My Lapland Bucket List

Since we decided to move to Lapland I’ve been asked many times with a shocked facial expression: ‘But what will you do in Rovaniemi?’ Well, I think there are plenty of things to do in Rovaniemi and in Lapland. I already made a list about those things that I am most interested in. 

1. Enjoy The Midnight Sun!

Summer days also can be quite long and light here in southern Finland. The real white nights can be seen up there close to the Arctic Circle. According to Wikipedia, the Midnight Sun is visible at the Arctic Circle from June 12th until July 1st. This period extends as one travels further north. Locations where the sun is less than 6 degrees below the horizon which are above 60° 34’ latitude that are south of the Arctic Circle (or north of the Antarctic Circle) experience midnight twilight, so those daytime activities, such as reading, are still possible without artificial light on a clear night.

Although I never really wanted to have a summer wedding, thanks to the Hungarian bureaucracy we got married on the 25th of July. We celebrated our first anniversary on a long, sunny evening with sipping cold champagne and admiring the late sunset by the lake nearby. That’s when I said to myself that eventually, it’s not a bad thing to have this anniversary in summer. I think I will be able to get used to that. My plan for our 2nd anniversary is something similar. I would like us to sip champagne and admire the view from one of those popular hiking spots around Rovaniemi on a sunny night.

Late sunset view on our first wedding anniversary

Late sunset view on our first wedding anniversary

2. Discovering Lapland

I think our timing is just the best possible for moving to Rovaniemi because spring and summer are ahead of us. We’ll have time to discover the surroundings of Rovaniemi and hopefully other parts of Lapland too before the dark, cold days arrive. We especially would love to see Lake Inari, which is the third-largest lake in Finland. This area is not only interesting because of nature but also because of the Sámi culture. Would love to visit SIIDA Museum, the national museum of the Finnish Sámi. I also hope that living in Rovaniemi will give me the opportunity to get to know the Sámi culture and maybe the language too.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

3. Ruska, The Dream of All Photographers

Autumn is one of my favorite seasons, so, for this reason, I am even more eager to see the Ruska in Lapland. Ruska is a phrase to describe the changing colors of leaves in Finland. Up north it starts around mid-September and happens very fast. Within roughly two weeks the foliage turns from green first to yellow and then to different kind of intense colors before eventually they fall down and the cold winter days arrive. I started to take photos a good 15 years ago when I first worked as a journalist. I’ve been planning to learn photography and buy myself a camera for a while. This is the time when I will turn this plan into reality. I think it would be a sin to continue taking photos only with my Nokia Lumia. I would like to have the knowledge and the proper asset to take the best possible shots of Ruska and all the beautiful aspects of nature that Lapland provides from day by day.

Ruska in Seurasaari. In Lapland it's even more beautiful

Ruska in Seurasaari. In Lapland, it’s even more beautiful

4. Northern Lights Hunting

Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis are caused by charged particles, mainly electrons, and protons, entering the atmosphere. It’s named after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora, and the Greek name for the north wind, Boreas. In Lapland, Northern Lights can be seen from September till March every night when the sky is clear enough. Finnish Lapland is one of the best places to be if you wanna see them. I can’t even imagine this phenomenon, we both are so excited to see with our own eyes.

Northern Lights in Lapland Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Northern Lights in Lapland
Photo Credit: Wikimedia

5. Enjoying The Countless of Winter Activities

In Hungary, where I am from, we don’t really have white winters anymore. For many of the Hungarians, and among them for me too, winter is a season when there’s nothing much to do except that you have to survive. This is especially the case in Budapest, where I spent four years before coming to Finland and where winter can be grey, boring and depressing without snow and sunshine. I still have slight memories from my childhood, that back then I loved those white winters what we had. Because of the lack of snowy winters in my teenagehood and my adult life, I have a lot to catch up. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see the real face of Winter Wonderland yet, since the last two winters were warmer than usual here in the southern part of Finland. So it’s understandable if I got overexcited every time I think about the winter in Lapland. I would like to learn how to ski, I would like to try ice skating again and I am opened for all those outdoor activities what Lapland could offer during the winter months. This February I already had the chance to try rolling in the snow after sitting in the sauna in Vimpeli, but I have even bigger plans. I really would like to try ice swimming, or as the Finns name it, avantouinti.

Sauna is even better during the winter

Sauna is even better during the winter

6. Meeting Reindeers And Visiting Rauna Zoo

I guess I am not the only one who is dying to see reindeers, polar bears, brown bears and other animals native to Finland. I know that I will have the chance for sure to see reindeers up there. I also would like to visit Rauna Zoo in order to see other animals as well.  I would like to know more about Finland’s and Lapland’s wildlife and see those animals but I would pass the experience of meeting one of them in the woods.

Before moving to Finland we liked to tell the same joke to all of our friends when they asked about our future plans in Finland: ‘We move to Lapland and run a reindeer farm.’  It sounded especially funny because we both are (or I should say, used to be) real city persons. But now, here we are! Who knows what else the future will bring for us?

Polar bears Photo credit: www.iltalehti.com

Polar bears in Rauna Zoo
Photo Credit: www.iltalehti.com

7. Knitting Challenge

Knitting is a national hobby in Finland. Almost everybody knows how to knit at least wool socks. Nothing was further from me than knitting, drawing or any kind of handcrafts. But after coming to Finland I fell in love with wool socks. After a while I realized that buying them from the shop is not enough for me anymore: I want to knit them by myself! For the biggest horror of my family and my friends and even my husband, I started to learn how to knit this winter. They still haven’t recovered from the shock and I also feel a bit silly sometimes when I spend hours with checking out Youtube videos about knitting or wondering what kind of yarn I should buy next. But to my biggest surprise, I enjoy knitting, it helps me to relax and clear my mind. That’s why I decided to find and join a knitting club in Rovaniemi. I could use some practical help every now and then, and I also would like to learn special Finnish patterns and things to knit.

Knitted bookmark made by me

Knitted bookmark made by me

8. Santa Is My Neighbor!

Everybody knows that Santa Claus, who is named in Finnish Joulupukki, lives on the Arctic Circle close to Rovaniemi. If you are in Lapland, visiting Santa Claus Village is a must. Among many various tourist attractions, there’s a white painted line there marking the Arctic Circle. Crossing that line would be really symbolic for me. This is one of the most unexpected happenings in my life, that after many years longing for the Mediterranean, I ended up living in Finland and then in Lapland, close to the Arctic Circle.

One other thing is, that once we are there, I will have to say a few words to the Guy. I sent him a postcard, handwritten, in Finnish before Christmas. I still haven’t got any reply! 😉

My postcard to Joulupukki. Still waiting for his reply

My postcard to Joulupukki. Still waiting for his reply

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