Saturday, March 21, 2015

North to Finland

Grant & I went to Finland again this year for his February break.  Last year we traveled there with hopes to see the Northern Lights.  Despite spending a beautifully clear evening in the middle of nowhere, no lights were sighted.  This year our luck was even worse.  There were no beautiful clear evenings, let alone any Northern Lights.  So we were shut out again.  

Of course upon our return, I talked with a colleague who had just returned from a cruise in Norway where she saw the lights 4 or 5 times.  And even more disheartening, my niece just saw them from Minnesota. 

Despite being 250 km north of the Arctic Circle our weather was mild with temperatures staying around freezing.  This was somewhat ironic since during this time most of the Midwest and Northeastern US was suffering from bitter cold temps.  

Without any Northern Lights to see Grant spent his time making snow angels.  
Our lodging.  On the good side, it is right by the ski trail and has free cross country ski use.  However it's a little rustic and the lunch menu is essentially limited to toasties and fried cheese sticks.  

The trail outside the lodge begins with a big downhill.  Notice the lights on the side of the trail.  They have around 20 km of lighted trails for night skiing.  In December and January there is a lot of dark in Finland.  

We hit some great ski weather.  Temperatures around freezing with occasional snow.  

The remote landscape

Grant & I liked skiing next to this small creek.  

The Sariselka area has about 250 km of groomed ski trails.  Grant was in charge of plotting our route each day.  
We took two snowmobile rides.  I'm always surprised at how difficult it is to turn those machines.  
This is an observation tower on top of the local mountain.  It was a bitter cold there as it looks.  The wind was incredibly strong.  

Grant was the only member of our group to catch a fish while ice fishing.  

His success must have been due to his professional fishing stance.  

Drilling a hole in the ice.  It was almost a meter thick.  

Our hotel parking lot included a Soviet built Lada.  Wikipedia says it is one of the four most popular cars ever sold.  Topping the list is the Model T followed by the VW Beetle, the Toyota Corolla and then the Lada.  

This is how hot dogs are served in the Helsinki Airport.  Lots of dog and not enough bun.  Just the opposite of most hot dogs.