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 beautiful room! With our very own sauna :) The view from our room towards the river

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.

The ski/scooter track along the river A white-throated dipper - cute little bird!

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 had open stretches and rapids Clear ice

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!

The river flowing underneath the ice creates some pretty sort of icicles Paul on the river. After 4 days of skiing from Alta to Karasjok, he wanted a break and he used my snowshoes for the day

Ice sheet from below Impressive icicles underneath the ice sheet

Icicle :) Some rapids along the river

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.

Aurora! But the lights from the hotel are spoiling the photo a bit So I moved to a darker spot, by then of course the aurora had (almost) gone. Still, this deep blue colour of the sky behind the trees was so beautiful

I was really hoping for stronger aurora to turn up, as there were so many good photo opportunities here. We don't have trees like this in Tromsø! The view towards the hotel

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…

Ice crystals on a branch Icicles on a branch

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.

The day started sunny, but this front was moving in with a surprising speed Paul flew his kite for a bit. This is on lake Inari, a really large lake. The crater next to Paul is where the ice is pushed up on a boulder

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 🙂

Ice abstract, this was part of the crater in the previous photo I was really fascinated by all the structures and different forms of ice

Ice flowers... ...and snow flowers :)

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.

Juhls silver gallery in Kautokeino, an amazing place! Juhls silver gallery, don't think I could ever leave this place empty handed ;)

Lots of sami knives Juhls really is like Aladin's cave of wonders :)

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 🙂

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