Can I tell you something ridiculous? I am nursing a selfie stick injury. A selfie stick injury?! Am I embarassed? Not even a tiny bit.
I was always a bit snooty about selfie sticks. The first time I saw one was in the Pantheon in Rome (oooh er, but really). Two guys were perched beneath it, grinning up. I scoffed internally. What in gods name is that? I thought it a little shameless and wondered how the world had come it. I mean I just never would. Never ever.
But then, I saw people I know using them. I never succumb to peer pressure, it can push me to the opposite, but I was so curious. I still wouldn’t, of course. Me?! Use a selfie stick? Well, of course not, I am far too cool for that. Instead I persevered taking very few selfies and often very bad ones. You know the ones, a close up of your nostrils, half an eye and absolutely no background or indication of where you are. I am not a very selfie person you see, despite the fact that I travel so much on my own. At least, I wasn’t.
But then someone gave me a selfie stick. I was like a chimp who had found something in their enclosure. Taking it out of the box, twirling it, wondering if I might check it out. I was in Lapland with Three to stay on a reindeer farm, go out on a snowmobile, go on (and speedily get thrown off of) a husky sled. I even got to go (very) slowly around a frozen lake at night on a small sled drawn by a reindeer with me perched in the back under a blanked looking up at a cloudy sky, hoping and praying toRecipe: A little bit of Pitepalt see some northern lights (we didn’t, that night). I was there to play with some phones and trial the Three Feel at Home package. Basically I was invited to geek out on a reindeer farm in Lapland in winter and potentially see the northern lights. Perfect invite? Hello?!
The Torassieppi reindeer farm is about an hour from Kittilä airport, which we reached via Helsinki. The reindeer farm is small with a communal restaurant / café with endless pots of coffee, two bedroom cabins (which we stayed in) and 10 hotel rooms. The cabins are basic with two bedrooms (one double and one twin) and a combined living area and kitchen, with a wonderful wood burning stove and piles of wood outside your door. So cosy.
The farm is on the edge of a gorgeous frozen lake (sweet dreams are made of this), the cabins are dotted on the edge, and there is all the winter equipment your heart desires, if you have that kind of heart at all. Snow shoes, skis, ice fishing stuff, whatever you want. They also supply massive (essential) snow suits and boots which transform everyone into the marshmallow man, and a very toasty one.
We went ice fishing. We caught no fish but we did drill a hole in the ice and sit over it for a while. Then I started to think of warm coffee in the restaurant, and lunch time too, and we gave up on the fish and ate some meat instead. The food at the Reindeer Farm is just what you want in that environment: great rustic home cooking, big flavours, and always salad on the side and dessert to finish. All of the food is organic and sourced locally. Primarily reindeer meat (although there was none on offer on our short trip), local fish, berries, mushrooms, vegetables, fruits and Finnish grain. It is all cooked in a large open kitchen by cheerful staff.
A snowmobile northern lights adventure, where a sled that could seat about 8 – 10 was pulled behind one while we were all on watch, proved fruitless in terms of actually seeing the northern lights (they flirted with us from behind the clouds) but it was a wonderful experience. We glided through the forest, the snowmobile humming ahead, the tree branches trussed with snow, eeery silence all around, and then a pause for hot lingonberry juice and some biscuits. Who knew hot juice and a biscuit could taste so good? At -10 deg C they taste amazing.
A husky sled adventure was everything I had hoped and more. Those huskies are crazy, in the best possible way. A husky is a husky, and they know that, they know everything that they are. They don’t care that you are there with them, they are just so into being a husky that that is all that they want to do. Barking, jumping, fighting, barking some more, jumping, jumping, standing on a kennel and howling, just because they can. There are 130 on the husky farm, all shouting and jumping at once. The noise is overwhelming and brilliant at once. Some were thiharnessed to our sleds, others were just freaking out because they can. They were all noise and craziness until they started to go, and then they were silent, trotting along, tongues out, looking so happy to be pulling the sled. They poo a lot. Ours took a corner very quickly and Mike, steering the sled, and I were thrown into the snow. Which was so soft, it was still a shock, but in the end hilarious. The huskies looked at us like we were idiots, and so they should.
Husky sledding video (unedited, and taken on the Samsung S5, just to give you a feel for it).
Did I mention the husky puppies? I die.
I love a snowmobile. I love to drive one, but this time, as we weren’t on private property, I wasn’t allowed. I don’t have a licence you see. I was a very happy passenger, whizzing over the frozen lake, through the forest and then up and down small hills as we approached the big hill, from which there was this amazing view. At times it felt like we were gliding on a Christmas Cake frosted by Pixar, the snow was sparkly and every detail Nature had supplied was divine.
The Northern Lights. We saw them. A lifes ambition realised even if they toyed with us for a while before streaking briefly glamorously and excitedly across the sky, bright green and gorgeous, such a tease, just before we went to bed. My camera wasn’t up to it, but you can see Will’s lovely northern lights photos on his wonderful blog Bright Bazaar. Next time, I will make sure that I and my camera are both up to it. I am determined.
On our last night, we hoped once more for a glimmer of a spritely green splash across the sky. We booked onto a reindeer sled trip, where we went on a sled around the frozen lake, and watched for signs. We weren’t to see any, but at the end we gathered around an outdoor open blazing fire with the reindeer handler, with hot lingonberry juice and cream cakes, and heard his stories about his life as a handler, and all about the reindeer.
In terms of phones, there were many to choose from, I chose a Samsung S5. I have a Samsung S4 that I used to love but now it is old, and dated, and it is all bashed up. You know the type, smashed screen, chipped case, I think we hate each other really. I did love it when it was new. The S5 was much better, proved to have a great camera and was a much speedier device, my new brush swept very clean. I attached it to my selfie stick and snapped merrily as as we whizzed around on. So much fun.
Photos taken on the Samsung S5 and very lightly edited in Snapseed (a free image editing app for mobile phones that I use when on the move)/
Lapland? If you can, just do it. That was my third trip. Autumn was lush, golden and bright with a light chill. My two winter trips served only to entice me back. To Finland and Sweden again for sure, but also to Norway and Iceland, both of which I have yet to visit, and definitely will soon.
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Related Posts on Eat Like a Girl:
The ICEHOTEL in Sweden: Sparkling, Gorgeous and So Very Surreal
The Ice Hotel: Eating Lapland & Exploring It
Swedish Lapland: Indigenous Sámfi Souvas (that’s reindeer to you and I)
Recipe: A little bit of Pitepalt
Gorgeous posts from other ace bloggers on Lapland:
My trip as sponsored by Three to showcase their Three at Home package, where you can use your phone in 16 destinations as you would at home with no extra charges, from the US to Sri Lanka to Australia, and of course, Finland.