Tonight was our first of many goes to try to see the Northern Lights – our mission for this trip!
Our tour guide was Martin, from Bulgaria who came to Finland with a plan to stay 3 months to study and ended up staying 8 years. He loves the quiet and peaceful nature of the Finnish people. He said “I think when there are too many people, they are not that nice to each other, but when you life in an isolated place, you’re happy to see people.” True dat.
Martin wasn’t sure that we’d see the Northern Lights tonight as the clouds were pretty thick, but it would be a good experience anyway…..
There were 8 people in our group – us, our Aussie friends, Stacey and Chuck who were lovely and two other couples – one from Indonesia and one from Hong Kong. The couple from Hong Kong were on their second of three tours to try to catch the lights and it wasn’t looking good for them. Martin drove us out to a far away cabin in the woods about 30 minutes away and then lead us in the dark to a viewing platform over a lake. In the day it would have been breathtaking, but as it was pitch black, we just had to imagine….. but, pitch black is ideal for spotting the lights…. when there are no clouds.
We went into the cabin where Martin talked about Finnish culture, the local animals and his love for photography and berry picking…. he then presented us with this hot juice that he made from the berries he’s picked himself that day. It was lovely, if a little sweet.
The cabin is owned by the tour company and as staff they are allowed to go there on the weekends. They can fish, fang around on the snow mobiles, go ice skating and take sauna and jump in the lake…. even when it’s frozen over, they clear away a section at the end of the jetty so you can still jump in – if you’re bonkers.
So Martin stoked up a fire and cooked up some toasted cheese and reindeer prosciutto toasted sandwiches and some pork sausages for our picnic dinner whilst we stared out into the darkness waiting to be dazzled by the lights.
All but given up, the group except for Stacey, Chuckie and myself retreated to the fire, and the three of us swear that we all saw the same green flash of light…. and after that there were spot flashes of white light – but whether that was the real deal or just our eyes desperately wanting to see something….. I don’t know – anyway, that’s not what we came to see, so the hunt goes on…..
We felt very irresponsible walking away from the fire pit with the fire still lit… we asked if we needed to do anything to the fire before we left and he said, “No, it will die out.” “You’re not worried about bushfires?” we asked… “There are 200,00 lakes in Finland, there is no chance of fire.” I hope his cabin is still standing for the next tour.