Just after Easter, we went on a trip to Inari in Finland. Paul had been skiing from Alta to Karasjok during Easter (while I was at work), so on Sunday I drove to Karasjok to pick him up. Only an 8 hour drive 😉 I was very happy I’d thought of buying an audio book to listen to while driving, this made a huge difference! From Karasjok it’s a 1.5 hour drive to Inari. We found this wonderful hotel called Kultahovi where we rented a room with views over the river, and our very own sauna 🙂 wonderful! We also got half-board, so we had dinner in the hotel’s restaurant every evening. A very relaxing trip 🙂
Our first day in Inari was very sunny, and we enjoyed a leisurely ski tour along the partly frozen river. For most of the way, you could ski on the ice of the river, but sometimes the river narrowed and there were rapids, so you’d have to get on the shore to pass. It was really pretty 🙂 And one of the first creatures we met was this cute little bird that I remembered from our trip to Kiruna. It’s a white-throated dipper, and apparently Norway’s national bird – but I’ve only seen it in Sweden and Finland 😀 They can sing very prettily, a welcome sound after Tromsø where you mostly hear seagulls, crows and magpies who don’t exactly sing 😉 If you want to see some really good photos of this bird: check here and here.
We had a nice long break in the sunshine looking over the river. We met only a handful of other people all day, either skiing or ice fishing.
The river was a paradise for macro photography, I had lots of fun capturing these icicles. In the afternoon, it got more cloudy and the temperatures dropped. We headed back to the hotel – sauna time!
It cleared up again in the evening, and I was keen to try and see the aurora. Inari is at about the same latitude as Tromsø, and the days are getting very long now. At midnight, the sky had this incredible deep blue colour that silhouetted the trees on the other side of the river. Magical! And to add to the magic, even the aurora showed up 🙂 very briefly though, so unfortunately I didn’t get any good photos. Still, I love the colour of the sky in these photos.
The next day started very sunny, and we went for a ski tour on lake Inari. This is the third-largest lake in Finland, and that means it’s BIG! But first I found some small bushes with branches covered in ice crystals…
When we left, I could see a front of clouds on the horizon. Unfortunately, it moved really fast and within about an hour it had become overcast. Without the sunshine, it was quite chilly.
We didn’t stay out for very long once it got cold and cloudy, but I did take some more photos of the different shapes of ice… wonderful 🙂
The next day was our last full day in Inari, and we went for another ski trip. It was a cloudy, snowy day, and we kept getting lost in the forest (guess we are spoilt in Tromsø where you hardly ever have to use a map :D). Soon the sauna was calling 😉 We visited the museum (Siida) shop in the afternoon, though not the museum itself. I think it’s one of the best museums in the world (seriously) but we had already visited 2 years ago on our way to Murmansk. I started to regret that decision when browsing around the shop, as they had a temporary exhibition of paintings by a Swiss artist called Séverine Cuénod. I only got to see her work through the postcards they were selling (it was almost closing time), but I LOVED it. I can’t find much information about her, but here you can see a few more works. We also visited the local supermarket, where I was amazed to find that they sold rolls of film and FLOPPY DISKS. Wow – this place is frozen in time 😀
The next day it was time to leave… It’s a 650 km drive back to Tromsø, so it was great to stop in Kautokeino for a bit. I had been looking forward to visiting Juhls Silver gallery for quite some time 🙂 On our last visit (2 years ago), we were really short on time. Of course I didn’t leave empty handed 🙂 I bought some really pretty glass birds to hang in front of the window.
The rest of the drive home was long but uneventful. As real Norwegians, we made sure to stock up on wine in Finland 🙂 Finland is a lot cheaper than Norway. It was a great little trip, and we’re thinking of coming back to Inari in summer to explore the lake by boat 🙂