It is the middle of winter in the northern hemisphere and 200 km north of the Arctic Circle the sun only shines for a couple of hours every day. Temperatures do not rise above -5 °C and soft snow blankets the entire landscape. The vistas reveal an immense and spectacular wild world. We are in the heart of Lapland, a region, stretching from Norway across to Sweden, Finland and Russia demanding finely honed survival skills by local wildlife and people alike. Survival can be challenging, but highly rewarding for those who treasure a connection with nature. Here animals and people confront the extreme elements on a daily basis.
At this time of year the borders expand dramatically. The Arctic sea turns into ice and animals have adapted to live both above and below its surface. The Sami people, traditional inhabitants of this region, have also learned to understand nature’s tough rules and have adjusted their lifestyle over time to work in unison with it, respecting its fickle moods and sustainably using its resources.
Photography by Michael van Nimwegen
We have come here to experience their culture and the magic of a truly white Christmas in the Nordic tradition where we can walk in thick snow, stay in a log cabin in the middle of the forest and sit in front of a roaring fire, sipping good wine and eating heart-warming food. A sled pulled by huskys or reindeer will be our transportation. During the day our personal Sami guide Petri will help us understand his world as a reindeer herder, the annual lifecycle of these gentle herbivores and why their rhythms are inextricably connected to the very survival of his people. We will get to know something of his way of life by meeting his family and friends. We will delve into his natural world where cars cannot go and traffic is non existent; only to be guided by the promise to hear birds sing, the footsteps of wildlife and relish the peace and silence of our surroundings.
“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”
Hamilton Wright Mabi
On Christmas Eve we will attend mass and listen to the locals sing their traditional hymns. Something we are truly looking forward to.
Christmas Day will be all about living the heart-warming atmosphere of Christmas surrounded by family and tasting local traditional food with our new Sami friends. In the late afternoon we will move temporarily to a specially designed underground hotel with glass igloo-like roofs poking discreetly above the forest from where we are hoping to watch the surreal dance of the northern lights overhead as we lay comfortably in our warm beds.
This Christmas promises to be like no other, that is why we travel!
For any fully personalised advice on authentic travel to Lapland or anywhere else in the world, feel free to contact us and I will personally design your very own unique adventure.