NWR Newsletter 2017 V5_Newsletter 16OCT17 - Page 32

After experimenting with knobs and dials we successfully enjoyed a sauna which was attached to our private bathroom. Bliss! Then it was off again into the night sky to search for the northern lights, without success, again. The next day we enjoyed another snowmobile safari through the forest across lakes and rivers to the Russian border to a lovely snowbound village where we enjoyed steaming hot vegetable soup and chocolate crepes for lunch, taking a different trail back to our hotel. Another inspiring day in the arctic-circle! Then it was off to our next hotel, where we stayed in a glass igloo complete with a bed which could be adjusted to view the northern lights through the glass ceiling. But again it was all cloudy!! Rovaniemi, our next town to explore had many modern buildings. Then onto Santa’s village where we had a nice chat with Santa after negotiating long corridors with all sorts of imaginative time pieces which explained just how Santa delivers the gifts overnight. Next we drove to Kimi on the coast where we boarded an old ice breaker ship to further explore the coastline. The massive plates of ice are between 50-70cm thick and we just seemed to glide through as the ice cracked and slid aside – amazing! We saw a seal relaxing on an ice flow and then it was time to dress in an enormous red wet suit and stumble down the gangplank before sliding into the icy arctic ocean. Surprisingly, it wasn’t cold, as we floated and paddled around before trying to get out. We had to roll like a fat walrus back onto the ice flow and then try and stand up. All very challenging! The whole experience was great fun. From Rovaniemi it was on to Munio with locals before arriving at Harriniva for the next stage of our adventure. We explored the surrounding cabins , the tiny village and the frozen river all white with deep snow and icy paths and watched snowmobiles zoom by and then the silent dog sledders swish past the across the river into Sweden and watched as the centre of the river’s currents begin the swirl as the ice and snow began to melt. A wonderful, magical land! Next day our guide, Dirk, took us snowshoeing through a winter wonderland of trees bowing down with snow and dripping icicles festooning every branch. We plodded behind Dirk over very deep sticky snow, which was quite difficult but beautiful as huge snowflakes drifted all around us. We clambered over tree trunks buried in the snow over little bridges piled high with snow, and happily trudged after Dirk overawed by the experience, until I fell into a huge hole, up to my waist. A huge snowdrift had just given way underneath me. It was extremely difficult to extricate myself amid all the laughter and help offered by Dirk and Joan. Finally we resumed our trekking over more snow covered logs under drooping branches before heading back to the hotel for a hot bowl of delicious soup, cold but elated. Again we searched the cloudy night sky for the northern lights – to no avail. Next day we dressed in our one piece padded suit complete with balaclava, helmet, woollen socks and huge boots to hop on a snowmobile and follow our guide, Dirk, this time over hills through forests along frozen rivers and across frozen lakes. It was challenging to hang on, control the speed and direction as we bounced, bucked glided zoomed and zigzagged all over the country side. It was just exciting and exhilarating all at once. We watched a pair of beautiful white singing swans beside a hole in the ice and then frightened by our noise, they gracefully flew away together. We visited a local riverside cottage for a delicious lunch before repeating the process again heading back to our hotel. As we arrived back to our