It seems over the last few months, my eyes have been truly opened to the beauty of heading to colder climbs for a beautiful break. With Iceland being my first experience of anywhere with a landscape quite like it- call me naive, but I’d never quite realised how stunning these pockets of the world really were.
In an age where we’re so used to seeing blue seas, white sands and bright turquoise skies all over social media- seeing the flip side of that and experiencing the other side of nature was a total treat, and naturally, heading to Finland at the end of January was absolutely something else and certainly made the chills of Iceland’s temperatures feel like a rather balmy dress rehearsal too.
With the Origins planned trip having been on the cards for a while, I felt suitably prepped are raring to go by the time our flight rolled around a couple of weeks ago. Our cases were loaded to the brim with base layers, duvet-style-puffa-jackets and enough pairs of socks to see us through far longer than our three day stay. Having only caught a glimpse of what our hotel was like from the internet, I barely had a clue of what the next few days were to have in store, and trust me when I say there’s definitely something to be said for seeing things in real life other than solely through a screen too- because my breath was truly taken away…
After a day of travelling from London to Helskini and then onto Ivalo, by the time we arrived it was safe to say we were ready for a hot chocolate to carry us through. Fortunately there were loaded flasks at hand, and after a coach journey not totally fuelled on sing songs (mainly just from yours truly to Joe) we arrived at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort. Although it had been dark for hours, the magic of this place still shone through as if it were the middle of the day. With the snow crunching underfoot and the cold completely all encompassing, we made a beeline for our cabin-cum-igloo as soon as dinner was done and couldn’t have felt further away from the hubbub of life, as we settled into the covers under the stars.
But that wasn’t the end of our evening. As I started to scroll through possible alarm options for the next morning, we both looked up to see a flurry of slow moving faded yellow light dance across the sky above us. After waiting for a few moments and still in pyjamas, we didn’t waste a second more in pulling on our boots, jackets and hats and racing outside to catch our first glimpse of the Northern Lights. With the cabins around us silent in the evening, it felt like it was just us watching them at first- with people gradually stepping outside to catch the magical aurora- I’m certain we couldn’t have asked for a better first evening.
The next morning was spent diving straight into action, with an agenda of snowmobiling covering the majority of the morning. At -30, it was comfortably the coldest I’ve ever felt- but fortunately the views of endless white forests, with trees completely buried in snow (a little like what I’d imagine the Candy Cane forest to resemble), were enough to (almost) completely distract me from frozen fingers and toes. After catching a glimpse of a wider scope of the area, we headed back to the teepee for lunch- and tucked into hot soup, traditional rye sandwiches and steaming tea to help us defrost. With the remainder of the afternoon spent chatting to Dr. Weil about the incredible collaboration with Origins (more on this coming very soon), we started to wind down for day before a very special dinner and another magical evening ahead…
Stay tuned for the second half of our trip this week!