Kuusamo – Finland

This is my fourth and final post about my Lapland trip, I swear. There has just been so much to say about the trip that I didn’t feel like it was fair to jam it all into one post. 

Reindeer 

As I’ve mentioned, Reindeer are a common sighting in Finland, and thus there are a  bunch of Finnish people who had the great idea to start ‘Reindeer farms’. We got the opportunity to visit one of these farms and go on a sleigh ride ourselves. Talk about jingle bells!

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Hiking in Oolanka National Park

I have always been a fan of hiking, from short day hikes to hikes that spand over an entire week. Besides my one run in with a snow storm during a backpacking trip back in ’04, I had never hiked in the snow before, or extreme temperatures. Well I can off certainly cross that off my bucket list now, because apparently hiking when it’s -27°C outside is do-able, and well the perfect Finnish after-noon activity.

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We got to take a hike through the beautiful National Park. The landscape was beyond beautiful and the experience was nothing short of magical. The cold of course was beyond explicable, but nothing a camp-fire couldn’t (partially) cure.

The ESN team had prepared 2 campfires mid-way through the hike, so we could warm up sausages, defrost our sandwiches and roast marshmallows (thank you Aliis for this added plus!!). However, despite there being actual fire to warm up by, a handful of us coudln’t seem to defrost our fingers without sticking them directly in the fire. Therefore we made our way back to the bus as fast as humanily possible. Overall, the hike was a real treat, and something I would definitely repeat, only this time maybe in July.

We’re all a little crazy sometimes

Finland wouldn’t be Finland without the Saunas. I’m sure that the Finnish probably see going to the Sauna as a right, not to mention that most of them actually have Saunas in their homes. That being said, what would a trip to Lapland be without a trip to the Sauna?

On our last evening there we got treated to a Finnish sauna. I’ll write more about the cuture of Sauna’s in another post, but I’ll just say that the idea of doing a Sauna includes heating up until your body can’t take it anymore, then jumping into cold water (or a cold shower). In northern Finland they take this to the next level, and well jumping into cold water means jumping into a frozen lake. That’s exactly what we did.

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The evening went a bit like this: Sauna – Roll around in snow – Sauna – Jump into frozen lake – Saune Jump into frozen lake – Sauna – Jump into frozen lake – Sauna – Roll around in snow. Did I mention that it was -19°C this particular evening? Being outside in a bikini in these temperatures isn’t necessarily an everyday thing, nor is rolling around half naked in the snow or jumping into a hole in a frozen over lake (there was a good 4 cm of ice). However, the trip woudln’t have been complete without it!!

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Here is proof that I was actually in the lake. My face probabaly says it all.

This Lapland trip was by far one of the best trips of my life. We certainly all made memories that will stay with us forever. The group of people I went with was better than I could have asked for, and I got to go with my two roommates who have become my best friends here in Tallinn. We laughed, we complained about the cold, we ate way too much food and overall just had an amazing time. I want to thank ESN Tallinn for making this possible for not only us, but all of the Erasmus students. Thank you!!

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