We set the alarm for 03:15 and made it on time to the airport. What a lovely airport – so much nicer than Las Vegas, which was a dump. Another great flight – defying flying on Friday 13th, and sitting on row 13! 2 firsts: our plane was sprayed with de-icer before we took off, and our nose cone had a camera so we could see all the take off and landing. We landed safely at Ivalo, one of the 5 airports in the Arctic. Yes, it’s colder than Helsinki, although still not as cold as I expected. Perfect transfer of around 45 mins – I think our bus glided to the hotel on sheer ice. The UK comes to a standstill when 3 snowflakes descend, here the 2 feet of snow is a mild winter and life goes on!
What a beautiful and friendly place the Muotkan Maja Wilderness Lodge is. The staff are so friendly – we almost have our own personal chef catering for our vegetarian diet! And what a fantastic chef he is – the soup at lunchtime was scrummy.
Catching such an early flight meant we arrived at the hotel for 9am so after breakfast and unpacking we had time to go for a walk – or hike. We decided to walk to Kakslauttenan, which was sign posted as 2.7km away. We are in the middle of nowhere – all the snow and trees look the same. Thankfully all the cross country ski trails are well marked so easy to follow. Wo betide anyone that steps off the road or ski trail though. I went less than a foot off the trail and sank up to my knees in snow. Hero husband was too busy saving me to video my predicament, sorry kids 😉 and then he sank!
Nevertheless we completed the 6.5km round trip and saw the glass igloos. Rachel told us to go here when she was scouring places for her parents to go and spend her inheritance- and we have to do what Rachel says! Don’t we? I’m sure they look better at night – so we’ll be back in the dark, if only to give us an opportunity to use our head torches!
After that, a well earned rest, sauna and relax for the rest of the evening. The sauna was amaaaaazing. Clearly we are novices – could only hack it for 20 minutes. Weary muscles no more. We weren’t brave enough to dive naked into the snow straight afterwards, like the old lady that used the sauna afterwards – our room looks onto the porch and plunge pool for sauna users – aren’t we lucky!
Tomorrow is more walking – in snow shoes so hopefully no sinking!
We’ve been told they’ve seen the Aurora Borealis for the last 3 nights. So of course now we are here it’s cloudy – but we’re told anything can happen and it can change quickly. Let’s hope so