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Old 24th February 2021, 10:03   #1
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Default Let there be lights! Aurora hunting in Finland

We decided to go to Dharamshala and ended up in Finland! That is the one line summary of the blog below and that’s what happens when you take the ‘listen to your heart’ philosophy too seriously. On the 1 year anniversary of this rather adventurous trip, I am deciding to share it with you all.

I would divide this in 3 phases as each of them had their own set of idiosyncrasies.

The inception


“Lets see some snow!” was the seeding thought around late December to which my better half rather quickly agreed (Now I am tempted to crack a joke at this rare event in history but will pass). To avoid taking too many leaves, we thought of going somewhere in India itself with Dharamshala and Sikkim being the front runners.

A small interjection: If someone chooses to write down my qualities, it might be a long list but being practical won’t feature on it . That is why some of the decisions from this point on may not make sense to a more rational mind.

Just as the bookings for Dharamshala were being finalized, I had a Eureka moment! If we were anyways spending 7-8 hours in travel, why restrict to only India. A direct flight to most places in Europe would take similar time. Of-course it meant additional budget and more importantly convincing my partner (lets call her P for the rest of this blog) who is more on the rational scale of thinking but with our marriage anniversary coinciding with the travel dates, I could paint a grand picture of how special and memorable it would be (Maybe we could add the ‘art of convincing’ to that list of qualities above).

Now we essentially started throwing darts at all possible options within a travel radius of ~ 8 hours. The thoughts wavered from London to Austria to Switzerland (which we had already covered, though not in winters). But once we looked at the pictures of Finland, it was pretty much love at first sight. It also presented a great opportunity to witness the northern lights.

With the new objective of “Lets see snow and Northern lights”, we moved to the next phase of preparation.

The preparation


By the time we had finalized on Finland, there was just about a month left for the trip. What added to the spice was that I was traveling to the US for a 2 week work trip, so a cross timezone collaboration was going to be the order of the day.

Where in Finland?
Rovaniemi was the first option we considered. It is the capital of Finland’s northernmost region (also known as Lapland). With temperatures of around -10℃ in Feb, it is a good option for snow and aurora hunting. This felt like a good choice, but there was a small devilish voice inside poking me to explore something even colder.

There are popular towns of Saariselkä, Kemi, Levi, Ivalo, each of them with their own unique offerings. But the overall equation was simple, the further north you go, the colder it gets and the chances of aurora also increases. The logical answer then was to go as north as possible! Inari, which happens to be the northernmost town with a few good resorts and temperatures around -25℃, caught our eye. (In computer science, we call this a greedy algorithm of problem solving and that’s exactly what we were doing, getting greedy!)
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So now we were not only challenging the conventional wisdom of trying to cover a European country in less than a week, but we were also choosing a place which had temperatures totally alien for us. There was some self doubt as to whether we were going a bit extreme with the planning and would get it all wrong. There is a famous line from Mr. Javed Akhtar which I had read long back and has stayed with me ever since, it reads "क्यों डरें जिन्दगी में क्या होगा कुछ ना कुछ तो तजुर्बा होगा". With that in mind, we booked our tickets.

The final itinerary was that we would be flying into Helsinki, take a connecting flight to Ivalo and then travel by road from there to Inari (Inari doesn’t have an airport). On the way back, we would be coming via Rovaniemi, spending a day there and then taking a one hop flight to Hyderabad.

How to not freeze to death
The US trip ended up being a shopping spree with endless trips to Columbia and North Face stores and buying a long list of wollens - down jackets, sweaters, boots, balaclava, snow pants, neck warmers, hand and foot warmers. I didn’t even know goose and duck were the fill configurations for a jacket (they only meant items on a plate before!).
And mind you, if long distance relations are difficult, long distance shopping is even worse! The time zone difference meant I would be waking my wife up early mornings to an elaborate buffet of boots or jackets.
Just for the record, NorthFace McMurdo Parka III jackets and snowball boots were finalized.

Stay
One look at this picture and we finalized our resort right away!

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One look at the price, we immediately reconsidered our decision.But the matters of the heart are tricky.
This was the Wilderness Nangu Resort, I checked with them for potential discounts but to no avail. They suggested their other branches, some of them cheaper but this was the one farthest up in the north and due to its remoteness, the best one for aurora viewing (If I were a character in Game of Thrones, I would be a Stark for sure with this obsession for the north).

The room we were looking for is called the ’Aurora Hut’. They are movable huts placed on (frozen) Lake Inari during winters. We were warned that these were rather small, far from the hotel lobby and didn’t even have any water (so no shower and only dry toilets). So now we were going to pay almost double the price than that of a standard room for less space and no facilities! It was another tug of war between the heart and the mind, Mr. Javed Akhtar raised his voice in my head yet again and practicality was overruled.

One night in the Aurora Hut and the other one in a standard room was booked. In Rovaniemi, we went with a standard AirBnb near the city center.

Oh wait, what about the camera!
Two days before our flight, we realized that we would need a good camera for capturing the night sky. It was time to put the famous phrase of ‘a friend in need is a friend indeed’ to practice. We borrowed a Sony RX 100, along with the tripod and also went through a last minute tutorial on the setup and manual configurations.

The execution



We took off from Delhi on the morning of 18th Feb amidst growing news of a new virus spreading in China and Singapore, but well, Finland was far away.

Day 1 (Delhi - Helsinki - Ivalo - Inari)

A morning flight meant we would be wasting a day but it allowed us to witness these mesmerizing Hindukush ranges over Afghanistan. The snow had started!
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FinAir was surprisingly good and even though we were flying economy, the journey was quite comfortable. The immigration at Helsinki was probably the fastest I have seen. The short layover was spent grabbing our lunch before taking the connecting flight to Ivalo.

As we landed in Ivalo, the air hostess announced that the outside temperature was a mere -13. A quick look outside the window and it seemed we had landed on a large white sheet.
It sank in, we were finally here!, in the arctic circle and about to embark on a potentially once in a lifetime experience. If there was any traveling tiredness, the cold gust of wind blew it away as soon as we stepped out of the flight. The small walk from the flight to the terminal gave us a teaser of what to expect, it was very very cold!

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The pic is blurred not due to poor photography but shivering hands!
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The 45 min drive to Inari was just unreal. As the temperatures dipped to -19, it was hard to spot anything in the surrounding which wasn’t white. The resort, as described, was in a pretty remote location. Once we reached, we immediately knew it was going to be a hard task filtering out the photos afterwards!

We checked in and only had about 20 mins before the dinner closed. We would have ideally liked to rest a while but I couldn’t risk missing the special dinner menu which read ‘Reindeer’.
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As we were having dinner, a staff member informed us that the northern lights were visible outside. The reindeer on the plate would have to wait now! It just felt like everything was moving in fast forward as we dashed out without bothering to pick our gloves and overcoats from the room. Like kids in a candy shop, we were frantically running around searching the skies for any remote signs of green. Then someone calmly told us the obvious, if you are looking for the northern lights, look in the north

We finally spotted it, a light faint of green breaking through the darkness, as if the Hulk was trying to take over! We wanted to stay awhile but our bodies started reminding us pretty vehemently to get them into cozyness. It had been just 5-7 mins without the entire gear and our face and fingers were hurting severely. We rushed back to the comforts of the dining room. It took a while before the pain subsided. ‘So that's what -19 feels like!’, we thought to ourselves.

We decided to wrap up our dinner quickly and head out again, better prepared this time. We were told that the lake was about 500 m downhill and was the ideal spot for watching the lights. It was time to set up our tripod and put our crash course tutorial to practice.

We quickly realized that we had practiced on slow turning wickets but this was a fast Perth pitch! The winds were so strong that the tripod was finding it hard to stand still and they were so cold that even with all the layers, we were suffering the same fate. Everytime I had to take my hand out of the glove for changing some setting on the camera, it would curse me. It would not be too far-fetched to say that while the skies turned green, my hands were turning blue.

But make no mistake, it was magnificent! We had wanted a once in a lifetime experience and this definitely was. It was the best anniversary celebration we could have hoped for and what a stark contrast it was to the same day two years ago!
It was just the two of us, standing on a frozen lake with vast emptiness all around, winds soaring through at high speeds, a sky filled with stars and a tinge of green. Some moments can’t be planned, they are just destined.
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While that sounds extremely romantic even as I write it, the reality was that we had started feeling more and more like Rose and Jack from the last scene of the Titanic. All those layers didn’t matter. We probably needed a dozen more!! Due to the extreme cold, our phone batteries died in a matter of 10-15 mins. We decided to head back, to live and photograph it another day. Phew! what a day it had been.

Few pictures of the resort before we called it a night.
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Contd..

Last edited by animeshc : 24th February 2021 at 13:57.
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Old 24th February 2021, 10:16   #2
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Default Re: Let there be lights! Aurora hunting in Finland

Day 2 (Snowmobiling on Inari Lake, with a twist)

The highlight for this day was supposed to be a 4 hours snowmobiling tour on the Inari lake and staying in the Aurora hut, but little did we know that fate was smiling at us.

It was just too beautiful a place to stay in bed for long and we were up early.
We looked out the window and we were definitely the Alices in a Wonderland. There are few instances in our lives that give us pure unadulterated joy and even after years when you look back at them, they put a smile on your face. Remember the time your crush waved and smiled at you in school unexpectedly or the times when you took your team to victory in a sports match (or for the Bong foodies like me, when you last had a cup of Mishti doi in Kolkata), this morning was one such instance for me.
I think after this point, I might run out of adjectives to describe the place and will let the photographs do the talking.

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Of-course we lost track of time and scrambled to reach the snowmobile tour meeting point. The instructors looked at our McMurdo Parka III jackets, smiled and politely asked us to put on the overall winter suits (provided as part of the tour) instead. They said it was going to be extremely cold given the bright sunshine (remember latent heat of vaporization) and our jackets might not be enough. So, out went an entire week and a few hundred dollars of shopping!

The plan was to drive for about 2 hours to one of the other properties of the same resort, break for lunch and return. It just took a few minutes to get used to the bike and then it was like driving on a four lane highway with no traffic whatsoever, which in other words is sheer pleasure!
Picture this, crystal clear blue skies with the sun beating down, mother earth covered with snow till the horizon, forests on both sides and just the sound of your bike to disturb the otherwise pin drop silence, this indeed was the driveway to heaven.
One could forgive me for comparing myself with Salman bhai driving through snow in one of his spy movies.

We stopped a couple of times along the way for clicking pictures.
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Goes without saying that the cold was bone piercing. It is one thing standing in -15 ℃ and another thing driving a bike at 50 kph. Whatever little skin around the eyes was open was numb, the hands were shivering and even with the snow boots and woolen socks, the feet turned cold. We had brought along hand and foot warmers, but we realized at the last minute that they need to be kept in open for about 20-30 mins before they warm up. We had only been able to give them 5-10 mins in the morning rush and were regretting it now.

About 2 hours into the drive, just before reaching our destination, the twist arrived. Well it was a literal twist (a U-Turn) to begin with. Not sure if there was lapse in concentration or a brain ‘freeze’ (or the consequence of comparing myself with an actor not known for his driving skills), but the bike went over a soft patch of snow on the turn and as I tried to accelerate to get out of it, I saw the picture perfect world going up side down (both literally and as it turned out later, figuratively too). We had toppled!

The first thought which came was the stern instruction in the beginning to not crash the bike at any cost. I looked at the bike, only the visor had been damaged. It didn’t look that bad. But as I turned my attention to P, the concern immediately changed. I had fallen off a bit far from the bike but P wasn’t so lucky and her leg was stuck beneath the snowmobile.
I tried lifting it and it didn’t even move. I thought of waiting for help but the look in her eyes pleaded and instructed me at the same time to do otherwise. With all my might, I tried again and lifted it enough for her to take the leg out. I helped her get up but she couldn’t stand.
The situation looked really bleak now. We were in the middle of nowhere, she was in tremendous pain and the instructor told us that the nearest medical attention was at least 2 hours away. We would have to drive the snowmobiles back to our resort and then take a cab to Ivalo to reach the closest hospital. He took P along with him on his snowmobile and asked me to follow along in the damaged one.

The romantic story had become a rescue mission now, the hero was battered, a bit bruised and shaken to the core. Just having crashed a bike, it was hard enough for me to drive it again but now I had to drive it a lot faster to catch up with the bike ahead (who understandably was trying to rush back) and that too without the visor which meant the cold winds were punching me front on. My clothes had been ruffled up which meant the wind was sneaking in through multiple places and it wasn’t the driveway to heaven anymore (or maybe it was, in a more literal sense now!). And of course, a plethora of thoughts were going on in the head around how it happened, what could have I done differently, her well being, the future of the trip, figuring out the medical insurance process, the potential reaction of our parents and so on.
Those were probably the toughest 40 mins I have ever endured. What I didn’t realize at that time was that the accident sequence would continue to haunt and keep playing on a repeat loop in the head for way longer.

By the time we reached back, the taxi was waiting for us and we were off to the hospital. A preliminary examination in the emergency room (which included a nerve jarring effort of taking the boots out of the leg) concluded that an ex-ray followed by an appointment with the Ortho was required. The leg of-course was extremely swollen, a basic painkiller was administered.
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What followed were an anxious couple of hours for the ortho consultation. Desperate times often lead to profound realizations and one such was that hungry, tired and tensed are not the best combination of emotions. A morning that promised so much, had turned into an afternoon of despair (any resemblances to the career of Prithvi Shaw are purely coincidental).
In between, we met another traveller who had broken her leg and was being shifted to Rovaniemi for the operation. We prayed to all the gods (old and new!) that we didn’t
meet the same fate.

We were so elated coming out of the doctor’s room that one might have wondered if it was some other kind of good news. The doctor had ruled out a fracture!, though she said one point in the ex-ray wasn’t clear and asked us to get it examined once back. She prescribed some painkillers, bandaged the leg, administered walking sticks and also gave a fit to fly certificate for the flight back (apparently airlines need one in-case of a plastered/bandaged leg).
Thankfully the snowmobiles already had an insurance policy and our insurance wasn’t needed. So in-case you are planning to crash a snowmobile and end up in a hospital, don’t worry about the insurance

With rejuvenated spirits, we headed back to the resort where another critical question was awaiting us.

A beautiful sunset on the way back
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The leg wasn’t broken but it was still damn painful and walking was a problem. Today was the day of our stay in the Aurora hut which meant walking up and down about 500 m on a slippery slope every time you had to come to the main lobby/restaurant. The resort management refused to provide us transport to the hut (which I felt was quite harsh) and after slightly heated negotiations, they agreed to drop us to the room with our luggage just once. The other option was to continue staying in the normal room close to the lobby but this trip had been our torch bearer against practicality, we couldn’t let a damaged leg change that. Not only we decided to stay in the aurora hut, but also boldly asked for the room at the end so that our night sky view was unhindered (There is a fine line between boldness and stupidity and we were playing right on the edge of that).

We spent our evening marvelling at the beauty of the room and resting our tired bodies.
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By evening, the weather had worsened significantly, clouds had taken over the night sky and the winds threatened to blow away the hut. But the temptation of a free Sauna dragged us out of our room late in the evening (things we do for free stuff).

After a relaxing Sauna and the first proper meal of the day, it was time for our next adventure! The storm had intensified and due to it, there was fresh covering of soft snow which made walking difficult. With the leg too swollen to put on the boot, P wore a normal shoe on that leg and the snowboot on the other (who knew she would inspire a new fashion in the IPL!). As a result, the leg started to get wet in the snow and it was a real struggle with the cold and pain. After a treacherous 20 mins walk in the storm, we reached our room and now it wouldn’t open! We struggled for 5-7 mins (trust me, they felt like a lot more) and panic started to kick in. There was no one in the vicinity, no network to call up the lobby and the winds were so strong that the things in our hands were getting blown away. We even dropped the key once in that darkness but thankfully caught it before it flew away too far. The only option now was to head back to the lobby and find help, P of-course couldn’t walk and needed to stay behind. The idea to leave her wasn’t particularly exciting (the Game of thrones fan inside me was imagining a white walker waiting for me when I returned). Not for the first time in the trip, we realized that these extreme temperatures meant a lot more than simple numbers.

As I had mentioned above that ours was the last room but as I started to head back, I noticed in the dim torch light that there was another hut ahead of us. We were in the wrong room!! If I ever write a book on ‘my not so intelligent moments’, this would surely make it to the top 5.

The bad weather meant there were no chances of seeing the aurora. With thoughts echoing those of Kareena Kapoor from ‘Jab we Met’ where she prays for no further adventures on the trip, we retired to bed.

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Contd..

Last edited by animeshc : 24th February 2021 at 14:01.
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Old 24th February 2021, 10:46   #3
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Default Re: Let there be lights! Aurora hunting in Finland

Day 3 - Husky sledge?

Strong winds shaking the hut woke us up quite early. The weather was still bad. We spent the morning just resting and clicking a lot of pictures.



That’s me getting breakfast in the absence of any room service.
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And that’s me just ticking a random item off my todo list, pushups in the arctic circle! Different ways of keeping one warm
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And that’s my wife walking with just one snow boot on.
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We were checking out today and before heading to Rovaniemi, we had a husky sledge ride scheduled. Now the billion dollar question was whether to proceed with it with the injured leg. We were told that since one person has to just sit and the other needs to just stand at the back, it should be manageable.

A couple hours later, while listening to the safety instructions, we realized that maybe, just maybe we should have played safe. So the person standing at the back isn’t just casually standing. He/She is in-charge of the brakes and as the huskies run at full speed, even at slopes and turns, a misjudgement can be ‘mildly’ dangerous. Also the huskies are trained to simply run so even if the driver slips and falls off, they won’t care and the passenger would be sitting at their mercy.
Again, I was in the danger zone and to be held accountable for any mishaps! Imagine the plight of Chetan Sharma if he was asked to defend the last over again in the next match after getting hit by Miandad for that last ball six, I was feeling the same.

5 mins into the ride, we saw how mildly dangerous it could be. The sledge in front of us overturned and the poor passenger who was sitting flew off into a nearby pit. The ‘driver’ who also had fallen, somehow ran and grasped the cart before the huskies ran off. You can easily imagine how our hearts were in our mouths for the rest of the journey.
Don’t get me wrong, it was insanely beautiful as we sledged our way through the forests and fresh snow falling through the heavens. But I think we were happier when it ended without any mis-adventure and I stepped off with creaking knees (due to the number of times I had applied the brakes).
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As we finished the ride, we met with the other huskies in the farm, had a warm cup of tea by the fire and started for Rovaniemi.

The 4 hours bus journey to Rovaniemi was quite pretty as we travelled through snow covered roads.

Day 4 - Chilling in Rovaniemi
We had earlier booked a trek to a frozen waterfall but we were informed that it was very slippery due to relatively higher temperatures around Rovaniemi and decided to cancel it. We spent the day exploring Rovaniemi which was a lot more touristy and commercialized than Inari.

One of the famous attractions of Rovaniemi is the Santa Claus Village. If you address a letter to Santa it's actually delivered here! There is an actual person who is employed to be the Santa (wonder if even they would have Monday office blues). The arctic circle also passes through here so it’s officially the starting point of the north.
Keeping true to its name, it offers a great festive vibe. Vibrant decorations, cozy cafes (with some amazing Reindeer burgers!) and christmas carols playing in the background made it the perfect place to spend our evening. We met a number of other fellow Indians, some of whom turned out to be great photographers!

Our Airbnb after overnight snowfall
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The neighborhood
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Santa Claus village!
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The beginning of the arctic circle!
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We had an aurora hunting tour planned for the evening. In a 3 hour drive, we were taken to multiple spots around Rovaniemi for viewing the lights but due to the bad weather, we couldn’t see anything. As it turned out, our first day was the only time we saw the lights and we were regretting not staying awake longer that night.
Though we learnt a lot of interesting things about aurora viewing, the greatest of which is the KP index. It's a measure of the strength of the geomagnetic activity which indirectly implies the strength of the aurora lights. On that particular day, the KP index was strong but the weather played a spoilsport.

There are apps which predict the KP values so along with the weather forecast, you can pretty much know beforehand if you would see the northern lights or not (We wish we had read about this before).

The high point of the trip was a bonfire with Sausages!
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Day 5 - Time to head back
With heavy hearts (and in my wife’s case, a heavy leg too, no pun intended), it was time to head back. Barring the accident, it had been a remarkable trip. Especially now when I look back, I realize it was indeed a privilege in those pre-corona times that one could point to a random place on the globe and travel, and I am glad we exercised it.

If I had to summarize our experiences into a ‘Noob’s guide for aurora hunting in Finland’, here would be some key points:
  • Winters are the best time to spot the auroras (due to the long nights).
  • There is a high chance that it's going to be way colder than anything you would have ever experienced and phrases like freezing to death starting feeling a lot more real. Have multiple layers of clothing so that you don’t have to cut short your time under the sky due to cold. If you think you are packing too many wollens, trust me you would use them all.
  • Carry hand and foot warmers, they are very helpful but do note that you need to give them sufficient breathing time to warm up.
  • Take along a good camera with a bluetooth remote, taking the hands out of the gloves is painful. Carry spare batteries as they die real quick due to the cold.
  • Use the weather and aurora forecasting apps (KP index!) to plan your itinerary.
  • Do try out the Reindeer dishes, we didn’t find too many veg or Indian options.
  • Finnish people are in general a bit shy so don’t expect the same warmth and hospitality as we are used to within India.
  • Drive or not: This was a million dollar question we faced too and though I was very tempted to drive, the general recommendation was to avoid it because of excessive snow on the roads and the low population density. Any breakdowns might leave you in the middle of nowhere in freezing temperatures. Looking back, I think it was a wise decision.
  • The aurora huts definitely offer a unique experience. If you end up being lucky, viewing Auroras from the cozyness of a room is way more comfortable than being in the open and having an existential debate with your shivering body every other moment.
  • Finally, Do not break your wife’s leg.

Last parting shot of Finland
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Post credit scenes

A week after we were back and the pain in P’s leg had worsened tremendously, we got it checked again. An MRI revealed a hairline fracture which had been severely worsened due to all the load (words like bone marrow inflammation and internal bleeding sounded scary). A cast was put on and she was advised to use a walker and not put the foot down for the next 4 weeks. We still had the audacity to check with the doctor if we could travel to Sikkim (yes we had booked it too for 2 weeks later!) but no points for guessing, the proposal got shot down.
While we worried about how she would manage with the cast for the next 8 weeks, Modiji solved those worries by announcing the lockdown and now we had other issues to look at, with one leg short and no cooking expertise in the house, but that story is for another day.

Just a final picture as a small tribute to the fighter in her due to which we could complete the trip even with a broken leg and unimaginable pain. Guess that’s what they mean by you can break the body but not the spirit!

That’s her trying to workout the upper body when she couldn’t rest her feet.
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Last edited by animeshc : 24th February 2021 at 13:46.
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Old 24th February 2021, 20:05   #4
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Default Re: Let there be lights! Aurora hunting in Finland

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Travelogues section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 24th February 2021, 23:02   #5
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Default Re: Let there be lights! Aurora hunting in Finland

Wow. Looks like a great trip and beautiful pictures too. I love places with snow & the One word that comes to mind is 'Magic'. Glad to see that you could overcome the accident incident without further issues. Do add more pictures if you have of the local/regional flights / car travel. By the way what is the deal with the Annabelle sticker in the last pic ? My girlfriend would kill me if I did that !
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Old 24th February 2021, 23:56   #6
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Default Re: Let there be lights! Aurora hunting in Finland

Great writing style, read through the entire post. Seems like I know where to go next when ever we can travel freely again.
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Old 25th February 2021, 05:54   #7
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Default Re: Let there be lights! Aurora hunting in Finland

Good on you both.

The lack of a shower, water and a 500m walk to the lobby is definitely not for everyone, that too in sub zero temperatures. I assume there are common area showers, or, do you just go without a shower for a few days? When you say dry toilets, I assume you meant the commode. Is there a sink to use? The Aurora hut is definitely on the upper end. In general, campsite huts are pretty basic and all you get for a commode is a long drop. How are the huts heated?

Is it expected that customers are to walk to their huts, regardless of weather condition? I'm trying to understand why you had to push them to provide a shuttle service of sorts after knowing your wife was injured.

I'm not sure of the type of warmer you used. Was it just woolen pull overs and a jacket on top? An alternate to wool is merino and the ones that are like a vest or body suit so they hug your skin. I'm am sure the Finnish folk have their ways of keeping the extreme cold out.
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Old 25th February 2021, 09:15   #8
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Default Re: Let there be lights! Aurora hunting in Finland

I've got Amsterdam, Prague, Helsinki, Tallinn & Georgia in mind. Hopefully the stars will line up and I'll be able to do them this year.

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By the way what is the deal with the Annabelle sticker in the last pic ? My girlfriend would kill me if I did that !
With all of us WFH, I use "The nun" background to scare people off. It's a change from always talking shop.
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Old 25th February 2021, 11:07   #9
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Default Re: Let there be lights! Aurora hunting in Finland

What an awesome travelogue! Loved reading it. The last line in your summary has to be highlight. LOL!

Would love to do this someday. Let's see what life has in store.
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Old 25th February 2021, 11:24   #10
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Default Re: Let there be lights! Aurora hunting in Finland

Terrific travelogue! The Aurora are indeed magical; we did a trip to Tromso to chase the lights and were simply spellbound by the show nature put on. Staying in the huts and doing everyday local things (Husky sledge, Snow-mobile) are such a fun way of immersing into the culture.

Speedy recovery to your Mrs. and wish you many more adventures ahead!
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Old 25th February 2021, 12:29   #11
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Default Re: Let there be lights! Aurora hunting in Finland

Lovely write up, great pics!! Thanks for making us go on a virtual trip!
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Old 25th February 2021, 13:22   #12
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Default Re: Let there be lights! Aurora hunting in Finland

Awesome travelogue Animesh! You and your braveheart for a wife sure do possess an adventurous spirit! I also must admit that I'm a big fan of your writing style. Please do continue to share your travelogues with us.

Looking forward to many more! Come back to Hyderabad soon and we'll plan a few together in the group!
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Old 25th February 2021, 14:26   #13
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Default Re: Let there be lights! Aurora hunting in Finland

A very lovely travelogue.

What was the total damage to your wallet?
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Old 25th February 2021, 21:35   #14
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Default Re: Let there be lights! Aurora hunting in Finland

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrackDay View Post
Wow. Looks like a great trip and beautiful pictures too. I love places with snow & the One word that comes to mind is 'Magic'. Glad to see that you could overcome the accident incident without further issues. Do add more pictures if you have of the local/regional flights / car travel. By the way what is the deal with the Annabelle sticker in the last pic ? My girlfriend would kill me if I did that !
Thanks, will share more pictures. Haha, she wasn't looking good in the pic and asked me to mask it. I just took the liberty on how to mask

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Good on you both.

The lack of a shower, water and a 500m walk to the lobby is definitely not for everyone, that too in sub zero temperatures. I assume there are common area showers, or, do you just go without a shower for a few days? When you say dry toilets, I assume you meant the commode. Is there a sink to use? The Aurora hut is definitely on the upper end. In general, campsite huts are pretty basic and all you get for a commode is a long drop. How are the huts heated?

Is it expected that customers are to walk to their huts, regardless of weather condition? I'm trying to understand why you had to push them to provide a shuttle service of sorts after knowing your wife was injured.

I'm not sure of the type of warmer you used. Was it just woolen pull overs and a jacket on top? An alternate to wool is merino and the ones that are like a vest or body suit so they hug your skin. I'm am sure the Finnish folk have their ways of keeping the extreme cold out.
The common showers are in the lobby so you have to walk back 500 m for a shower . There isn't a sink and a long drop as you rightly put it. The huts are heated using bio fuel. Given the snow and the slippery slope, the only 'shuttle' possible is a snowmobile and their snowmobile operators aren't available throughout the day and hence their reluctance in providing any transport.
We had multiple layers including a cashmere wool pullover beneath the Northface jacket. But it was more the legs and the feet which were getting cold, basically whatever was the weakest link! Of-course given that we stay in Hyderabad and use woolens even at +15 ℃, our ability to bear the cold is also very different from the locals there.

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A very lovely travelogue.

What was the total damage to your wallet?
Just enough that the lockdown and no further trips in the year helped us recover from it
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Old 26th February 2021, 12:11   #15
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Default Re: Let there be lights! Aurora hunting in Finland

Wow! what an awesome travelogue. Hope your wife has recovered fully.

Can you please shed some details on the money spent, specially in Finland including stay etc. It would help mortals like us will limited resources to plan better!!
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