This is heckin’ late but I don’t care because at least it’s here. I’ll just always remember how Yuxuan blogged about Day 1 of Tokyo, and didn’t continue. Ever.
So last year, I wasn’t around for Chinese New Year because I went to Finland. Because there were so many aurora borealis videos surfacing on Facebook at the end of 2015, and I showed them to my mother and she was like OMG and she said we’ll go if she tiobehpio and then she did. Some tour group that was 5 – 14 February 2016, but was actually 6 – 13, and also there were so many wasted days so it’s really maybe like 5 days. I honestly hate tour groups.
The boarding passes were so pretty!!!
I LOVE AIRPLANE FOOD. And because it was a long flight, I had TWO!!!
It was damn funny because I boarded the plane at 1am or so, but because of the time difference, they were like, we’ll be serving dinner shortly. I’m not complaining though.
Singapore to Helsinki to Rovaniemi, and then further up to Luosto and that’s about a whole day gone.
I wasn’t even excited to see snow anymore. Don’t know what’s wrong with me.
The whole place was mainly vast emptiness sprinkled with conifers. Very nice.
One night in the glass igloo at Santa’s Hotel Aurora
SO COZY!! But you know cozy is a nice way of saying a place is small too, right?
The sky got real dark real quick. We also had bad news because the aurora levels was low for the whole period of our trip, and it didn’t help that it was cloudy 80% of the time.
The only thing I got to see around the hotel was snow and more snow. I’m also aware that my photos are like ew because I can’t be bothered and I hate editing pictures so bye.
Roughly in this direction is a ski resort so I was waiting to find it on a free day.
I guess this is the equivalent of a sunset in the arctic…? It just suddenly became black. And I thought the dark blue was night enough.
It was 5pm btw.
Then it was time for dinner. Being the picky person that I am, I was prepared to go hungry because it was a 3-course at the hotel’s restaurant I couldn’t choose.
Wah jialat. The first thing is a slab of cheese .____.
It’s been too long to remember if I finished this.
Then ok, chocolate cake.
Breakfast was 100% better because it’s familiar processed food :’)
The pear was damn nice though LOL
Morning light but gloomy af thanks to the clouds.
Everywhere looks the same!!!
The walk back to get evicted from the igloo and move to a generic hotel. Or maybe that was later… Can’t remember.
Then I took a detour because I’m finally seeing this place in daylight.
Stup found a cross-country skis rental booth instead of the ski resort. Of course I only found out after trying to speak English to someone who replies in Finnish. Somehow we managed to communicate.
Heading out for HUSKY SLEDDING 😀
We were introduced to every husky in every pen(?)
Most of them look like ahbengs tbh.
Then she took out 2 of them for us to play with T___T
Very happy! But this photo is jialat on so many levels. We were instructed to wear their overalls and hats and gloves and boots because it’s gonna be cold. But NO, it was too big and too warm and not aesthetic at all! Overalls also do not work for females because we blj. So I only used their boots and the others only when reasonable.
OMG ❤ ❤ ❤
When they were returned to their enclosures, the mother dog was chasing after them, smelling their butts and licking the assholes. Then one of the puppies shat. AND THE MOTHER ATE ITS SHIT!!!! And MY MOTHER SCREAMED LOLLLLLLLLLLLL
Then my mother was like “YUCKS! Why they eat shit?” and she distanced herself from the dogs HAHAHAHAHA
“i oso wan”
Then the first batch was done sledding so it’s our turn! The pups were a great distraction. 100% distracted.
Learning how to control the sled. It’s really just shifting your weight and stepping on the brakes.
0% aesthetic OOTD
Don’t know how we ended up at the first sled so we were following the snowmobile guy. That just means less huskies in front for me to look at 😦
Swapped positions with my mum midway.
Not very fun compared to standing up…
Erm… then the day ended. That was like one activity.
Ok, I checked Instagram and Swarm. I think after this, we checked into the generic normal not-glass hotel and then I went skiing at Ski Knööli Rinneravintola for an hour just before they closed.
Wah JIALAT HAHAHAHA!! I haven’t seen snow for a decade since and that is also how long I haven’t skied. I took so long figuring out how to actually get on the ski lift. There were few skiers for me to copy anything from LOL. A guy had to come out to help me cos I kept falling off the seat.
Then I came down ok but it was so short. So the second time I went up, I was wondering if I should go higher. At the exit, I hesitated too long so I had no choice also. What a horrid option because the next exit was nowhere near and the worst thing is that the incline became 45 degrees. I dared turn around and I could see everything below and lots of mountains around. I was getting worried because the slope was so deserted if I died nobody would know I was there.
I kept falling because the 45 degree slope was covered in soft powdery snow. I was falling my way down rather than skiing. At one point I was so tired of struggling back up I just sat in my pity pile and admired the view. No lie it was a beautiful sight. I could finally ski again when I reached the first exit. Then I went a few more times until I got bored and it got dark.
The same breakfast. I always look forward to breakfast because ham and sausage is life hahahah 🙂
The temperature was rising and the fallen snow are more or less melted, making the grounds totally gross and dirty. It gets worse in Rovaniemi and Helsinki, you’ll see.
Visited the Arctic Snow Hotel.
The Ice Chapel so you can get married looking like a wooly mammoth.
Cool sculptures but I can’t understand why anyone would have a night here because it’s cold and dim and maze-like.
This room is one I found the coolest because it had a polar bear ice throne and a wolf headboard.
They really go all out with this project, huh? They melt eventually. A mezzanine.
The Ice Bar.
And who needs chillers?
The reindeers I saw on this trip were mostly antlerless cos they were shedding. Not cute.
There was this snow graveyard LOL. Not sure if beneath them are actual headstones but there’s this Olaf snowman.
And an even tinier snowman beside it!!! SO CUTE HAHAHAH!!!
A lake froze over and snowed over.
After this we took the tour bus back to Rovaniemi.
Gloom and slush .___.
Don’t know why McDonald’s was my choice of lunch.
Not that lame now that I know that it’s in THE ARCTIC CIRCLE.
Got a Happy Meal because it means I get to have this Rarity eyewear thingy!!!!!
Lynette wanted one so I went back another day to get another Happy Meal lol.
But do you know how awkward it is to share food with strangers (or acquaintances we will never ever see again)? I know as Chinese our meals tend to be communal, but that’s with family what!?!! Then there’re always two types of Chinese at the table – one is overly polite, and the other has no regard for anyone else. I’m there wanting to have some more soup but like paiseh. And sometimes when I’m trying to grab something, the Lazy Susan starts turning……… PLEASE LA TOUR AGENCIES PLEASE STOP THIS!!
There was a Muslim group with us too, so they had a special no pork no meat table.
Tours: Huh? Asians who aren’t Chinese??? Huh??????
We had to go there dressed in very bulky insulated gear because we were going to the forest in the dead of night right after dinner.
Very bad planning (or lack thereof) because the restaurant was so cramped and warm, most of them had to get out of half their overalls. Except me. Because I hate their overalls remember? I know I came to this climate dressed properly. But thankfully I got to rent better boots!
Took a long and slippery walk to the edge of a lake. To Lapland Safaris!
It was an activity I was looking forward to most because I wanted to drive a snowmobile so much!!
Learning how to drive was simple. But I have now forgotten how. It was just like bicycle brakes but instead of braking, they accelerated.
Not gonna lie, this picture was taken AFTER the whole thing.
The most agonising thing was that my mother and I were unfortunately the second in line, and right behind this pair of aunties.
My mother is quite swag when it comes to driving. And on the way there, we were just lamenting over how those aunties were so slow!! We weren’t allowed to speed but it’s really quite frustrating to be tailing a vehicle that keeps slowing down.
Turning into a narrow path, it got worse. The aunties managed to drive into the snow kerb LOL. It was a path well trodden such that it was easy to go over and follow. But for them it’s a whole another situation!! My mother and I just burst out laughing la LOL!!!
So finally we arrived at our tepee! My fingers were on the brink of frostbite (a total exaggeration). We parked in a single file. That means we would STILL be behind those aunties on the trip back T____T
They arranged a sausage circle lol and also boiled water.
SHIOK. Just cooking my hands in case I wanted supper.
Don’t know why but I think I had seconds.
Look at how they make tea! They couldn’t care less that all the paper was getting charred.
In fact, that’s how we dispose of our paper cups – chucking it into the fire.
You couldn’t imagine how dark it was outside! This was on 10 seconds exposure.
It’s in the dead of night way up north and in the middle of the forest.
All of this just so we could see the aurora 🙂
It’s dark because there was none 🙂
The tepee. And a sky full of clouds.
Yeah, no stars for us either 🙂
The absolute highlight of this adventure was peeing in this ratchet toilet!!!!! Who would’ve thought!
I remember this well. It was dark and there was a bunch of people crowding around the two sheds with their phones’ flash on, which was no surprise because it was so dark outside.
So I asked them if those were the toilets and they were like yea, but there’s no light and no flush and the door is made of glass and there’s no lock! LOLLLLLLLL!!!!!
Then they pointed to one and told me that it was vacant and they offered to watch the door for me HAHAHAHAHA!!!!
Toilet with a glass door HAHAHAHAHA I LOVE IT
Had to snap a picture of this because it was simply amazing!
Luckily for me, I wasn’t in an overall so peeing wasn’t as difficult for me as it was for the other females. So I put my phone with its light up so I could at least see a little bit. Gotta make sure I actually let go into the toilet bowl, you know?
I was checking out the toilet while dressing, and I decided to peek into the toilet bowl lol and it was absolutely black but I know it’s a garbage bag because… the sound.
There was a bucket of wood chips or sand or whatever, I assume to cover your shit with. But I was peeing and it was cold so I just did away with that. Thank god for the styrofoam seat. They really put in a lot of thought into this toilet. 5 stars.
I’m very glad there were toilet paper rolls in there! Although I can’t wash my hands, it’s all cool. At least I can brag that I peed in a toilet in the middle of the forest in the Arctic Circle.
When we were walking back to Scandic, we pretty much passed the whole city as the guide told us, and that we’d know our way around when it was a free schedule.
Sausage and ham life before going to Santa Claus Village!
That’s Santa’s office, and the line of posts marks the start of the Arctic Circle!
It was snowing so we couldn’t see the marking on the ground but apparently there’s a line. So dramatic.
Anyway, the kid in line before me wrote Santa a card and the kid was so happy to see him!!
We had a short while to explore before gathering again, and we spent most of the time queueing to see Santa.
It was time for reindeer sleigh rides!
I was just standing around waiting for our turn as instructed by the guide. I smiled at this kid cos I’m a nice person and he/she (it’s wearing one pink and one blue gloves I can’t even use gender stereotypes) made a snowball and threw it at my leg, not in some act cute or friendly manner but like one fuelled with hatred. WHY? I could very well oops and bash its head into the wooden fence but I didn’t cos I’m nice and also parents.
At this point do I realise that reindeers generally live a sad life. They are whipped to walk tourists (us 😦 ) on sleighs in rounds, their hides used as throws, their antlers become all sorts of tools/decor when they shed, then people drink their milk and eat them too.
Back at Santa’s post office.
Of course, I love sending postcards lol
Especially to myself LOL. Anyway there was a Christmas mailbox, so they send it in time for Christmas no matter when you post your mail. I have received mine. 6 months ago…
413.80m of letter to Santa 🙂 ok
It started snowing more.
Tour groups are such a waste of time. We were so bored we started walking around to find food.
I also learnt that ravintola means restaurant.
Before we left, the tour guide gave us our certificates for having crossed the Arctic Circle. They really hype it up!! Singapore could have this thing about being on the equator or something.
Back in the city, and back to being bored.
I’ve always like bingo and wanted to play but there’s nothing in English so I left.
Dinner at ??? the hotel I guess…
Post-dinner snack from the supermarket 🙂
To Ranua Wildlife Park!!
There were so many owls la…
Long neck duck-shaped owl
Fake four-paw furry owls. We’re not supposed to be gloveless in such temperatures but I don’t care.
The guide was feeding the animals as she guided us and I asked if those were frozen chicks and she took it out for me to see hahaha 😀
This black fur trotter owl is HUGE! Tried to put my hand for scale but it doesn’t show.
This owl is massive and deadly but I tend to forget how they are predators because they are so cute?!?!
The lynx smiled or something
Big hoof owl
THE ARCTIC FOX IS THE CUTEST THING EVER!!!!
I just wanna touch it but the guide warned that they eat EVERYTHING and that includes fingers.
Might sacrifice my fingers to see this.
Long hair owl
The sign has FART on it
Tree branch owl
Had lunch at Wild Arctic Restaurant.
Tried a little bit of reindeer meat (right after I pity them) and it’s basically venison without the usual zichar flavours la. Reinvenison.
I couldn’t care less about the food because there were sleds outside and I wanted to play lol.
Some of the families in the group were planning on going for another aurora hunting tour for a chance. We already travelled halfway across the globe so we wanted to milk it. Walked to Lapland Welcome and booked the tour.
Then we’re on a long bus ride to Kätkävaara. The guide pointed out some wild animal along the way but I’m like blind and it was dark. I think it was a fox or something and he was saying it’s a sign of good luck. Lol.
We went to a little house to change into thicker clothes and to leave things we don’t need behind. Then we walked up the little hill.
It was so dark. The above was on 25 seconds exposure.
30 seconds. I knew our chances of seeing the northern lights are lower than 1%.
Cold and tired, tepees are the best.
Got to grill my own sausage. It was more like shoving it in the fire than letting the heat cook the sausage.
Also buns. The variety they have here is great!
It was so dark I had to constantly take photos of my food with the flash on to check if it’s done.
There’s wife material and then there’s assassin material.
Everybody’s desperate HAHAHAHA
We were then instructed to melt some horseshoes. SUPER COOL!!!!!
We had to dump the molten metal into a bucket of iced water and whatever comes out will tell our fortune.
My mother’s was good and looks smooth and like a Guan Yin Ma.
When I put my molten metal in, it exploded. When she scooped it out, I was like WHY IS IT IN PIECES? The guide said “oh no” under her breath OMG and I panicked LOL????? Then she said “Money. Lots of money.” and quickly walked away. ?????????? She’s just saying what I love hearing but…
Anyway, I put them in a pocket of the rented overalls but forgot them when I left 😦
We left after everyone gave up hope.
Went to Roka for lunch.
Very cute decor 🙂
Fish and chips and a… I forgot… French toast maybe?
Late afternoon at Rovaniemi airport for a flight back to Helsinki.
You know I always sit at the window because I love looking out of it.
And then in the corner of my eye I saw this patch of green and I was like OMG? COULD IT BE? I was so hopeful la.
It was the reflection of someone’s green jacket.
At Helsinki, we checked into Original Sokos Hotel Presidentti then went out to explore. I don’t know why we pay tour guides so much when we are on our own most of the time. We just want the bulk pricing for accommodation, flights and activities. Sorry I keep shitting on tour groups but…
Anyway, the produce at the supermarket looks so good!!
It was really late so most things were near closing.
Had chicken fries at Burger King because at that time it was new (not in Singapore, at least), and chicken fries sound like a novelty I can’t give up.
Winter but I just wanted this squeezy soft-serve from a machine at a convenience store. This chocolate one was so yummy!! Had chocolate bits in it!
Went to West Harbour for a ferry to Tallinn, Estonia! 😀
Very excited to visit a totally new country 🙂
Very suaku of me to be so fascinated by cars onboard a ship lol…
Fought with the cold to catch the sunrise but it was cloudy and lame so we went in.
Arrived at the Port of Tallinn.
Greeted with a gloom to match my soul.
Tour bus took us all around the city and to places of interest. All the while, the guide went on and on about Tallinn’s history and USSR. History is interesting not on a bus because I’m occupied with other sights 😦
I’m not very happy with being on a bus because the architecture everywhere was smashing but I couldn’t take time to admire them.
Enough for me to conclude that Tallinn’s a really quaint place that would’ve been better if the sky wasn’t overcast. Also really sad that I don’t have Internet in Estonia, so I couldn’t check-in wherever I went and I have no idea what everywhere I went was called and stuff T__T
I just wanna say I dig the architecture here! They’re just so cute!!
This is the only building I have a check-in at! It’s Tallinna Toomkirik (I had to Google this to match it to my picture because I can’t remember anything OMG!!), which is St. Mary’s Cathedral.
Then there was this seagull that was just chilling.
Call me obsessed. Whatever.
It’s the same exact wall but the colour is just another.
Is that Invader????
I remember being quite pissed off with our tour guide at this point because he was behind schedule and was rushing us and it was raining like hell and hella cold. He wanted us to meet at the restaurant we were having lunch at but he was gonna be somewhere else first and all that. So annoying!
Tallinn Town Hall
My mum said these were yummy lol.
Thanks to not having Internet I have no idea where I actually had lunch but the above could be it.
Was a basement thing going on with a rather satisfying buffet spread.
Tallinn Old Town is deliberately being so extra cute everywhere I can’t handle it!
Found the post office so I just sent myself a postcard full of stamps lol.
Stumbled upon Rukis where everything looked so good.
Finally the sky was clearing up and it was so damn blue. What luck did we have for this whole trip?
We were back at the port.
On the ferry back to Helsinki, we ate the stuff we got from Rukis.
Pavlova was so good 🙂
And my mum bought these for the sole reason that they looked cute. It’s for my grandmother because she’s a deprived alcoholic lol.
We went shopping a little bit back in Helsinki, then had dinner at Eerikin Pippuri Kebab.
Looks like something I wouldn’t eat but I probably just took all the sauce-stained things out.
Hotel breakfast. It’s no secret I really like ham. And sausages.
Trip to Suomenlinna!
I was all ready to snap this awesome sun but the Suomenlinna guide walked into my frame and refused to leave.
Tried a selfie with my very under-utilised $800 impulsive tangible birthday gift to myself.
Note how the sky looks so clear now that we’re no longing hunting for aurora.
The pothole puddle has a thin sheet of ice over it and stepping on it was so fun!
Honestly, I can’t tell if I really liked Suomenlinna, or that I just liked that the weather’s much nicer than it was the rest of the trip and the light was hitting everything. But it’s definitely a lovely place!
Some of us missed a boat back so had to wait for the next one.
There was this food market. And I have so little photos of it? It was really quite cool.
Then we’re on the bus again to go to a church.
Very cute golden M!!!!!
Had quite little time to explore Helsinki.
We spent a lot of time just waiting in Rovaniemi which was too small, and yet we have hardly any time to walk around Helsinki. HONESTLY!!!!!
When I saw this I just LOLed because Long Wall.
Had dinner of pizza and wings and fries at Pizzeria Sky Express.
We went back to the hotel. Then waited. Then took the bus to Helsinki Airport for our flight back to Singapore.
This part, the tour guide just about visibly pissed everyone off. We reached so late, although we could’ve left much earlier so that we could do everything at a normal pace. It was a red eye flight so everything was closing or closed but everyone wants tax refund. There was only minutes left after check-in before the tax refund booth closed, and it was all the way at the other end of the airport. And so many people were running, luggage in tow. I didn’t want to but my mum was like forcing me to go here and there and I’m like ????????? The tour guide did nothing of help. LOL the other families were complaining non-stop about everything too.
Went to almost@home lounge before boarding for some snacks.
It was 2 in the morning when we were in the air.
HAHAHA I love their very loose concept of meal times. I support it.
Then sleep time.
Breakfast time!! It’s 4pm in Singapore but 11am in Finland.
Quite disappointing in comparison to the dinner. But I love airplane food anyway! 😀
So, later in the week on Wednesday when I was early in Japanese class, I told my teacher I didn’t manage to see the northern lights. And you know what he said? He told me one of his students was in Finland and shared a picture of the aurora she saw just the day before. OMG. I’M SHIT OUT OF LUCK?! Guess I’ll have to make a trip up north again.
Ok, I started on this post 2-3 weeks before my Korea trip. I was intending to write this, and also my solo Kansai trip so that I can have some chronological order on this blog. But of course, it seems the latter will be delayed again! That’s because I realised a lot of photos weren’t even out of the memory cards yet .___. I was just so busy (and mostly lazy) when school started and somehow procrastinated for beyond a year. I’m hoping I won’t be lazy in Korea and I’ll try to blog weekly or more frequently. Excited!!!