North of the Arctic Circle

Trip Start Jan 19, 2014
Trip End Jan 30, 2014

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Flag of Finland  , Lapland,
Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Helsinki --> Ivalo

We're on our way to Lapland! 

Got up early this morning (Paul at 5 and me at 6) and we just had to go outside for breakfast.  A brisk walk across the street at 7:30am still in the darkness.  We had a wonderful breakfast buffet, Finnish style.  Some very hearty and tasty breads; an earthy oatmeal with local honey; cheeses and meats and, of course, some warming, strong coffee.

We rushed back to the hotel and threw things back into our bags and headed downstairs to catch a cab.  Our cab lady was quite fun and interesting to talk to.  Turns out, not everyone loves the cold like we do.  After all, she reminds us, it’s a bit different visiting for 10 days and living in it for (6 or more) very long months.  She laughed, giving voice to what I’d wondered, "who ever saw this land and decided to inhabit it?!" 

We got to the airport and as we checked in, the young woman asks, “are you Jorge?”  Wow, in Finland and they know how to pronounce my name!  Quite unlike the US where I very often get, “George?”  [Have I mentioned how I dislike being called that?  If you’ve known me in the past 40 years, of course you have.]  So we’re off to a good start.  [And it happened yet again upon checking in at the hotel.]

Lapland, I expect, will be quite different from Helsinki.  I imagine the it’ll be the same difference as between Minneapolis and Ely.  We should be crossing the Arctic Circle very soon.  Our flight is a quick 1.5 hrs north—just in time for lunch!  More this evening after we arrive.

Well, its as I expected and even more beautiful.  The snow is heavy and is spread throughout the land like a beautifully iced cake.  The snow sticks to the trees like the mock-frocked Christmas trees of south Texas.  Such beauty.

We checked-in to the hotel and immediately went out for a nice, brisk walk and lunch.  I had a beautiful goat cheese-stuffed chicken breast.  The sauces that accompany many of the meals (so far) seem very complimentary to the meal.  Sauces always run the danger of "having their own life" on a plate, but in the two or three meals we've had, the chefs seem to do a wonderful job of pairing them well and giving them just enough flavor to truly compliment the meal.  My chicken was delicious.  And the atmosphere was delightful as well:  a slight odor of firewood, a roaring fireplace, darkish interior with large windows framed by snow laden trees outside.  Hmmm.  Yes, and then after a short walk back to the hotel, a 3 hr nap.  That's an important part of our vacations.

After a nice 3 hr nap we're up and ready for dinner.  We decide to eat at the hotel and talk a walk after.  It was a decent meal at the hotel.  I had sautéed reindeer (I asked for Donner, but think I may have gotten Blitzen) with mashed potatoes with some berries and pickle on the side.  Most delicious, I must admit.  Paul says it's too much like roast (which he doesn't much care for).  I loved it.  Paul had white fish (which is what he had for lunch)--I think he really wants to get into the local food culture.

We're planning on a morning cross country skiing jaunt and back in time to shower and check out.  We're expected at the glass igloo tomorrow afternoon!

Good night and until tomorrow.
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Al on

Mis lindos, have a much desrved awesome time! Thank you for sharing as always.

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