Mad about arctic winters
Some people prefer winter to summer and reindeer herder Nils-Matti is one of them.
Finnish Lapland is immense. It covers an area larger than the whole of Portugal, but the concept of Lapland is even larger. Many tourists think that they have reached Lapland when they have barely got halfway up Finland. The further north you go, the better you can understand the true meaning of Lapland.
In the fells you can see for miles
As you travel further north along the outstretched “arm” of north-west Finland, the coniferous forest gradually vanishes from the landscape and the birch trees shrink to a metre in height; the fells begin to rise around you in every direction and you find a silence unlike anywhere else on earth. You can see for miles but all you will hear is your own breathing and the snow crunching under your boots. Visit Kilpisjärvi, a small village in Enontekiö, and it’s easy to discover why tourists return year after year.
“The city is no place for a person”
Sami Nils-Matti Vasara has lived in Kilpisjärvi all his life – his roots go back 12 generations. Nils-Matti has been to southern Finland only a couple of times and even then not entirely voluntarily. As he sees it, Kilpisjärvi has everything anyone could want in life. Most importantly is the impressive natural landscape from which his family have derived their livelihood for centuries.
Even though the Lapland summer is beautiful, winter is a special time for Nils-Matti. Summer and autumn tend to just go by, resting and awaiting the first snow. It is only after the fells are finally covered in a white blanket that the normal course of life resumes. It is the moment you dig the snowmobile out of the garage to make it easier to travel across the fells.
The light of winter
To visitors from the south, Lapland is the perfect place to rest and relax. Whatever your reason to “escape”, there is no better place to recharge your batteries than the wide open spaces in the far north. Under the spring sun on top of the fells, you’re fine in nothing but a sweater, as the glistening snow reflects the light like a mirror. Until darkness falls, the world is like a blue and white silent movie and then the sky is filled with colour. On a clear night, the Northern Lights blaze, lighting the fells as if it were day.
In the rush and crush of modern life, the rarities are what we value most, such as space, quiet and time. The space to breathe, a time to dream… you can find these treasures in Finland, where the lakes are many and the people are few.