was heaven in every way, the view from the windows were like blissful…Big trees and layers of snow till eyes could see.
First day we spent seeing the local market, rather finding a supermarket, finding what all activities is worth the money and Joiku Kotsamo was of immense help. The first lot was for the Huskies, the Husky Safari.
While we were waiting for a ride to the camp where the Huskies, one of the breed came walking into the office, they look almost like wolves but are so friendly.
The camp was a few miles into an interior forest, you could say. Barking is the predominant sound. We were given an attire, a single piece pullover kinda thing you can just zip it thru along with tough boot and gloves. This was to be our clothing for all the rides to come.
We were given a small training by Jacob (Husky & Co) on how to control the huskies and what to do if we loose control etc. All animal lovers (me for one) , would be skeptical if the dogs are harmed or unnecessarily tortured but all my doubts were put to rest. They are well taken care of, and are ensured that even amatuer drivers like self does not hurt them in any way.The ride was through forest and chill wind blowing, I was the driver in mine and my daughter the passenger. It was amazing, the huskies knew their job well and so we got to enjoy the bit of nature in the plate.We also got some time to play around with the puppies which were on the way to become Husky Safari drivers.
Well since Aurora Borealis was our strong reason to cross the Artic Circle, we decided to go Aurora hunting, as they call it, on the second day night. It was hunting on snowmobile bikes. Ahh!!! I remember how i thought how easy it would be to ride them since i already knew how to ride a bike. I was so wrong, the physics was totally different, you need force energy work all in one to move that thing in the direction you want. And after all that it was so cloudy that we reached mountain top had some hot juice the guide had and returned. But the view from the mountain was a million dollar one.
The next day we were scheduled for the Reindeer drive, which was pretty relaxing except for the biting cold. Samy was our guide and he walked in front showing the way for the deers. In between we took a stop for a hot coffee and to feed the deers. i was starting to feel the bite through my legs when Samy passed a comment we wouldnt forget ” Its kinda warm day today” and when i reached the camp and checked the scale it showed -25 degree Celscius!!!!!
The drives and the shows were over and done, now we had some time for Skiing exploring the country side, Toboggan ride and a swim in a hot pool and some basic shopping to gift our nears n dears.
The magic happenend on the last night at Saariselka. It was late into the night and i had one look at the app (Northern Lights Finder) and it said 80% chance for visibility. On looking outside the window it was clear sky and temperatures had dropped i finally knew there was a chance so i kept looking out every half an hour,. And finally at 1 o clock at night when i glanced i could see a pink and blue color forming in the sky and moving, i ran out with whatever i could grab, had my mobile and tried to click a few snaps, but were unsuccesful. Finally i decided to see it with my eyes and enjoy it rather than spending time and effort on setting up the pic.
It was worth the wait and worth the travel and worth the cold and everything. If you have read Fairy tales and when the fairies comes down from the clouds, now i know where the inspiration for the pink clouds came from..
It was the most befitting farewell and we boarded back our flight the next day, Adieu to Saariselka and Keetos (Thanks in Finnish) for all sweet memories!!!