I can say immediately that I was able to admire the Northern Lights, but just in souvenir shop pictures where I have been, not in the Lapland sky because unluckily it was too cloudy to see this unbelievable phenomenon. But, if this was the main reason that pushed me to do this trip, I have to say that once I came home I realized I did so many unique things that I even forgot what the Northern Lights were.
This journey was organized by Riga’s Erasmus Group: we reached Tallinn by bus, then Helsinki by ship (here the cheapest company website http://www.tallinksilja.com), and then we went by coach toward one of the most uncontaminated place in Northern Europe.
Here you can find our itinerary: 2,587 km until Saariselkä, not so bad, but that won’t be the last place we’ll visit in this adventure.
Some hours after we left Helsinki, we reached Kemi‘s village, in Finland, a quite usual place except for the Kemi Snow Castle, totally made of ice..
When the guide told us about this building, I imagined something much more simple than the one I found in front of me: a real castle with a big park outside, and full of different rooms inside where it is very easy to get lost, and everything, I swear, Everything, was made of ice: the beds to take a rest, the chairs, the sculptures in the biggest room etc..
Since I was a bit tired, I could not avoid to take a nap in this very comfortable and icy mattress.
There was even a coffee bar with a counter and stools, unluckily it was not possible to take a drink but it was unique anyway.. In another room there was also a slide, to make children happy and not only them..
In the outside park we found a very nice frozen ice track which we went down on rubber rings, unluckily I lost the dare with a Spanish friend of mine.
This was a very unique place that i could not believe existed. There were a lot of tourists, especially Japanese, taking pictures of every ice object..
Kemi Snow Castle score 7/10 – Giacomo on the rubber ring score 5/10
After a hot chocolate in a Real coffee bar, we left for..
Rovaniemi! Exactly, Santa Claus Village..
In this fairytail-like place it is possible to sit in the lap and to speak with.. Yes, with Him..
Since it was an Erasmus trip, there were a lot of guys from different countries, and everyone swore to have heard from Santa at least some words in his own language. I also do, indeed Santa told me “Buongiorno e Buon Natale”. Not so easy to be Him..
The other main village attraction is Santa Claus post office, luckily when we were there it was not December 25, otherwise we would have been immersed in the Christmas letters sent by millions of children to this office, from where is also possible to send post cards to your home with Santa’s official stamp: the legend tells that the elfs take them in every part of the world.
There were also a lot of shops, even a McDonald (sigh), and a lot of reindeers, one of them wanted to take a selfie with me..
After the picture with my friend, I saw this signal that reminded me exactly how far away from home was everyone of us.
After we had spent some hours in this fascinating place, we got on the coach, ready to leave for Saariselkä.
Anyway, Rovaniemi score 7,5/10 – Santa Claus score 10/10 (in our group there were even some Korean guys, and they also swore to have spoken with him in their own language).
After some 3 hours, the coach stopped in Saariselkä, a small village with just about 350 inhabitants. Even though there were 3 hotels, we had the strong feeling to be in a very isolated place.
The main reason that push tourists to come here is the possibility to see northern lights, that’s why there are also some amazing igloo made of special thermal glasses, where it is possible to spend the nigh admiring this phenomenon. Obviously the price is not cheap at all.
Our nice guide told us that they are rented especially by Japanese tourists.
In Saariselkä there is also the longest sledge track of Europe, but it has a very big defect: there is not a sky-lift.
Just 3 of us managed to reach the top by foot, unfortunately I wasn’t one of them because I gave up some meters after the half, exactly at this point.
Sledging down was not so easy, but it was much harder the following evening after drinking some cocktails, but even in that occasion I managed to reach the track’s bottom safe and sound.
Even though we didn’t stay in those amazing igloos, I was very satisfied about our accommodations: we lived indeed in some 5/6 people cottages made of stone and wood, with even a private sauna!!
One of the best moments of the whole trip was certainly the huskies farm tour.
If you want to know about it and about many other things, don’t miss the second part of this trip, that I’m going to post on Saturday!