Finland – A True Winter Paradise

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Every time I set out and come back from another journey I feel like a much wiser man. Enriched by the world. Being taught something you just can’t learn behind school walls.

Life itself.

Each time I go out to travel I feel mesmerized by this world all over again. I feel so many times that people lose their connection to the world, which causes them unhappiness. 

We lock ourselves too many times away from the real world, behind our computer, TV,.. we lock ourselves away from reality. 

Step outside! 

Connect yourself with the world around you. Watch the clouds move in the sky, discover the beauty this world is holding, open up your eyes to it. 

It’s a real world we live in and we are all part of it. It’s not hidden it’s out there for everyone, you just need to open up your eyes to see it.

The more I look around and look at people who aren’t doing what they want, the more I feel like going after my dreams. 

Everyone struggles with problems in their life, including myself. It’s a funny thought actually, to know that every single person you see on the street has a problem in their life, concerns, doubts, dreams,..

“You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.”

Words can’t be truer than the ones spoken by this man. And I feel very strongly about this too. 

We all should do what makes us happy, but you will have to do something to achieve it. 

This trip was intended solely for the purpose of having fun, getting into another adventure, but the priority was following my dream; being more serious in becoming a photographer.

For people who would be interested in going on a winter safari too I wrote a bit more about how my program looked like in Finland :).

Harriniva best in wilderness

I can definitely recommended Harriniva, and many people on trip advisor agree, with a well-deserved rating of 4.5 stars. There are many different programs available, so check it out as there is something for everyone!

My winter safari in Finland.

After 6 hours of flying I finally landed in Kittilä, located in the North of Finland. Another hour of driving with the bus brought me to the beginning of my new adventure. My winter safari in lapland was about to start. 

Experiencing hunger the entire day (they gave me no food on the airplane!) I was delighted when finally served warm food with the rest of the group. We were a pretty small group of 5 people including myself. 

None the less, they were all very nice people. A neat lad from Germany, a girl from Australia (20 years since the last time she had seen snow!) and a pleasant couple from Switzerland.

Our first day started on a good note with a trip with a snowmobile. Driving with a speed of about 140 km through those big frozen lakes felt pretty amazing! 

Around noon we stopped and had our lunch break in a small but very cozy hut, where we ate some hamburgers Lapland-style.

It’s a lot of fun to drive through the forests with a snowmobile, the rough terrain making quite a challenge. We returned to the hotel around 19:00 and had dinner. 

Afterwards we were free to do whatever we wanted. For me it simply meant more time for exploring! So I headed outside into the cold but beautiful night.

Next day we visited the reindeer farm, where we got to ride with the reindeers. Maybe not the most active of days. 

But it was definitely beautiful travelling on the lakes at a much slower pace (raindeer are not as heavy as a snowmobile:)). At one point we made the reindeers run, which was pretty amazing. They can run faster than a horse!

Remarkable animals with such a calm yet majestic appearance. I even got my driving license for riding a reindeer! Yes, it’s very hard to earn! (kidding).

Then came the day we all were looking forward to. Our two- day journey with huskies! After getting our instructions on how to drive a sled we were assigned to our team. 

Each of us got a team of 4 huskies. Sydney, Gandalf, Frodo, Aragorn,Frosty,.. (yeah, I know..) pretty original names they all had. 

The most important thing was controlling the speed of the sled and the dogs. After packing and setting everything up we were ready to start our journey.

It felt truly like something out of a fairy tale going through those snow covered landscapes, they were remarkably beautiful. 

Once the night fell, we arrived at the hut where we stopped to camp. After lining up the dogs on the chain, we brought them a well-deserved meal and some hay to sleep on. It’s incredible that they can sleep in such cold temperatures outside. 

When I was there it was -15 reaching -20, but they are used to sleep in colds up to -40 or more. 

The day progressed as we prepared and enjoyed a nice dinner. After dinner everyone went off to bed while I ventured outside for a nice evening walk.

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The next morning we started off by first feeding the dogs and then having breakfast ourselves. 

Once we were done we packed everything, headed out and started preparing the sleds to continue the journey. 

It was very weird that there was so little light in that time of the day, It was getting light around 10:00 am and getting dark at 16:00. 

It always felt later than it actually was. We returned back from our two-day trip around 18:00. It was over too fast, like everything fun always is. We unpacked everything, released the dogs and said goodbye to them. I gave all of them a big hug and a high five and received a few licks in return.

The last day was our free day, were we could choose from a list of things to do. Ice fishing, skiing, hiking, sled driving, snowmobile riding,.. like I said before – I definitely enjoyed the snowmobile, so I simply choose another trip on it :). 

My last day I spent alone by the lakes, taking photos. I left at 09:00 to get there before the sunrise, which started around 10:30. Once the sun was all up I headed back to the hotel to get some lunch. 

Then I went back outside to be at the lakes in time for the beautiful sunset. An hour after I left the sun started setting down! And I wasn’t there! As fast as I could I started running through the forest, sprinting towards the lakes. 

All my photographic gear and the thick snow made it quite challenging, but I made it in time for the show and was able to take enough photos before the sun disappeared behind the horizon.

It was a magnificent sunset on my last day in Finland. It felt amazing to stand there on this frozen lake with no one around and witness such a remarkable natural phenomenon. It’s moments like these that I remember why I’m alive. 

A moment that I’ll cherish forever. The whole week was pretty gloomy and cloudy but the last day the sky was filled with colors. It was truly the perfect end to my journey in Finland.

On my way back to the hotel I got a bit.. lost. Luckily I ran into a very friendly snowman who happened to cross my way. He showed me the right direction back to the hotel.

Of course I had to take a picture together with him (it’s very rare to see a wild snowman). After I did, I shook his hand, thanked him and before I knew it – he was gone, blended away in the snowy landscape.

Back at the hotel I had to start packing. I said goodbye to my group and left with a happy face for the airport to take the return plane.

I had an amazing time in Finland and I could definitely see myself going back to Lapland to explore this beautiful country some more.

If you’re up for doing something different and more adventurous – going on a winter safari would be definitely something worth checking out, it’s an experience you won’t forget for sure!