The next day was all about animals!
We started off with a visit to the reindeers (organised by our hotels – you have to pay extra for some activities but typically, your hotels can help you organise them)…
Reindeers serve all sorts of purposes and have done for the Sami people that live here for years and year so they’re such an essential part of life up here.
Fun as going on a reindeer ride might have been, the highlight of that morning has gotta be those cute baby reindeer!
They’re just so adorable and full of personality! You can immediately tell which one is the boisterous one of the group, the trouble-maker, the shy one, the playful one.
It’s just so funny when you realise how different each one can be (perhaps you notice it more because you’re new to them and so the reactions are more noticeable than perhaps they would be with people they’re used to).
After playing around with the baby reindeer, we hopped onto a sleigh not unlike the one Santa would use 😉 and went on a quick ride with the reindeer.
Now although the reindeer are ‘home’ for winter, in summer, they’re just let loose in the countryside and it’s not uncommon to find reindeer that have decided to wander off even into Norway!
Thankfully, the farmers are able to identify which ones are theirs quite easily and so the reindeer are free to wander wherever they see fit.
Leaving the reindeer, popped into the Sami tent to warm up with teas and hot berry juices a nice little respite while we chatted away with the Sami family before heading to the nearby restaurant for lunch.
The restaurant is part of the Star Arctic Hotel so it’s pretty easy to organise with them when you’re staying here (everything from our end was booked with Ingham Holidays so we didn’t need to do much else after arriving in Finnish Lapland.
We started things off the freshest, most delicious tomato soup; which is a big deal coming from me as I’d typically never order tomato soup. I’ve never fully understood the appeal of tomato soup, well until today at least and unsurprisingly, the secret to amazing tomato soup is all to do with how fresh it is and boy, was this fresh! *licks lips*
For mains, we had salmon, finished off with a traditional Finnish pastry (can’t quite remember the name), for dessert.
Lunch over, we headed back outside to find the huskies – which are just delightful bundles of energy that almost seem to come with their own sunshine! They’re so playful and such a delight to be around.
After much cuddling, we hopped onto the dog sleighs and off we went.
The dogs are super keen to race and have been a part of life here for thousands of years though it is important to pay attention to them. For instance, if you’re going uphill and they’re slowing down, you get out and run with them (I say run, it was more of a slow amble) but at no point should they really be over-exerting themselves (you’ll be all clued up on this before you head out).
As we raced, the snow started falling as it just made the already amazing experience of racing around Finnish Lapland even more special.
My favourite bit though has got to be when we got back and got to play around with the dogs properly.
There are so many of them here and they’re all so friendly and playful. I could easily have spent the rest of the afternoon right there.
Back at the hotel, we grabbed some beers and headed down to the spa area where there’s – you guessed it – a few saunas and outdoor hot tub! A perfect way to finish off a relaxed, fun day in Lapland.
Dinner that evening has us at the same restaurant and this time, perhaps inspired by tomato soup earlier, I decided to have something I typically would never order – the Jerusalem Artichoke soup. It was glorious! Soooooo good!
Turns out, I don’t like typical regular artichokes but Jerusalem artichokes are nothing quite like that. I just usually give artichokes a wide berth so this was absolutely amazing to know (and to add something new to my personal list of must-have dishes).
Lloyd went for the Elk rillette to start, swiftly followed by the sautéed reindeer for mains.
Still very much into what I had the night before, I went for the goose again (don’t judge me – haha! It’s so good!).
For dessert, I got the baked apple (again – I know) while Lloyd went for… er, I’m not actually sure what Lloyd got again (I think a pear tart, maybe?).
But yes, enough about dinner, as delicious as it was, something else entirely took over my memories of this evening and said-thing was – you probably guessed it by now – the Northern Lights!
Yup! That’s right! The Northern Lights finally came out and the skies were clear enough to see them! Fortunate seeing as it was our last night in Finnish Lapland before heading home the next day.
I initially tried to take photos outside and see them outside which turned out to be the silliest idea ever (don’t ask why I did it when I could be warm inside, I think it just felt like a great idea at the time).
Freezing cold outside, I headed back inside which is when the most spectacular display of the lights started. I literally sat in bed watching the lights dance across the skies.
I’ve got a video of it (see below) which I posted on our Instagram earlier. This was taken right inside the cabin sat rather comfortably in bed.
Oh, and the light show didn’t stop, by the way, I fell asleep eventually with it still dancing in the skies and woke up to them still out! It was just amazing and the best way to finish off our time in Finnish Lapland!
And that’s about it! The next day we would be leaving back for London but the last few days here were just the perfect winter vacation I needed. Funny, I typically would try to do these holidays pre-Christmas but turns out, post-Christmas is just as amazing (especially so as it’s quieter, cheaper and means it breaks up that dull lull January can sometimes just end up being).
I will have the posts on the itinerary up very shortly (and link through to it here) as well as the post on what to pack and prepare for but one thing I have to say before signing off right now is that I thoroughly can’t recommend this enough.
I already knew I’d have an amazing time and have a bias for a wintry holiday like this but coming up here as like nothing else we’ve done so far (even Swedish Lapland felt so different) and to think that this is just a short trip from the UK make me wonder why we hadn’t done this sooner!
Anyway, that’s it for now! Catch ya later.