Tag Archives: finland

One year ago today


Exactly one year ago tomorrow Boofuls and me set off onto our Big Adventure. I say ‘our’ but I really mean ‘my’ big adventure. Boofuls, bless him would no more have chosen to come here than fly to the moon ( actually, he’d probably love that) but being the man he is he willingly went along with my dream of travelling inside the Arctic circle in the hope of seeing the northern lights.

We got off the plane and stepped into a magical land.  Where dawn and dusk merged for a couple of hours into a dreamscape of blues, pinks and purples and where the night sky danced and twisted in shades of green and purple.

On the coach journey to our hotel, right on the border between Sweden and Finland, I stared out of the window transfixed as I saw what looked like strange and mythical creatures lining our route. Dragons, gremlins, weird and wonderful shapes of the trees bent over and carrying a heavy coat of snow fuelled my imagination. I really felt like I’d stepped through the wardrobe into Narnia.

This is where I experienced one of the most terrifying events of my entire life; husky sledding in the pitch black.  The only light being from the torch attached to the driver of the sled shining onto the reflective strip on the suit of the driver in front.  I loved it!

I didn’t love it quite so much when it was my turn to drive. Those dogs are fast! I may have sworn once or twice while I clung on for grim death as the huskies galloped at breakneck speed down what looked and felt like a bobsleigh run, slowing down occasionally to fight with each other.  I was convinced we were going to die. Luckily we didn’t so we repeated the exercise again a couple of days later.

There are so many highlights of this trip that a post about it would be the size of War and Peace. I’ll let the photographs give you a feel for what it was like.  You get a gazillion brownie points if you can tell me what is special about the church.

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The well dressed traveller


Right, I promise I’m not going to keep banging on about our brilliant Big Adventure (much) in Finland for much longer.

That was probably a big fat lie. It was one of the best trips of our lives and I want to relive every minute of it as much as possible. Even the bits that irritated me at the time – like waiting for Boofuls to get his act together so we could get outside as fast as possible have now taken on a rose tinted glow since we got home.  I discovered that one can only wear so many layers of clothing before it becomes a physical impossibility to move. Our walk took on an pronounced and ungainly roly poly gait while we were there Oi! Cheeky! Because of the layers of clothing, not because of the pies! Rude!

Generally, I was so keen to get togged up and outside that I got ready far faster than Boofuls and then I’d stand there ridiculously hot and struggling to breath while he poodled about taking his tablets, getting a drink, brushing his teeth etc. etc. etc. It’s very difficult to dance around from foot to foot  like an impatient two year old when you’re dying of heat exhaustion and bearing more than a passing resemblance to the Michelin man. After a couple of days we developed a routine where I’d  get dressed and then wait outside for him.

So, just in case you’re curious, or even if you’re not. This is what the well dressed traveller wears during a Finnish winter (we’ll take the grundies part of the dressing process as a given and not in need of comment).

1 pair liner socks

2 pairs thermal socks

1 pair long johns. Silk if the temperature was above -15 and fleece if it was below

1 pair padded walking trousers

1 long sleeved base layer wool or silk vest

1 light woollen polo neck jumper

1 warm jumper

1 fleece

1 pair liner gloves

1 pair thermal mittens

1 all in one babygro style thermal suit

1 hoodie  ‘Buff’ hat with face bandit style face cover for robbing banks or for keeping your face warm if there were no banks to rob

1 Buff for keeping the neck warm and doubling up as another hat

1 hood on thermal suit (if it was particularly cold )

1 pair heavy  thermal lined boots

As you can imagine, wearing that little lot indoors wasn’t the most pleasant experience. It was a relief to get outside and get on with the serious task of gazing around me like a fool and exclaiming every 10 seconds, “It’s just so beautiful.”

The BIG Adventure


Sigh. We’re back. Back from one of the best experiences of our entire lives.

So good in fact that I’m getting teary just sitting here thinking about where to start telling you all about it. I suppose the best place to start is at the beginning, so here goes….

Some months ago a florist that we have met at many a wedding fair over the last few years told us she wanted us to photograph her wedding. At the last wedding fair she arranged the date – for the day before our Big Adventure.  Bit of an issue there as we were planning to set off on holiday that day for an early flight the following day but hey ho. let’s just incorporate it into the plan.

The day of the wedding arrived and we packed all the camera gear along with our passports, suitcases, boots and all the other paraphernalia involved in going away. After the wedding Lashes and Len met us to take the bulk of the camera gear home and we headed off down south. Yay, it’s happening – we’re on holiday!

After an uneventful journey we arrived at our destination, Narnia. What? Not Narnia? Well, it looks like Narnia. It’s definitely magical.

Ok, it wasn’t actually Narnia, it was Sweden.

On the coach journey to the hotel I was mesmerised by the way the trees were so heavily laden with snow that they bent in half, bowing majestically to us as we drove past.  Other trees assumed the shape of snow dragons, trolls, birds…..hang on. Are you sure it wasn’t Narnia?  I couldn’t believe that somewhere on this earth could be so beautiful. For the whole of the two hour journey to Karesuando I was transfixed and enchanted.

I was almost sad when we reached the hotel, until I stepped off the coach to an even more magical place. The paths were lit by candles and the trees, glistening with snow jewels were lit from deep in the woods giving an ethereal, magical effect. My eyes got wider and wider to try and take in the beauty of our surroundings. As an adult I felt like I was in a fairy tale, I can’t even begin imagine how small children must feel when they come here to see Santa.

I’m going to let the photographs tell you the story. I may chip in from time to time.

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