Nature 自然 Travel 旅行

Happy New Year!

I I haven’t taken a long-distance flight for a whole year. To fill my hunger I think often now the trips I made before Covid-19. One of the unforgettable New Year’s trip was four years ago. We went to Lapland, Finland’s nearest to the polar regions. In winter, the sun does not rise (polar night); in summer, the sun does not set (polar day). This area is also known as the last wilderness in Europe, and nature is protected. The scenic area is characterized by mountains, dense forests, plains and many lakes.We were arrived on New Year’s Eve. We went out for a walk. As soon as I turned my head, I saw an aurora coming up. Without wind but as if being blown by the wind, swaying gracefully. More than two hours is like watching a fireworks show. This was a good sign to say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new year.

December 31, 2016
In the last few hours of 2016, we arrived at the destination Akaslompolo, in the national forest park. The lovely forest wooden cottage has two floors. The floor heating is at a temperature of 23 degrees. When you enter the front door, you will first see a huge cabinet door. When you open it, it is a dryer. The top is hanging hats and scarves, and the bottom is hanging coats and ski pants. There is also a machine for drying the snow boots. We suddenly understood why the tour guide told us to reserve more than 15 minutes of dressing time before going out. I went out for a walk after nine o’clock. As soon as I turned my head, I saw an aurora coming up suddenly. Without wind but as if being blown by the wind, swaying gracefully. More than two hours is like watching a fireworks show. This is a good day to say goodbye to the old and welcome the new. Ending 2016 in luck, looking forward to every day of 2017.

January 1, 2017
It snowed quietly on the first day of the new year. I tried to step into the snow in the backyard. The snow was deep to my thighs. There are only a few hours of daylight here. Now is noon time. It will be dark in less than two hours. This is not a famous food destination. We found the best rated restaurants nearby, and the ingredients are all local. The food guide says that the local taste is salty. So we emphasise less salt when we ordering. We ordered elk pasta (still a bit salty), local fish, smoked salmon vegetable salad and a small pizza with bear meat (very brave). The dessert is cinnamon baked apples and ice cream. The wooden restaurant has local characteristics. The candle decoration is simple but very atmospheric. In such a warm environment, I temporarily forgot about thirty degrees below zero outside.

January 2, 2017
We seized the short daylight and walked around. When we came back, we had a cup of hot chocolate. The travel agency had provided us with a full set of equipment. Let‘s try snow hiking!

January 3, 2017
Two and an half hours of snow walking in the National Forest Park is a personal effort. With 12 teammates and two guides, my daughter is the only one under the age of 14. This seven-year-old girl deserves praise. The guide doesn’t need to turn on the lights, the snow reflects, and the road ahead is clear. This way, you can watch the starry sky more clearly. The snow on the road is about half a meter to one meter deep. In some places it is even deeper and it is difficult to move without a snowboard. When we arrived at the rest station, the tour guide set up a campfire, boiled a pot of hot cranberry juice. We listened to the fire fox’s aurora legend with ginger cookies. It was really beautiful!

January 4, 2017
Today’s three-hour snowmobile Safari, beautiful. Before departure, everyone has special equipment: suits, boots, gloves, masks, helmets. All services are in order. A few children are sitting in a big sleigh, pulled by a guide. Followed by our own snowmobile.Driving this vehicle requires a driver’s license, which is much simpler than driving an automatic car. Right hand throttle, left hand brake. There are automatic heaters on the hands and feet. The chassis of the car is very stable. And the driving is much easier than looking at it. Our entire trip traversed the forest at a speed of 20-30 kilometers per hour. We were stopping once to take pictures and a bonfire to warm up. Although the return journey was only three o’clock in the afternoon, it was already dark. It is a perfect day!

January 5, 2017
Today minus 31 degrees, taking advantage of two hours of daylight, walking around in the nearby forest. Here the sun goes back before the horizon. Returning with frosty eyes, warming up in the sauna, a cup of hot cocoa, a freshly baked croissant, perfect. The outdoor temperature at night is minus 38 degrees. I put a banana into a popsicle. I sprinkled a pot of boiling water. The water become snow before it hits the ground. It’s the first time in my life to experience this cold. But the sky full of stars and the creeping aurora make you forget this terrifying temperature.

January 6, 2017
Fortunately, the second wave of aurora struck. It was very active for an hour and an half from 23:00 to 0:30. I don’t feel cold when I wear warm clothes. The only thing I have to do is to take off my gloves when I press the camera shutter. The camera was hung around my neck and placed in my jacket. I keep the camera warm with my body temperature. After take each picture I put it back quickly. Although I brought four batteries with me, the camera quickly went on strike. How many people run all the way to the right place but can’t see the aurora. We have seen few times during past few days. How luck we are! This holiday is worthwhile!

January 7, 2017
Today’s experience is unforgettable. 18 km Husky Safari in National Forest Park. Before we set off, we were again fully armed. In addition to putting on our own outfits, we had to put on snow suits. Today, we also specially put warm bags on the soles of our feet. Then put on a pair of wool socks and warmer snow boots. We looked like the fat globose bears. My daughter was the only child to participate. She was sitting in the guide’s sleigh. Fearing that she would be cold, the guide wore two more scarves and two more animal skins. We took turns driving the sledge in pairs. Six dogs were high-energy chasing the sled ahead. The scenery along the way is so beautiful. This journey is even better than the Snow Motor Safari. It is more integrated with the surrounding scenery. This activity takes nearly six hours. Finns do not rush for everything. And they take care of all the details for everyone. Beautiful scenery and friendly people. Once again, I realised the meaning of perfection.

This Lapland Arctic New Year’s Eve tour is coming to an end. Whether it is viewing the aurora or various forest tours, it will catch up with the best weather. Everything is so lucky, no regrets, great!
The last day in the Arctic Circle coincided with a friend’s birthday, and gave a huge lemon cheese cake to a distant friend. We tried to “dabble” on the edge of this big cake, but it disappeared in the waist-high white “sugar”. How thick this cake is, please enjoy it slowly.

Now is 0:00 1 January 2021. The fireworks ban seems to have little effect. Looking around, people still can’t help their desire to light fireworks. It seems that everyone still thinks that shortly happiness is the most important. Enjoy the moment! Happy New Year!