So our blog has been giving us a bit of trouble the past couple of days (and the internet)… we lost an entire upload, which is quite annoying! When we re-uploaded the post, it didn’t notify any of our followers. When receiving this post you will notice there is another recent post you may not have seen yet ‘Oh Holy Lights’.
Our Rovaniemi post needs a quick recap of our journey… One night sleeping on a plane, next night on a train, and the third night in an igloo. While we have learned from our past travels that not everything is glamorous, we still look forward to a few comfortable experiences. After a few nights of little sleep and still in the midst of subzero temperatures, we were excited for a warm room and lots of sleep!
Well that didn’t exactly happen upon arriving into the city of Rovaniemi, which is considered the capital of the Lapland region of Finland. On our trips we like to learn about and experience the cultures of each country. We booked a room via Airbnb to stay with a local couple. They greeted us warmly, and made us feel very welcome in their home. After an hour or so of talking we decided to lay down for a much needed nap.
Unfortunately this is when we realized the guest room heat was broken. After alerting the hosts of the issue, it was time for us to get ready for our dinner reservation. After all, it was Christmas night! Our walk to the city center was an easy and mostly pleasant 1.5 kilometer stroll (in negative 21 degrees temps). Maybe we are getting used to the cold (doubtful), or two layers of thermals plus gloves, hats, parkas, boots, and hand warmers actually work. We feel like Ralphie’s brother from Christmas Story!
Before we left for our reservations we knew, we could not put our bodies through this for another two nights! Our walk quickly became a scavenger hunt for vacancies at any hotel. Most hotels were booked solid ( Rovaniemi is a very popular place during Christmas). We walked around the city for an hour and managed to find 7 hotels. All but ONE was booked and they only had one room left. We pushed back our dinner reservation in order to solve this dilemma. Although it was the nicest hotel in the city (which also means $$$) we did some calculations and if we are refunded our money from the host (we are in dispute with them right now) it didn’t cost that much more. And we managed to score a really nice hotel in the city center… with heat! A quick taxi ride back to our hosts home, a very awkward conversation, a shoveling of our clothes into our backpacks, and back into our waiting taxi made our night. When we got back we noticed they put their oven on and opened the door to heat our room (was by our door). We felt really bad because they were really trying, but it just wasn’t cutting it. Mind you this is still our Christmas night. I guess you can say, we will never forget it.
After getting settled in what seemed like paradise we headed off to dinner (heated tile floors….yes please!)! We ate at Nili restaurant (very highly regarded restaurant in Rovaniemi. …traditional Lapland food) was only a couple of city blocks walk and was well worth the wait.
With full bellies and our bodies screaming for sleep, we practically sprinted to our hotel. In a future post we will explain a little more about the kamoos. Basically though because of the season and location daylight is a hot commodity. We awoke to a sliver of daylight which meant it was after noon. Thirteen hours of sleep later we were refreshed. Best sleep thus far!
With only a few hours left to enjoy we wanted to make the most of our day. To Scotts delight, almost all stores were closed because it was Boxing Day. He’d rather run barefoot in the Arctic than shop! We walked through the city to a museum called the Arktikum. The museum was filled with exhibits on the aurora borealis, polar climate, the Saami tribe, and information on how global warming is affecting the environment. All in all a nice museum and interesting way to get more acquainted with the Finnish culture and history.
Ready to head further into the Arctic?! Five hour bus ride (north/west) tomorrow morning to the Nellim Wilderness Lodge! Can’t wait!