Madrid to Rovaniemi – After a calm flight from Madrid and a quick transfer in Helsinki airport, I landed in Rovaniemi, Lapland, where I spent the night at the Scandic Hotel. My first dinner in the Finnish city was not the healthiest one – although tasty, I must confess -, as I shared space in a fast food restaurant with a young guy serving in the army, who left his hat for some minutes and gave me the elements to create the picture below.
Rovaniemi to Inari – Next morning, I waked up early and took the SkiBus to Inari. The bus was driven by a kind and skilfully woman, that somehow managed to be punctual and effective, which I found specially difficult because of the icy roads and the numerous stops on the way. The trip, although quite long, was pleasant, thanks to the wonderful landscapes that could be enjoyed through the wide windows of the vehicle.
Explore the Reindeer and Authentic Inari Life – I arrived in Inari, just in time to join a very interesting experience, organised by the great team of Visit Inari. I met Reetta, Birgitta, in charge of solving everything, and Becky, the friendly British/Finnish trainee that escorted us during the event.
After a short ride, we arrived at a generous traditional ranch, located next to Muttus Lake. We were received by Tuula Airamo, the owner of the farm and a Sámi descendent – Indigenous Finno-Ugric people inhabiting the Arctic area of Sápmi -, who seemed to know everything you need to learn about reindeers.
We fed the reindeers and learnt much about this species of deer, from the Cervidae, before being invited to Tuula´s house, a genuine space impregnated by the essence of an ancient culture. Inside the charming space, she introduced us to the traditional arts and crafts inherited from her ancestors, with a good talent for story and anecdote telling, and finished the visit with a tasty berry pie and a cup of tea, embellished both with an interesting conversation about her family and their fascinating culture.
Aurora Borealis – That same night, after eating some traditional food and enjoying a fun snowshoeing excursion with Antti Haapakoski – below, on the left -, Becky Tuulantytär – lightning a fire on the picture – and a friendly german couple, I had the fortune of viewing my first Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), and one of the best in the area in many time, according to the villagers and experts.
I will always be thankful to Antti, as he decided to drive from his house for alerting me of the amazing phenomena, while I was already in my cottage ready to take a rest until next day. Therefore, I managed to take some pictures and create the previous Time Lapse of the memorable moment.
Sámi Culture by Snowmobile – During my last morning in Inari, before leaving to Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, I enjoyed an activity that was a curious mixture of culture and action, with Antti as the guide and an accesible and warm couple from London. After a fun drive, we visited the old Sámi church in Pielpajärvi – pictured below, which I personally found exceptional in it´s simplicity – and passed by Island Ukonkivi: a rocky ancient Sámi sacrificial island.
Afterward walking inside this important religious site, for the local community, we drove for a while on the enormous and frozen Lake Inari, which is known as the Sea of Sámi, and had some coffee and snack by the open fire, together with a nice chat with Antti and the Londoners.
The Fisherman – While riding the snowmobiles on Lake Inari, we saw a fisherman in the distance, and Antti had the great idea of making a quick stop, I guess motivated with the idea of showing us the details of a practice we were talking about some minutes before. I thank him again, as that simple decision made the following shots possible. A perfect end for a stay in Inari that will never forget. Hopefully, if all goes well, I may come back some day.
Thanks and gratitude – Thanks to everyone that made this first part of my Lapland Adventure 2014 an amazing one. Special thanks to the team of Visit Inari – Reetta, Birgitta, Antti and Becky -, the best in the area for your accommodation and activities.
Text and Photos © Nano Calvo
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