Another road trip day, but for moving on. I felt mixed about leaving. Our main motivation to relocate when we planned the trip was because we wanted to balance maximum aurora viewing with a sweet cabin. Location 1, Nuorgam, maximized the former. It was as far north as we could go in Finland. But we weren’t so hot on the looks of the cabin we’d booked, as the one that we fell in love with was not available. So we booked a mediocre-looking cabin for the first part and then agreed to transition to a different, sweeter cabin much farther south. But then, our northern dream cabin opened up at the last minute. The one with a cozy-looking living space (required), big windows (required) looking north (bonus), AND a hot tub (super bonus! Ding ding ding ding ding ding ding!). The first part of the trip now met all of our criteria. The next place better be worth it.
But first, since we don’t move fast, our typical lie-in, a shower and, –hey, wait! What’s that? As I was finishing my shower, I saw two very small figures across the river. (The bathroom has a glass door onto the patio.) (This was sometimes problematic.) It turned out the figures weren’t just tiny people, but my travel companions, having actually gotten up before me, and out into the snow. The nerve. I hurried to get ready, wanting to be able to do the same before we had to leave. I put the American pekoni (bacon) on, and when they got back we had our typical breakfast, and drank our tea with honey, and then, while they took their showers and got ready, I walked to Norway. Hello, Norway.
Then, Goodbye, cabin. Goodbye, hot tub. Goodbye, Nuorgam.
I mulled over the terrain as we headed south. This is what I wrote:
I love being in the birch. We’re sad to be leaving it, as well as the cabin, and the river. There’s something about being this far north, which is probably just knowing we’re this far north–except the birch part, maybe. I’d like to know the geology of the river. There are those sort of terraces, at least layers of low hills, and the noches to the river– only on the closest hills? — and there are slumps as well, just little ones, just edges, but I’m wondering why. Freeze-thaw?
Some rock, I think, but it’s hard to tell with the snow. Is it just boulders and dirt? I’m guessing these are drumlins or moraines, either way made of till, but I could well be wrong. Ground truthing. There is always the importance of ground truthing.
The birch on the hills is scrubby, like a five o’clock shadow on the whole of the landscape. Thinner in some places, a little patchy in others.
Houses, here and there, but not frequently. Ladders on the roofs up to the chimneys.
One thing about traveling to Finland in the winter–there are not many outcrops to be seen. It’s a good thing my real geological love is geomorphology, landforms, because you can still see the shapes of the land under the snow.
No wolverine this time, nor a fox. But we did see a reindeer. Which brings me to this: I have two regrets of the trip. One is not asking a talkative docent at the museum up way north in Norway if they were seeing and impacted by any effects of a changing climate, or changing shorelines. I’m kicking myself for this one. I’m so curious. The second thing is not thinking in time to grab my real camera, which even already had my long lens on it, to get a good picture of this guy (or gal) before it headed off. It was right beside the car shortly before this picture was taken, a very wimpy stone’s throw from Marijke in the driver seat. Hallo, reindeer! This is the last (live and intact) one we saw.
We stopped back at the museum to peruse the gift shop, as Marijke had decided she couldn’t buy any postcards of the aurora until we actually saw it. Not feeling the need to repeat our cafeteria experience, we got a recommendation from the museum staff for a restaurant right down the road in Inari.
Dear reader, for your next trip to Inari, I too recommend said restaurant. It is right on a river, which steams where it is open to the air, in a forest of snowy trees. The food is delectable. We went local, sharing a smoked reindeer heart garnished with lichen and pickled radishes, and a mushroom crepe. Marijke and Eric shared the reindeer stew, while I ordered the whitefish, which the server said is the most common fish of the region. It’s good to travel with people who like to share food. It was all delicious and very nicely presented.
I’ll also add here that we are on the senior schedule for dinners. The fact that it was still light out means that it was early, which is amusing because I walk into a restaurant thinking “Hmmm, not so busy, maybe not so popular, maybe off-season,” and by the time we leave it’s bustling.
Back on the road. We stopped once more in Sirkka, or around there, and Eric ran into our hotel from the first night to use the bathroom. Grab me a pen! I called. They had nice pens at the hotel. Marijke had taken one when first we were there. I was envious. Marijke had little faith, but I did. Eric came back with two pens. Eric is the best.
We arrived late to our new home, even later than planned because we went the wrong way. We took the very last turn we could have possibly taken wrong wrong, and it led us down a steep incline which was also a dead end. It did not dead end into our cabin. Unfortunately, after several tries getting back up the hill, we were stuck. So close, and yet…
It seems like it had to happen at some point, right? All this driving around in snow in a car that wasn’t ours, we had to get stuck at some point. There was some arguing over who had said to go where to get to the cabin, and suffice it to say that this whole episode put a bit of a damper on the excitement of arriving to our new cabin. By the time we’d tried and failed several times to get the car out, we were pretty grumpy. When we walked up to our cabin, we noticed a trailer parked in our drive. Obscuring our drive. It’s worth noting that the neighbors’ light was on, but no one came out to offer help, and that the next morning, when the neighbors’ car was gone, so was the trailer. Word from our host was that the neighbors are not fond of living by an AirBnB. We are very decidedly not fond of the neighbors.
But the cabin… oh, the cabin. Hallelujah, the cabin! The cabin was beautiful. Windows–yes!! Comfortable space–oh yes! What’s more, the comfortable space and the windows are essentially one and the same. *This* is why we picked this cabin. The design lines, the beautiful wood, the sauna, the fireplace–all that is just a bonus.
Plus, there was cava on the table, and two types of homemade Finnish pastries. And a record player, and records. We didn’t have energy for much else, but there’s always energy for some bubbly. And an Air album went just fine with the bubbly.
No aurora. The aurora forecast was, as usual, fine, but the clouds, as had also become usual, were not. The sky was supposed to clear on Friday. Fingers crossed.
And once again, despite my best intentions, up until 2am… darn these friends who are night owls.