This X’mas, we were part of a locust cloud in Santa’s homeland, warmly welcomed by the cool Finns. Before getting into all that, first a few words and photos on Lapland.
Santa’s home at Rovaniemi was an elfish shopping mall, kinda cute but not enough to raise goosebumps. Lining up for half an hour with my ten-year-old to take a picture with Father Christmas used up a lot of paternal love, but Santa surprised me. He was a gracious old man, appearing more regal than drunk, and perplexingly committed to being photographed all day with dumb tourists. He greeted us enthusiastically in Chinese: “Ho ho ho! Ni Hao Ma?” His felt slippers were ginormous, approximately three times my size — 130?
Rovaniemi was worth a one-day visit. An hour and a half northward by bus was Levi, where everything, except the food, had a magical air.
|Looking out the hotel window|
|Warm-up hut during the reindeer ride (Hut not made of ginger biscuits).|
|Street scene Levi (1)|
|Levi street scene (2) - the moon is also real.|
The reindeer and husky rides were thrilling but freezing. The huskies, exactly like what their owner warned us during the intro dog-driving lesson, were no pets. They were “crazy” indeed, remarkably strong, and bewilderingly eager to pull sleighs. Impressive work ethics, really. Someone should hire them for corporate training. While being prepared for the ride, their barking at each other was deafening. Seeing half-frozen saliva frothing around their bared canines was a little unsettling, but they were quite gentle to humans. However, unpleasant things had happened to a few particularly stupid tourists before, so, remember to be respectful. The reindeers, with one-track minds, were easier to drive, and unquestionably goofy.
|Aurora Borealis at -27C - Wow! Brrrr...|
|Dawn? or Dusk?|
|This is sunset, I think|
But my locust experience was nothing like what I expected. More on that in part (2): [Link to Part (2) - Locusts]
|Southern Finland (1)|
|Southern Finland (2)|