I have been ambivalent about posting while Cynthia and I are on this trip; on the one hand I don’t want to seem like a braggart and say “Hey! look where we are going now!!” -not really my style, which you can discern from my lack of Facebook posts. Alternatively I have been repeatedly encouraged by the folks who actually open these emails; that they actually like what I write.
With that meager encouragement in mind I will share a few things from our stay at the Kakslauttanen resort in Finland.
This is the first leg in our Round the World (RTW) journey celebrating our 30 years of marriage.
It was selected because of the timing. Please know that neither Cynthia or myself would, in other circumstances, choose to go 250 kilometers above the Arctic Circle…in February. However, seeing the Northern Lights was at the top of both of our travel bucket lists.
The best viewing time for the aurora is through mid March (this was a robust year for the lights because of increased sun activity) and, well, Finland north of the Arctic Circle just sounded like an adventure, especially in a glass igloo.
As we landed in Ivalo, Finland and deplaned onto the tarmac, I noted two things, it was really cold (about 10F) and it was snowing. What a surprise; cold and snowing in the Arctic winter.
The website had promised approximately 1 out of 2 days of aurora viewing, not guaranteed mind you, but still we were undaunted.
Day two dawned with our reindeer sleigh ride with Gustov the reindeer and it was very sedate and enjoyable, and more snow. In a semi ironic twist of culinary fate we enjoyed reindeer filets that evening-they were delicious. I’m fairly certain this one was not named though.
Day 3, more snow. We spent most of our time in the igloo wondering if the clouds were ever going to lift. At the same time we were both grateful for the quiet.
Day 4: our final chance for the lights dawned with more snow and overcast. At this point we had decided that not seeing the lights wouldn’t mean the trip was a failure. We decided to go to the town nearby with the unpronounceable name (most of them here are). While we were enjoying our bear burger-also delicious- we noticed the sun peeking out of the clouds.
By the time we were finished the entire sky was clear and I just had a feeling…
While it was not going to be a deal breaker, we were both expectant and hopeful as this was going to be our only chance to witness this glorious phenomena.
We set our beds just so and waited expectantly. After 4 days of having to dress and bundle just to go have a meal or do anything outside we were rewarded when a soft column of light arose on the northern horizon. It grew and arced and rippled and faded and grew again, lasting for a couple of hours. It was quite grand. Not exactly as you see in the photos though, apparently the vibrancy of the colors you see in photographs is achieved through filters and lengthy exposures.
It still filled you with a sense of wonder and awe, it was quite dramatic. As Cynthia and I discussed the next day, it was absolutely worth it. It was worth it just to be together, one on one- no distractions, but seeing the Aurora made it all the more special.
In many ways this is like our relationship with God. We have this grand expectation, this desire of our heart, and we wait expectantly, patiently, sometimes not so patiently. When we finally give ourselves over to the idea that the joy is to be in relationship with God, one on one-no distractions, THATS when HE says, that was worth it.
I look forward to sharing more with you later in the trip.