We were to arrive at Ivalo airport early on the Monday to start our whistle-stop tour of northern Europe, so had arrived into Helsinki late the previous evening and stayed at a hotel near the airport before an early start and we flew up to Ivalo the following morning.
Even though it’s in Finland, Ivalo is one of the convenient airports you can travel to for our Aurora Husky Adventure in Finnmark (Norway) and new for next season, there are direct flights from London Gatwick to Ivalo with Finnair between 14th December and 22nd March on Sundays and Thursdays.
After being collected from the airport, we headed straight to Inari, around 45 minutes away from the airport, where we were going to stay for the night. Inari is a small town with around 500 inhabitants and often people stop there en route through Finland to North Cape to break up the journey, but there are lots of day activities available and would also be a fun place to stop if travelling between Ivalo and Karasjok. We were lucky enough to be staying in the Aurora rooms at our hotel, which had their own sauna and a lakeside view!
Photo: Niki Nature Travels
That afternoon we met Tuula and her husband, who showed us around their reindeer farm and taught us a little about the life of the Sámi. We fed the reindeer lichen, which they couldn’t get enough of, and were shown how to harness them before we went inside their cosy home and Tuula showed us how to make some traditional Sámi handicrafts and more importantly, winter boots.
After a dinner of reindeer, mash and lingonberry, we headed out on snowmobiles to search for northern lights. As it was my first time snowmobiling – I wasn’t sure what to expect but they are very simple to drive and extremely fun once you relax into it. Shame it wasn’t as easy to see the northern lights! It was cloudy and there was no activity so they weren’t even hiding on this occasion. However, we stopped for a fire and our guide made us hotdogs and gave us a hot drink, which made up for it! We were back rather late so sadly I didn’t take advantage of the sauna in my room as we had an early start in the morning.
Photo: Niki Nature Travels
First thing, after a hearty buffet breakfast, we walked to Siida, the national museum of the Sámi, a great interactive museum that demonstrates the life of the Sámi and the importance of nature to their culture. Over the border to Norway, we stopped in Karasjok for lunch ,where I left the group to meet our local host of the Aurora Husky Adventure in Finnmark and taken to the Husky Lodge. The local host has crafted everything by hand and used natural resources to build his cabins, including the furniture, light fittings, sinks, curtain rails – you name it, he built it! Self-taught, he explains he has a pile of rocks outside his workshop of previous failed projects that remind him of the hard work and lessons he has learnt along the way. These cabins are for the first and last nights of our tours in Finnmark and are a truly unique experience!
Trxt ; Niki from Nature Travels
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