A strong warm wind messing up my hair. The bright sun which makes all the blonde hair and blue eyes around me shine like the finest of silk and the most exotic of jewels. Street covered with umbrellas and people of all ages dancing salsa on a roof terrace. The bars serving their own signature Negronis.
Where am I?
Late last night, sitting in a new restaurant in Rovaniemi, in the Arctic Circle, far up north, I couldn’t help thinking that although small, the scenes of the evening could have happened in any modern city in the world. Or well, in the hipster quarters. We could have been in Stockholm, Copenhagen, Bilbao, even Zürich. At least until the night came and the sun didn’t show any signs of going down. The signature of Lapland.
I landed here on Wednesday and so far it’s been a perfect summer getaway, despite few confusions. I’ve gotten into sauna – taking care of my wellness – and running in the trails of Ounasvaara. And I’ve had a lovely adult evening, first having drinks at the roof terrace Mökki, of Hostel Café Koti (which is definitely not the kind of hostel you’re used to) and continuing the evening to the recently opened Roka Wine & Kitchen, the second establishment of the par behind another Rovaniemi favorite of mine, Roka Street Bistro.
While Mökki is the best terrace in town, with dance lessons, palju and sauna option (though just today a rival will be opened by the guys behind Café Bar 21 and Yuca, other favourites of mine) Roka Wine & Kitchen made the best first impression I’ve ever had with a restaurant/wine bar. Excellent wine selection and service (don’t ask for wine list, ask for staff which acts as the walking and talking winelist), stylish decoration (check especially the tableware and the counter covered with white tiles) and simple yet delicious menu, comprised mostly of local ingredients.
These made a perfect day already, but for my two week’s Lapland trip I have also on my list the gelateria of Cafe Bar 21 – the closest establishment of which I have very conveniently close my northern home – an activity day at Kesärafla, pizza’s at Pure Pizza, drinks and maybe a breakfast in Arctic Light Hotel, the current exhibitions at Korundi, and a trip or two further up north, to the national parks and my family.
I’ve pinned all my Rovaniemi tips in the map, link to which below the pics, and will be updating all my Lapland tips during these weeks, so stay tuned for more Lapland adventures and tips, which I hope will be helpful if and when you will pay for this awesome place and the midnight sun (fyi, this year the nightless nights season in Rovaniemi is from June 6th to July 7th) a visit some day.
Until that, adventure, eat and drink well.
Where: Rovaniemi, guide
Roka Kitchen & Winebar Koskikatu 8
Mökki, Valtakatu 21