Marketing and Travel Freelance, Mary Finucane shares her diary of her adventures in Lapland..
Day 5 – I have always wanted to try dog sledding. I think it must be one of the few ways to experience true wilderness. You are using a natural way of transport. You are in the middle of nowhere, completely reliant on the dogs (and in our case the driver as well) and you have simply no noise – well apart from the occasional barking of the dogs. You are totally at one with nature. We take our places on the sled. There are 6 of us. That is a lot of weight to pull as my mother points out looking dismissively at me. The dogs, a mix of Siberian and Alaskan huskies, are all leaping around, thrilled and eagerly panting. They are literally chomping at the bit to move. Then, we are off, snow-crunching, dogs-yelping, Aaron-shouting! The pack of 12 dogs know exactly what they are doing and the route we are following. I feel we are in a scene of Doctor Zhivago. We do a full circuit of a frozen lake. . It’s an amazing sensation, almost primal. It feels short but I guess we had a 15 minute ride. Beats Disney hands down any day. Afterwards we have an opportunity to see some puppies. Aaron is delighted. They are just big balls of fluff and it is complete love at first cuddle. Another great reason to come back.
Day 6 - I am not feeling so brave today and I have put my hand up for a moonlit snowmobiling excursion. My mother has kindly volunteered to look after Aaron so no excuse. After a brisk operation and safety lecture, we are straight off. I see my friendly family group in front. The 11 year old smiles kindly at me. I wonder does he sense my desperation? I hoped for a more hand-holding approach from the instructor but it is not to be. ‘C’mon Mary man up’ I counsel myself. Well it was hard and at times a frantic pursuit of a guide bent on putting as much frozen blackness between me and him but I learned quickly and after a while I began to enjoy the compelling silence, the swish of the ice, the here and there hollers of the other riders and peace and tranquillity. Having bravely gone where I have not gone before, I wonder if I can get my husband to try this. Hmmmm maybe next time.
Day 7 – I begin to think of the postcards I haven’t written and the gifts I have not bought. There is a slight sense of panic beginning to close in on me so I hit the slopes very quickly and then join my mother and son on a very last jaunt of Levi’s charming and rustic village. We buy lanterns, candles and keepsakes. No reindeer rugs for us though. Later, we wish goodbye and good luck to our wonderful chalet hosts and to our equally wonderful chalet companions and make a heartfelt wish to return once again.
As I sit on the coach back to the airport , my mind is warmed by good memories. For sure, Levi, with its charter flights from the UK is a very easy alternative to the Alps. True, the mountains are not very high but it has a northern location which almost gives you a snow- sure guarantee right down to the bottom. It can be cold and dark but the slopes are mostly illuminated and come mid January you can ski without floodlights until mid afternoon. And if you are a boarder, you are in heaven with the terrain parks here. The locals are friendly, inviting and charming and we felt very welcomed. We loved all the extra activities we could experience.
We were in Lapland 7 days and I have 7 good reasons to come back. I think that is enough to revisit don’t you?