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Lofoten in January: The Land of Two-Hour Sunrises

When I visited Reine and Svolvær in Norway’s Lofoten Islands back in 2013, I knew that the three days I had allotted weren’t anywhere near enough to do the place justice. I wasn’t sure when I’d ever get back — given the remoteness of Norway in relation to my home base of Australia — but…

Enjoying the Moment at the Arctic Snow Hotel

After having spent four of the previous five nights standing outside in seriously cold temperatures until well past midnight, it wouldn’t have been surprising if I couldn’t muster up much excitement about yet another cold night. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. Yes, I was tired, but the adrenalin had kept me going…

Cross-Country Skiing…Without Falling Over!

I’m just a little bit clumsy. I’ve fallen into a parked car, giving myself a concussion in the process. I’ve dislocated my toe on the Tongariro Crossing, having to hobble the final 2km so I could catch my bus. Last year, I planned to try cross-country skiing, only to break my leg before I got…

Being a Big Kid at Santa Claus Village

Sometimes I feel like my entire trip to Lapland was simply an excuse to indulge my inner child for a month. After all, I spent the entire time playing in heaping piles of snow, trying to make up for the fact that the first time I saw any snow stick to the ground was just…

What in the World is Fatbiking?

When I was told that I had been booked onto a fatbiking tour around Rovaniemi, my first reaction was, “What in the world is fatbiking?” It turns out that it’s a whole new sport that I’ve never heard of. My ignorance is not all that surprising, since fatbiking is based around the idea of riding…

Officially Licensed to Drive a Reindeer Sled

In the 1960s, a massive change swept across Finland. The Americans had finally perfected their design of a vehicle for recreational use on the snow — the snowmobile. While it has always been seen as a fun toy — sort of like a jet ski — in North America, the Ski-Doo imported by a schoolteacher…

Ice Karting: Channeling My Inner Yoshi

MarioKart is one of my favourite games ever. Since it originally came out on the SNES, I’ve loved zooming around the tracks (always as Yoshi), tossing turtle shells at people and avoiding the inevitable strings of bananas piled all over the track. Don’t tell Finland, but I’d rather play MarioKart than Angry Birds if given…

Dozing Off Under the Northern Lights…What Could Be Better?

Watching the northern lights is an experience that is truly beyond words. There’s not really a way to describe the feeling of staring up at the sky as it explodes into colour, at first cloudlike and faintly white before it slowly morphs into green (and sometimes pink, purple, and gold) streaks across the sky. There…

Dashing Through the Snow…On a Saddled Finnish Horse

What comes to mind when you think of animals in Lapland? Reindeer? Huskies? Polar bears (and no, they don’t actually live there)? One animal I certainly wouldn’t have thought of before I went to Finnish Lapland was the horse. Like the cows that didn’t last very long in Honningsvåg, I thought horses wouldn’t survive in…

Learning How to Cook Lappish Delicacies

By no stretch of the imagination am I a cook. I have gotten a bit better about branching out from the basics and trying to add a bit of creativity into my cooking, but I always have that nagging feeling of “what if I try to feed something awful to the person I’m cooking for?”…
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