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The Artisan Blog
After hearing the many beautiful tales of Lapland and seeing some incredible photos of the Aurora Borealis and the winter landscapes of Finland, I thought, “there is no way it can actually look like that surely?”. But as we descended through the clouds into Rovaniemi, with the sun rising past a blanket of snow, I could not believe my eyes – it was just like the photos! The incredible snow that hung from every branch of every tree was such a breath-taking sight.
Despite having travelled to Finland several times by myself, I had never given my parents the chance to experience its wonders for themselves. However, in January they got to experience a holiday to Torassieppi in Finnish Lapland for the first time. Read on to find out what they made of their experience to the Arctic North!
To say we were apprehensive about going on a 25km Snowmobile safari is a drastic understatement. The closer to the activity we got the quieter Jorie and I became. However, when it was time for the activity we went along, watched the briefing video and before long we were being swept along on a snowmobile!
It is only when flying over the Greenlandic Ice Cap that the sheer vast wilderness of the country strikes home. Of course I knew all the stats, this is a country the size of Western Europe with a population of a large town in the UK. But still, when I flew over on a beautiful clear day, with hundreds and hundreds of miles of Ice and mountain below me, the utter scale became apparent. It is very much the Arctic I imagined as a child.
Ilulissat directly translated means ‘Iceberg’, and indeed the UNESCO protected Icefjord is the reason most people come here. Immediately on arrival at the hotel I could see 2 huge icebergs, floating a few miles away along the coast. From a distance they looked big…but nothing compared to the epic proportions, which become apparent up close to these imposing ice sculptures.
"The next twenty years are the blink of an eye"
Quotation source: My father on my 50th birthday (thanks for that dad!)
I love this photograph. It may not be the greatest composition in photographic history but, for me, it sums up exactly what the Artisan Travel Company is all about.
The picture was taken in Alaska, somewhere north of the Arctic Circle on the Dalton Highway (of Ice Road Truckers fame) and it is the moment I fully realised that I had well and truly ticked off my number one bucket list item.
One of the first tasks I had when I joined The Artisan Travel Company was to spend two weeks acting as the company's representative in the tiny ski resort of Luosto. Travelling north of the Arctic Circle on my first assignment all seemed a bit daunting at first but I got to know Luosto and our suppliers very quickly and found myself falling very deeply in love with the place because it has just about everything you could ever want from a winter holiday.
As a Product Development Manager, I get to visit loads and loads of places but this very often has to be done reasonably quickly.
Spending 14 nights in the same destination allowed me to appreciate the slower way of life, to get to know the wonderfully friendly locals and take huge joy in the vast range of winter activities available in Luosto.
The important thing in our job is getting to know a destination and experiencing everything it has to offer. On my very first trip to Finnish Lapland I learned very quickly that the best way to appreciate the wide open wilderness spaces north of the Arctic Circle is by snowmobile. You can enjoy all sorts of activities here in Lapland; dog sledding and reindeer safaris, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing will all get you from A to B but nothing will show you as much or take you as far as a snowmobile.
My first snowmobile safari was blessed by a typically beautiful early-spring day (in the opinion of most locals, late-March and early-April are the best times to visit) with not a cloud to obscure the azure blue skies.
The other thing that struck me about this pristine setting was just how calm and unspoiled it is. Lapland must be as close to purity as anywhere in the world and the air is said to be the cleanest anywhere in Europe (and very probably further afield too).