Christmas throw me back to Lappland!

It has been years since I haven’t seen snow neither people walking on the sidewalk full of gift bags wearing a smile on their face and seemed to be careless. 2020 seemed to be truly special and meaningful  despite the presence of our beloved COVID-19.

The month couldn’t have started off any better: it was snowing here and you can already smell Christmas in the air!

I have to be honest, it took me a while to get up and as usual what should have been only 5 minutes at the end became 50… multiplied by a few times. Well, while I was still sleepy I didn’t realize that the world outside had turned white! At first I thought it was an optical illusion… it wouldn’t have been the first time my mom decided to throw so much flour at me that I looked like a snowman for no reason. But this tima was snow! Oh my god it was still snowing! Do you know what that means? No? Come on! Face to face in the snow, still in our pajamas, acting like little angels like when we were 5 years old! That mixture between the atmosphere of the lights in the street and the joy of Christmas that is approaching!

It has been snowing for a few days this early December and while it’s snowing outside a strange idea, better still a thought, materializes in my brain: have you ever stopped to think about Christmas? We wait for it all year round and then nothing, two days and poof, it’s gone and we find ourselves waiting again, going on with our lives as before. It was a strange feeling I was feeling that for some reason took me back to 2017 when at the same time my best friend and I were planning our next adventure in Lapland. We had set a few days that we would later call a “long weekend” and we were so ready to leave for Kuusamo, Finland, with the same expression on our faces as children anxiously waiting for Christmas !

Well are you still here? And what are you waiting for? Come on, the doors of this little melancholic time capsule will close soon and we’ll leave without you!

Just landed in Kuusamo – Finland

DAY 1:Flying to Kuusamo – Lapland!!!

(do you read between the lines my excitement in exclamation points???? Yiuuuiii coom’on that the reindeer are waiting for us)

After a long and longed-for wait, the fateful day arrived. It’s the 28th of January and I’m leaving home for the airport. I know you can’t see them through the blog’s picture but just imagine my dark circles under my eyes after only 4 hours of sleep as I yawned and loaded my luggage and headed in search of sugar in one of the bars in the terminal. Huh? Is that our flight they’re calling? Weird they’re saying we’re late? Or that  it’s me who’s a little late today (or always)? Ah no, it’s because of the weather, it’s bad and we have to stay on the ground longer than expected. Fortunately the little misunderstanding between Zeus and his companions didn’t make us miss the connection, maybe because half of us would have changed for the flight to Kuusamo, mmmh. Do you know that feeling when even if you don’t know people you feel like you are understand each others? Here they had the same idea as us: Lapland! Hello fellow travelers, ciaooo.

5 hours later we were finally in Kuusamo in a small cottage. It was dinner time and the chef was already telling us exactly what we had booked, even though we are still speechless by the beauty of the place and sleepy from the trip, we didn’t understand much. Right after the last spoonful of some delicious Finnish’s desser, our dear chef was already dragging us out in a very cool night of northern lights! Oh no, remember that we were late for the weather? Well, Zeus decided to give us a fabulous cloudy sky. Thanks buddy. Nothing, the suitcases were staring at us asking to be unpacked and a warm bed was there patiently waiting for my shiners to settle into a relaxing night of Lappish sleep.

DAY 2: Fishing & Snowmobiling

As I’m wont, I decided that the alarm was just an annoying embellishment of my morning thus leaving my stomach empty and my friend alone at breakfast (what a nice friend G). She with a full stomach, and me still beautifully dreamy we set off on our decidedly sizzling adventure. We put on our Lapland thermals (yes, because Finns know that those sort of thin leggings they sell in our part of the world are nothing but summer ornaments up here) and put on our snowshoes, and here we were.. in the cool white woods of Finland! To get food of course! Interesting approach to this day: but do you want to put the motivation given by my grumbling stomach to catch the biggest salmon in the lake? And do you want to put the fact that with the determination of an experienced Eskimo we don’t catch anything? It may be a touristy thing, but I have to tell you that digging a circular hole in the ice like in the cartoons and then sitting on the block of ice that had been extracted and had become a bench made me feel pleasantly satisfied. Ah, finally I had found my zen moment of connection with Pingu (for those who don’t know Pingu is a Swiss cartoon that shows the adventures of a cute little family of penguins who happily live in their little igloo made of ice cubes).

In the afternoon we decided to change our means of transport and go for something more dynamic, opting for snowmobiles: the perfect means of transport for an adventure to discover Kuusamo and its wonderful frozen lakes. The beauty of the landscape accompanied us for several hours as well as the polar cold of these parts … eh trust me that even 0 ° C can seem infinitely less while speeding at full throttle for the snowy expanses of Finland.

Back at our cottage base and not yet satisfied, we had the brillant idea of discovering a new sport: cross-country skiing. A great idea when you start out cold like a creamsicle and ended up face down on the ground several times. Exciting moments those of uphills…well… I guess it all depends on your point of view: from where I was standing it was fun. Imagine the scene: two clumsy Swiss girls in full body armor stuck on a slope along a cross-country ski trail, me higher up and my friend just below, me laughing and her stuck unable to move. So far so good, until in an attempt to save her I ended up crawling miserably downwards on my face too, hitting her a bit like a bowling pin, you know? That’s it, we ended up being two sacks of potatoes full of snow up to our underwear and our cheeks hurt from laughing so badly. It was all worth it. From there we decided that taking off our skis and walking back at the base was a better idea. The next day I guarantee you that every muscle in my body wanted kill me.

Before dinner and with a little bit of imagination we ended up playing a game of naval battle using some sudoku grids, guess who won? EXACTLY! Not me! Yeeeeh. After dinner our search for the real Lapland hoped to end with the Northern Lights but nothing, also today the sky decided not to be on our side. On the other hand, I realized that I do understand ANYTHING about Finnish and by watching TV in an unknown language is also an adventure.

DAY 3: Husky & Reindeers

Even today the weather forecast is not on our side, better still, not for us who were hoping for a clear night of colored lights. It was foggy and snowing today, not sure if it was me.. still not used to the temperatures but it seemed to be even colder than yesterday.

After breakfast and wearing several extra layers of thermals, a husky safari awaited us. Yes, I know it might sound confusing: safari = Africa = husky? Yeash almost, and I have to say that this one was definitely different than the one we did in South Africa (if you haven’t read it yet, don’t miss my fantastic adventures with Herbert!). Forgive the amount of times you will find written husky but I don’t know how to avoid it.. they are so cute!

While we were sipping a cup of hot tea, the owner of the place briefly explained how it worked and what to expect from our adventure before we speed off across expanses of nowhere on sleds pulled by friendly huskies. I wouldn’t have thought that these dogs could be so happy despite the activity, but at every stop they roll around in the snow, eat snowballs thrown by the rest of us and jump around waiting to be cuddled. But what about the puppies? Little balls of fluffy fur waited to be stroke.

I have to admit that I personally find this proposal far too short, come on leave me a puppy come on! Just oneee! Only oneeee!

Our daily adventure continued, without a husky puppy in our backpack unfortunately, to a small Reindeer’s farm! Once fed and pampered we headed in a group, reindeer included, to a small cabin in the woods where we could have enjoyed two Finnish specialties for lunch (cheese with cream of berries and vegetable soup with reindeer meat). The history of these reindeer farms is particularly interesting and being able to appreciate their culture and traditions is definitely an unusual experience for tourists who, like us, are curious to know more about these magnificent Nordic mammals.

Once we’d had lunch, it was time to head back to the cottage where another game of Battleship kept us busy while we waited for the evening. Even though the winter days in the north are very short, we were still able to enjoy a long, hot sauna, which was much appreciated given the temperatures!

Although hope is the last to die, tonight.. again.. the Finnish night sky was not on our side and the clouds keep hiding the magic. Well, it means we have to come back up here again for the Northern Lights!

DAY 4: Home Sweet Home !

Wakiii wakiiiii up travelers! It was time to look out the window and who was there this morning to greet us? Oh my sun, hello. Are you f*** (no G, you can’t say it)… are you kidding? Tell us Zeus that you’re kidding ? Damn it! With the sun high in the sky the only thing left to do packing our bags and going back at our normal routine, yuuupiii *fake smile*!

Sadly return back home but without problems. Despite the short stay both, my friend & I, couldn’t ask for better from these days and surely we will return to the far north of Europe and this time we will prepare in advance with rites of veneration to Zeus for a night devoid of clouds and full of colors!

This little vacation was, after all, a bit like Christmas: long awaited and then poof, gone in an instant, but so beautiful that left us with an unforgettable memory and only smiles in the minds of those of us who remember this long journey like children open the entrance door and find himself in front of Santa Claus presence!

P.S: Oh yes, there are few photos in this blog. Forgive me, but unfortunately, a month after this fantastic trip, my cell phone decided to commit a suicide by slipping in the toilet taking witt its all the holiday’s pictures! And well, like everyone else my friend has a problem with photo management and four years later she still hasn’t downloaded them from the camera!