Backpack Finland | Travel to Winter Wonderland | 7th March'20 - 14th March'20 | Travel to Di
I always get fascinated with photos of those green lights across the web and on my friend's social media pages. I googled facts on Auroras, what causes that Natural Phenomenon and the places across the world where one can witness the same.
I found multiple itineraries on Naman's travel website and enquired on the same. He personally called me and suggested the feasibility and cost of Northern lights and nature expedition among the Scandinavian countries.
So out of all Finland seemed to be the best possible option which was fitting both in my budget and also got a fair chance to witness auroras there in March'20.By the time I have already made up my mind that I will be going for that expedition and straight away booked to and fro tickets to Helsinki. I got the super cheap flight deals and the rest of the tour bookings were taken care of by Naman as usual and I was under no doubt that he will be booking the super cool hostels in the best place to explore any city.
So a week ago before my trip there was enough news of Coronovirus across but there were no big issues in Finland at that time and I started but there was fear in my mind.
Let me come to the actual trip now, the moment I landed Helsinki city it was all cold and much cold. From 30 C in Pune to some 5 C.
Helsinki is one traditional European cities with cathedrals and some beautiful neighborhoods.
The best thing was to visit the Suomenlinna island which I have gone via a ferry ride. Its a world heritage site and got some good views.
Half of my day gone their exploring the fort and the shores. After Helsinki starts the fairy ride for me, so I boarded a late evening flight to Kittila from Helsinki and it was heavily snowing right from the airport till I reach the hostel.
The bus from Kittila to Yllas dropped me at midnight nearby hostel with a cabin around woods and all snow and mo people to be seen around, I was scared and excited both.
The next morning I woke up at around 7 am and out of the window I saw snow drizzling around and then I noticed I am kind of in heaven.
I rushed outside without the jackets having negative temperature outside and the view made me realize this is someplace out of nowhere. I had fat biking across snowy roads, snowshoeing while the hike to forests and even caught faded Northern lights and damn what a sight it was to hike on a night with a full moon and without any artificial lights. I was shivering to cold but that feeling kept me going. We had a bonfire that night and the guide tells some real/fictional stories on Northern lights.
The next day I boarded the bus to Rovaniemi at around 6 am in the morning and that is quite a sight too. Can't express that whole thing actually. I am not sure how Naman has managed to find that place on this very earth which seriously one cant imagine of. Hats off to him to make me visit Yllas.
The last city to explore was Rovaniemi which was more to chase the Northern lights and explore Santa Claus village amidst all Covid-19 widespread speculations and there were no clear skies and all cloudy days with Snowshowers most of the time.
The Santa clause village is like a fairyland again where you can meet Santa 365 days a year and there were husky and Reindeer farms to visit. One can get the Arctic Circle Crossing certificate too as Souvenir.
The best part there was Snowmobiling which I did and rode dor around 2 hours across the tracks in the forest where you will snow till your knee. It was quite an experience to ride that beast and trust me it's not easy for a starter. Glad I got hold of it after few mins of struggle and not getting into cancellation, I was once in a lifetime experience for me.
On the last day before my departure, I was told that there is a slight chance that Northern light tour can happen and they picked me from my hostel at night. The night was going to be super cold and we were provided thermal wears. What to say for our guide for that tour, Mr. Alex who is some kind of professional
Within 15 minutes of our journey, he drove us to a sight where we spot our first set of Northern lights. Damn, it was bone-chilling cold close to -20 and I was there posing to get some cool pics. After that, we headed to a frozen lake near an arctic forest to hunt Auroras again and we had a bonfire there and we were listening to Alex about Northern lights and each other's experience. Trust me it was a night i can never forget. Maybe it was destined that my trip gonna end on so high after few off days due to coronavirus news around and listening that airlines might cancel their flight.
Finally, I came back home safe and corona negative enough so far.
There is no point thanking Naman on social media platforms as everyone knows he is best in his work and looking forward to thanking him personally whenever he comes to Pune.
Their group has seriously changed the vision of my mind regarding travel and seeing the world in a different way.
I grow out of confidence after taking two solo trips across Europe.
Thanks to travel to discover again to motivate peoples, to find those unexplored places and making travel so easy and fun.
Best wishes for the future journey ahead.
Thanks, Himanshu Rathore