Lappland in Winter what a crazy idea was everybodys response when we told them where we wanted to go. We weren't that sure either but the idea of long nights, cold winds, lots of snow and polar lights was inspiring. We rented a log cottage.
Our log cottage in Kakslauttanen
We had a direct finnair flight from zurich to kittilä. From there a Bus took us over 200 km of snow and ice covered finnish roads to kakslauttanen where our cottage stood. The Bus driver drove with 80km/h to 100km/h over this slippery road it was not to good a feeling but we arrived safely. We planned to do some nordic skiing, walking and dog sledge driving. Our village was 13 km from Saariselka. Kakslauttanen consisted of a dog Farm the cottage camp with restaurant a post box and some holiday cottages. Not really much but we liked it this way. We were looking for calm and relaxation.
If you love nordic skiing, the saariselka region is one of the best places to go. Saariselka is the permanent training camp of the finnish skiing team. There are 230 km ski tracks of which 34km are illuminated. The illuminated tracks are very wide. You get 2 tracks for classic skiing in each direction and in the middle a 5 m track for skating technique skiing. We saw an ambulance snowbike it seams that everything is prepared for your skiing pleasure. In the region Kakslauttanen the tracks werent used that much so that you could go skiing half a day without encountering a lot of people.
What's really great:
The dogs are barking and jumping waiting to get started
When skiing there you are really on your own and get in touch with this superb winter landscape. The trees are covered with snow, rivers frozen, the cold wind is blowing in your face. One day we spotted elks and snowbirds on our skiing trip. It's really peaceful and silent. Unless you encounter dog slegdes. We went on a dog sledge trip one day. The dogs are really having fun pulling the sledges over the snow. When they get attached to the sledge they are very exited. The bark and jump all over the place. Every morning we heard the dogs getting exited as the dog camp was just on the other side of the road. We were two on one sledge. One was sitting in front the other standing behind driving the sledge. Driving wasn't very difficult but sternous. Basically you just have a brake. The dogs run without being told, so its just a matter of holding them back. If you want to do turns you have to steer with your feet by putting the left or the right in the snow and lean on the one your standing.
Relaxing after the morning drive
If you go up the kounispäa in Saariselka (the highest mountain in the region) you have a nice view of the region. You can also do some alpine skiing on the kounispäa.
We went a whole day and had a wilderness lunch in a sami hut. The guides cooked a tasty salmon- vegetable- milk soup and served tea hot sirup and coffee. Driving through this winterdream pulled by dogs was very funny. There was just one thing thats no so nice, the dogs smell very badly.
The entrance to our cottage with the fireplace on the left and the sofa to the back
We had a log cottage in the Hotel Kakslauttanen (www.kakslauttanen.fi)
The cottage had a big fireplace a separate living and sleeping room a small kitchen and a private sauna!
The days were spent by sleeping long in the morning. After Breakfast 3 to 6 hours skiing, returning to the cottage lighting up the fire warming the sauna. After 2 or 3 rows of sauna and a little afternoon nap there was dinner and back to the fireplace with a book and a warming whisky.
If you are looking for something more vibrant you should go into saariselka. There are some hotels there some relatives were staying at the tunturri hotel and told us it was very good.
rudolph the raindeer...
Nightlife consits in Kakslautanen in drinking in the hotel restaurant.
If you are in Saariselka there are some pubs and bars but once you got all your clothes of you don't usually change to the next as its very cold outside.