The arrival in Rovaniemi was nice and smooth, despite my host not being around at the time (she was working as a nurse at the ER). Her brother was there and he kept me company in the evening. We tried out the house-sauna and afterwards jumped in the snow. Freezing amazing! (quite lame, I am aware.)
Rovaniemi is a small town where the highlights are the Arktikum museum, the art museum and the Santa Claus village just on the outskirts.
The Arktikum museum was really interesting and well done: it had not only parts concerning nature in the Arctics but also some exhibitions about the Sami people and the presence of the Germans in Rovaniemi during the Second World War.
The art museum had some cool robotic pieces of art which I found to be pretty cool.
A bus ride from the center leads people to the Santa Claus village.
Having misheard the driver, I followed a couple of tourists getting off the bus to their ‘Saata village’, while asking myself the reason for the absence of big lights.
That rapid choice I made (getting off without first confirming with the driver) brought me to a very long and peaceful walk in the snow, where despair, anger and bliss (it’s very nice to just give everything up and enjoy the walk) merged beautifully together.
Getting there only 15 minutes later than expected (I took a shortcut through the forest), the immense red and white lights welcomed me to the village.
The village itself was fine, definitely meant for families with kids, the best part being the line delimiting the Arctic Circle. It is always nice to cross an imaginary line which represents something bigger.
During my last days in Rovaniemi, I met my host’s boyfriend who, in the blink of an eye, went from merely suggesting that I could stay for few days with a friend of his at their husky lodge to actually setting it all up and equipping me for the Arctic winter.
He had been working as a guide in the Lapland and now planning to make his own startup around experiencing the Lappish forests.
Excited as ever, with a massive backpack on my shoulders and well-equipped (among the rest, an arctic sleeping bag which could handle down to -30 C and some military-grade boots), I said goodbye to my host and hopped on the bus to Inari!