Looking for a brief Rovaniemi city guide? Look no more – here’s my tips on where to sleep, eat, drink and what to do in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland. Better visuals and downloadable version coming soon – but here’s something to start with, right before winter holiday’s, or as we in Finland say – ski holiday season.
It was Arctic, Finland November 2016. Snowstorms in Helsinki, below -10°C degrees in Lapland, trains and planes delayed because the cold and snow, and for whatever reasons. And I was delayed from everywhere too, because the phone decided to freeze and because the sparsely build Finnish cities managed to surprise me, after months abroad in these cozily arranged Swiss towns.
ONE EVENING IN HELSINKI, FINLAND
But despite the cold Finland was nice. Most of the time. Seeing dearest friends is always nice. And Lapland is always nice, and Swedish Lapland was the nicest and the most tempting destination showing off in Skiexpo (yes, Swedes have eye for detail and style). And the Skiexpo sidekick party for Freeskiers, Vapaalaskuiltamat at Vanha, was also nice, but this time the hotel bed* and especially solitude, after 5 months in shared dorm-like flat, was more tempting than the party and films for more than short stop. Sorry friends, I can see them later online I hope. And hopefully see you all f2f in the Swiss slopes this winter; welcome to Jungfrau Region, I’m waiting!
TWO DAYS IN LAPLAND
And then there was the Lapland in details. Santa Claus Village, of course, as it happens to be so cozily on my way always. There was Arctic Light hotel, pampering with the in-room Sauna, polar bears and the famous, best ever breakfast! Highly recommended. And there was couple of drinks and beer tasting at friend’s place (greetings to Haarige Kuh Brauerei, you got very good reviews!) too.
And then there was more Sauna at the original home, packing and frozen surroundings (and one broken red wine bottle in the checked in carry-on, damn.. (Goodbye that carry on and nice paper wrappers for swiss chocolate). And a last dinner at Roka, and way too early wake up call for the flight back.
LOOKING FOR AN ASSISTANT
After all this I have to confess that at some point during all that traveling, including the last day with wake up call at 4 am, 12h traveling in 2 flights and 2 trains, with 4 bags and couple of kilos too much, I decided this was the last time I took care of everything by myself. For the next time I’ll hire a personal assistant. Or find a husband, as that would suit better my poor budget… Or something. Too many bruises and aching muscles to count now, no matter how proud of myself I am after surviving the challenge in one piece and with all the bags (except the one^ destroyed by that bottle of wine).
And in the end I would like to say, if this isn’t already clear enough: Go to Finland, and especially Lapland! It’s always worth it, and it kinda needs it. These days you can even take direct Germania flight from Zurich to Rovaniemi, if you’re from Switzerland or close.
Or the other way round, dear Lapland people. Your host is waiting for the first guests! The cute little villages are dressing up with fairy lights and snow. Can’t get more idyllic for the end of the year. Both in Lapland and in Switzerland.
Lappi on aina hyvä idea. Ja Sveitsi myös.
*Ps. I have to ask, Clarion Hotel Helsinki Airport, where was the real butter and fatty milk for coffee in breakfast? ? Non fat is so last season, didn’t you know?
Last week, on a crispy morning when the nearby mountaintops shined brightly with the season’s first layer of virgin snow, I picked up Skiexpo tickets from my mailbox and noticed how the everyday going got bit lighter again. North Country Finland, and especially Lapland, your girl is coming home! And to a which place; third best country to visit in 2017. So if you like, I may test some places for your 2017 visit, as I’m going there already in 2016, more precisely next week.
Like a real tourist, I am going to experience stopover* in Helsinki and visit birefly Skiexpo, for which I guess I should make a list on what kind of gear and resort news I’m especially interested in, as I will use this one as a rehearsal for the big plan: my first ISPO visit in 2017 (that’s one of my “best in 2017”). There I’ll also meet fellow swissfinnish and Austrian freeskier friends, funnily enough, and drink one or two drinks in Bronda in good non-skier company. I’ll also test the newest Airport Hotel in town (gone are the days when I slept in airports – for good, hopefully) before catching the connecting flight to the original home the next morning.
Beloved Lapland, I’ll always miss you (and carry part of you with me, wherever I go). Luckily it’s not long anymore till we meet again. This time I’ll come to you to do compulsory “emigrant” activities as renew my passport, which hopefully works out, no matter how hard in 2016 it seems for Finland to offer easy passport renewal process, especially for us emigrants, pfff. Moreover I’ll pack more stuff to bring carry to Switzerland (skis!), and test finally the Arctic Light Hotel, and enjoy sauna, silence and hygge. Maybe one day I go back for good. Not yet, but maybe someday. And until that and after my stopover trip, I think I’ll have to try the direct flights from abroad to Lapland, and vice versa (check Norwegian and Germania, if you too are interested).
Because no matter how cool and must see place Finland is in 2017, Lapland is still the best. Just look at these Absinthe coloured Northern Lights. No wonder the absinthe shop next door here in Switzerland makes me feel so home…
*We (emigrant) Lappish’ must have been Finnair’s most loyal stopover customers long before Asians and I wonder why they haven’t thought about creating tempting packages for us too…
Luvassa kunnon turistina stopover Helsingissä, Bronda ja Skiexpo (ajattelin ottaa tämän pikaisen vierailun harjoituksena ensi vuotta ja elämäni ensimmäistä ISPO -vierailua varten) ja etelän tutut, kylän uusimman airport hotellin testaus (toivottavasti ei koskaan enää erityisen villistä nuoruudesta tuttua lentokentällä nukkumista). Pääkaupungin jälkeen Rovaniemi, Arctic Light Hotel, koti® ja tietysti sauna joka ilta. Pakollisiin menoihin kuuluu myös passin uusiminen ja muuttokuorman täydennys (suksilla), ja mahdollisimman monen rakkaan halaaminen. Ja kaikki tämä vain muutamassa päivässä, sisältäen junat Geneveen ja takaisin sekä lennot Genevestä ja takaisin. Kuten eräänä iltana toisen kahden maan välissä asuvan kanssa juttelimme, useimmiten ne kotimatkat ovat aikamoisia työmatkoja. Mukavia, mutta tavallaan todella raskaita.
Ei sillä että nykyarki olisi paljon kevyempää. 9h työpäivät, vähenevä valo ja hieman asia kuin asia on saanut olon aika väsyneeksi viime aikoina. Mutta kuten sanonta menee, Siperia opettaa ja kaiken raskauden keskellä olen onnellinen että selviän kuitenkin kaikesta hengissä, ja onhan tämä kaikki hyvin opettavaista ja kasvattavaa. Ja tämä paikka, nämä vuoret ja nämä ihmiset! Ne auttavat muistamaan kaiken keskellä kuinka hyvä on olla ihan vain elossa ja näissä maisemissa. Ja niin, kohta pääsee myös sinne pohjoiseenkin hengittämään vähän kevyempää ilmaa (ei se kyllä kovin raskasta ole täällä vuorillakaan).
Pidemmittä puheitta, tulkaa tervehtimään jos satutte samoille expoille tai Lapin kuppiloihin. Jakelen parhaita sveitsivinkkejäni ilmaiseksi, kun vain kauniisti pyydetään. Ja miksei Lappikin.