Fantastic Finland

Tuesday 18 September. Under a cloudless sky I drove to the Artic Circle at Rovaniemi. The speed limit was pegged at 50mph. Yesterday, I wrote explaining how long journeys through Sweden were made longer by a general speed limit of 62mph. You may imagine that 50 would have been frustrating, particularly as the road was excellent, but it was a glorious day, a new country and the beautiful scenery passing the windscreen made me very happy to sit back and drink it all in.

Autumn colours were setting in along the tree lined road, through which mirrored dark blue lakes would occasionally reveal themselves. I kept thinking, “I’m in f’in Finland”, and grinning. Sorry to everyone at home who’d like to be here, but it was that good.

The Arctic Circle runs a couple of miles north of Rovaniemi. It not only marks the start of the Arctic, but the beginning of the Santa industry. One business nabbed the land beside the main road which stands on 66° 32′ 35″ and has built a holiday village and a mall, all Santa.

They let motorhomes park overnight so that’s where I am. The shopping experience is as you’d expect. I had hoped to pick up a few things distinctive to the area, but it’s the same tat you’d find anywhere. I may have another look tomorrow.

I picked up a brochure from the tourist centre and read about Arktikum, a science centre and museum in Rovaniemi, so headed there. Set in a beautiful building

it tells of the ecology, the people and the history of the Arctic and Lapland.

It was nicely done, and there was a lovely walk in the grounds.

That’s the Arctic up there.

The same tourist brochure had an article about a local entrepreneur, Tea Latvala, who runs Teatiamo.

Can’t imagine a similar article in a UK tourist brochure. And, no; use the link above! 😉

The sun has set and the sky is still cloudless; it’s going to be a cold night, down to 4° forecast, 10° colder than Greater Manchester. I can feel the warmth dissipating through the walls of the van.

Last week I was still sleeping under a 1 tog duvet, but swapped up to a 4 tog as I was starting to feel a chill. Two nights ago the temperature dropped to 4°, causing me to throw my 10 tog on top, and last night I had clipped them together into the duvet cover. I was worried about being too hot but it was just right. I reckon I’ve a couple of weeks north of the Arctic Circle so let’s hope 14 tog is enough. I do have a thin sleeping bag if necessary.

The clear skies are good for aurora spotting. I’ll be keeping an eye on this aurora checker for opportunities to see some action.

I’m not far enough north at the moment, but fingers crossed I’m underneath it in the next fortnight.

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