Lapland Journals

Arctic Adventures

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A March 2001 trip to Lapland by chewie

Fish Over the Flames Photo, Lapland, Finland More Photos
Quote: My experiences in Lapland went beyond anything I could have imagined. I went on this trip to photograph Finland in winter, and Lapland was the ultimate winter getaway. My days in Lapland can be characterized as rugged, cold, peaceful, beautiful and exciting.

Arctic Adventures

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Overview

Quote:
This was a trip of "firsts", which meant doing things that I have never done before and trying anything once. Well, there was one thing that I couldn't get myself to do...jumping naked into freezing ice water after sitting in a hot spa. (At the time, it just seemed to painful.) But I felt that on a trip to the Arctic Circle, one really has to be game for anything. Eating reindeer cooked three different ways, floating in the the icy waters of the Baltic Sea (with water-tight suits, of course), riding with the reindeer and dancing like the Finnish do. Quick Tips: Be prepared for the cold weather up in Lapland, if you're going in the winter time. Bring layers of clothes and perhaps rent sn...Read More

Hotel Kakslauttanen

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Hotel

Hotel Kakslauttanen Photo, Lapland, Finland
Quote:
Hotel Kakslauttanen is the ideal log cabin hotel, a cozy place to retreat from your day's trekking in the snow. I didn't know what kind of accommodations to expect in Lapland, but when we arrived I was excited to see that each room resembled a quaint log cabin. The hotel complex is like being in a large ski resort, where you walk (or ski) from building to building. Our room for two was large enough to fit six people actually. There were log bunkbeds in both the outer room and the smaller inside room. Each room has a large stone fireplace, private kitchen (ideal for families planning to cook) and a rustic wooden table with benches. Even the curtains made the place feel so homey. And each cabin h...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 8, 2001

Hotel Kakslauttanen
99830 Saariselka
Lapland, Finland
358-16-667 100

Hotel Merihovi

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Hotel

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Kemi is a small European town, and this hotel reminded me of being in one. What it lacks in lustre, it makes up for in cozy charm. The rooms are simple, yet spacious and filled with morning sunlight. The small antique lamps and furniture are a nice, authentic touch, something your won't experience anywhere else. Comfortable enough for a short stay in Kemi. One of the more interesting aspects to this hotel is the dining lounge area, a warm diner-esque atmosphere. My traveling companions and I spent an hour sitting there one afternoon, waiting for our ride to arrive. With the sun streaming through the blinds and "King of the Road" singing over the radio we enjoyed our cup of coffee and ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 10, 2001

Hotel Merihovi
TK
Lapland, Finland

Hullu Mylly Restaurant

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Restaurant

Quote:
Located right near the Ice Castle, Hullu Mylly is a quaint local restaurant that serves elegantly prepared local Finnish dishes. I tried my first reindeer entree here. Although I went with a large group, this restaurant qualifies as one of those quiet romantic spots. The interior reminded me of a restaurant you would find in a little ski town, everything made out of wood and having that homey feel. Now for the more interesting part...the food. Order the local wine or beer. I had a Lapin Kulta, of course! It's a tasty, light Finnish beer. I ordered the salad topped with seared tuna (very simple and delicious) and the smoked reindeer which was very tender and flavorful (not gamey...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 10, 2001

Hullu Mylly Restaurant
Central Park
Lapland, Finland
+358 16-458 0440

Sampo Icebreaker

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Attraction

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In our red snowsuits and helmets, we were ready for our icebreaker adventure. Actually, we looked like a group of astronauts ready for a mission. It would be a 45 minute ride out on the snowy plane of ice, before we would reach our destination, the Sampo icebreaker...the method of getting there: snowmobiles (or skidoos as they're referred to in Finland)! I got a chance to drive my own snowmobile, a first for me. It was SO much fun. The best part about the experience was driving on this vast expanse of ice, enjoying the thrill of the ride, and forgetting everything else. For a brief moment, you can feel like a daredevil in your goggles and helmet. Led by our guide, we followed each...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 10, 2001

Sampo Icebreaker
Sampo Tours - Torikatu 4; Kemi, Finland
Lapland, Finland

Quote:
When we were told that we were going on a reindeer safari, we still had no clue as to what this day would turn out to be. We suited up in our snowgear for a day with the reindeer. We arrived at the reindeer farm owned by Riitta and Penti, the Sami couple who graciously invited our group to experience their culture and share a part of their daily life. Before anything could be said or explained, the reindeer ceremony began. In solemn silence, our group was immediately transformed into a symbolic line of reindeer. The head person was given the reindeer antlers and bell to wear, and the rest of the group were lined up and were led by rope into the Sami kota (a kind of teepee made out o...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 9, 2001

A Day with Riitta, Penti and their Reindeer
A 727 Purnumukka
Lapland, Finland

Ice Castle in Kemi

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Story/Tip

Quote:
I flew from Helsinki to Kemi, my first stop in Lapland, where Finland's famous ice castle is. It's a small industrial town spotted with wood-paneled buildings (most of the original architecture was destroyed by the Germans during WWII) and where life seems slow enough that you would recognize your neighbor at the local Euromart. A 10 minute walk from the center of town, the Ice Castle is right next to the water's edge (frozen over during winter and a vast snow field as far as the eye can see). Bundle up before you go, you'll be surrounded by walls of ice. When I entered the Ice Castle, I was surprised to see an ice bar, complete with tables made out of blocks of ice, ice sc...Read More

Snow Hotels and Glass Igloos

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Story/Tip

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Have you ever felt like sleeping in a room made out of snow? For the more daring, you can stay inside the snow hotels located on the Hotel Kakslauttanen complex. These hotels are basically rooms made entirely of snow and ice. Everything from the beds to the tables are made of ice. Don't worry, reindeer skins are laid down onto the ice bed block to keep you warm, and each person is given a heavy-duty sleeping bag that cinches up, exposing only your face. There's even a honeymoon suite for those who want to spend their wedding night cozying up to each other in the cold. To go along with the honeymoon theme, the suite has romantic cupid and angel carvings on the ice walls. For those jus...Read More

Bird Man at Kuukkelilampi

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Story/Tip

At Work Photo, Lapland, Finland
Quote:
If you're in Saariselka and you want to see a true craftsman at work, visit Lintu-Antti, otherwise known as the Bird Man. He has been professionally carving intricate bird ornaments from wood for the past 12 years and studied the craft for 30 years to perfect his trade. With his Kuukkelilampi restaurant as the backdrop for his work, he serves up savory grilled fish and crepes for his customers and gives them bird carving demonstrations while they eat. When you walk into the circular-shaped wooden restaurant, you immediately notice the the product of his work: hundreds of beautiful birds hanging from the ceiling, wooden logs used as tables and chairs, the smell of wood on an open fire (w...Read More