I spent a whirlwind few days up in Inari in Lapland, to finish this part of my Finland adventures.
Inari is about 300 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, in the land of the ‘midnight sun’.
I caught the night train most of the way up, and it got to the point where you can just see a glimmer of pink in an otherwise quite dark sky. And then it stayed like that for awhile, before getting light again very quickly.
Last time I was in Lapland it was all snow and a dark sky. On this bus trip, whenever I looked out of the window, I could see a calm, still lake, or a little fast-flowing river, surrounded by green trees.
I stayed in the same place as mentioned previously (see ‘retrospective: stories from kamisak and inari’), a bed and breakfast (and so much more) called Villa Lanca. I was being a good ‘woohoo-traveler’, getting excited about everything and being (mostly) cheerful despite the weather being fairly miserable.
There are four horses now at Villa Lanca – apparently they are Norwegian fjording horses, not ponies. They are very strong, and liable to let you know very clearly when you haven’t fed them recently enough. I have the bite marks. One of them, Lilli, is new and being picked on by the other ones. So I walked her around the house where I am staying, so she could have unimpeded access to fresh grass, and mow the lawn. In an excellent display of city-kidness, I happily followed this horse around for two hours making sure she didn’t eat the flowers, enjoying the novelty value of looking after a horse.
Here in Inari, it just doesn’t get dark. I watched the sun hang out low against the hills around midnight, but then it just didn’t get any lower.
I could easily see the pretty views of lake and hills.
I went back to SIIDA, one of the best museums I have ever been to, to see the outdoor exhibition and the new exhibitions, all of which were excellent. There was some absolutely breathtaking photographs of birds in winter, and the outdoor exhibiton showed buildings from early Sámi settlement.
Most of Saturday was stormy, windy, thundery and grey, but still light! The whole time. I slept for about two hours, I think because my body was thoroughly confused. Sunday morning I went down to look at the lake, and appreciate the fact that I seemed to be the only person looking at this particular bit of it. Because that is what you are supposed to do in summer, I have been told. Lake Inari is apparently big enough that every person in Finland could stand on it (in winter, I suggest) and have their own square metre.
Then, because apparently it is what I do, I went ‘swimming’ in the lake. Nude, because I had forgotten to take swimmers. But I appeared to have been the only person there, and didn’t stay in for very long. It was COLD! But now I have swum somewhere new.
After a yummy breakfast I went horseriding with a guide up one of the closer hills, through sparse pine / birch forest to see pretty views. It was indeed pretty, and my horse Norge, was kind of hilarious. She clearly knew she was dealing with an amateur, and by the time we got back down the hill, she had managed to completely remove her bridle. It was fine though, I just directed her with my legs, and we seemed to come to some sort of agreement, whereby she would run for fifteen metres, stop to eat grass, and then repeat, heading vaguely in the direction I wanted her to. Given that this was the first fresh grass since last summer, I couldn’t really blame her.
Then there was cheesecake, buying things at the artist shop, and hitching a lift back to Rovaniemi with the owner’s cousin.
In Rovaniemi, I lay in the grass in the sun and dozed until my train arrived, and I slept all the way to Helsinki.
Now, my first Finnish adventure is over. Next is Tallinn, Germany, Czech and Slovakia.
~ precis of