I’ve recently traveled to Lapland for skiing, fun and some exploring. It’s been a very relaxing and exciting journey, but the best part of any trip is learning. Here are the few things I discovered while travelling above the Arctic Circle.
Lesson 1. There is no such thing as too many clothes. It doesn’t matter whether you ski or not, it’s cold there and one needs to dress accordingly. At least one underlayer of clothes is required, but the comfort level (at least for me) is 2 layers and more on top 🙂
Lesson 2. Reindeers are not at all like I imagined them to be. I always thought that these animals are cute and smart. But when we went to visit a reindeer farm, and I took a closer look at them, I realised they are quite different from what I expected them to be. They are cute, but intelligence is no really their thing 🙂
Lesson 3. Sunlight matters. Remember how people in Helsinki complain about winter darkness? Pfff. In Levi there was one hour of light per day, from about 10.30am to 11am. If it was a good day. It feels quite weird not being able to say what time of the day it is by looking outside. Going back to Helsinki after that felt like going to the sunny beach 🙂
Lesson 4. Sauna is a necessity, a medicine and your best friend. I always liked sauna, even before moving to Finland. But it’s only in Lapland that I learned to really love it. When it’s -25C outside and you skied a lot, going to a room with +80C feels like heaven. Heat goes to bones, and muscle pain perishes.
Lesson 5. Winter magic exists. Pine trees covered with snow and the white desert everywhere as far as eyes can see. It brought back childhood memories of Andersson’s “Ice Queen” story.
Lesson 6. Always try local specialties. I thought that in a year that I’ve been living in Finland I tried most of the local dishes. However, Lapland is special, and has it’s own cuisine. A lot of dishes are made with reindeer meat, which is quite delicious. Reindeer stew, reindeer sandwiches, and even reindeer pizza 🙂 But even more than that I liked local drinks. Minttukakao, a cacao with a mint Finnish vodka “Koskenkorva”, turned out to be a perfect after ski drink.
Lesson 7. Nature helps you to discover new things about yourself. You never know how far you can go until you test your limits. I’m quite new to skiing, and this was my second time. Remembering the basics and finding a balance was a hard task by itself. On top of that there were severe weather conditions. I felt like giving up so many times! Falling again and again, feeling cold, snow dust hitting your face painfully when you race downhill, balancing on slopes that turned to ice. All of that wasn’t easy, but I didn’t quit, and it felt good. I realised I can tackle many challenges, which seemed too hard for me before.
Lesson 8. There is always something new to learn. On this trip I realised how little I know about Sami people and Lapish culture overall. Its quite peculiar and unique, and it would be great to read more about them.
Overall, I can say that Lapland is unique, magical and unforgettable. This is the place that one must visit to re-connect with the nature, to return a childhood-like feeling of winter magic and to appreciate simple things that make us happy.