There is no other sound except crunching of snow under their feet and tinkling of sleigh bells tied around their neck. I am cozily snuggled in a wooden sled with a rug casually thrown over me. It is half past midnight with temperature dipping to around minus 20 degrees. There is a chill in the air as expected. We are passing through a snow covered forest and the reindeer are gently pulling my sleigh moving in line. Reindeer, sleigh and snow … that’s what one expects in a Nordic region during peak winter. ..
One question I get asked on a daily basis is, “So, what’s your favorite place?” I’m not a fan of having to answer that question constantly, but I understand why people ask me, so I have a quick go-to response: “My favorite countries are Croatia, Italy, South Africa, Thailand, and Japan.”
But that list is incomplete. It says nothing about how I feel about Finland.
Tromso, the city in my heart where I have spent most of my life, is located at 69°North in the Arctic part of Norway. Although it is relatively small with its 73 000 inhabitants it has much to offer visitors all year round.
In the quiet of this crisp windless morning, the trees seem so still. The tall pines surround the graves, solemn in their silence, as though they are mourners gathered around for a perpetual funeral ceremony. As rigid as the tombstones, they seem to be empathising with the dead that they watch over.
From reindeer and Huskies to the magical northern lights, Finnish Lapland has captured my imagination for a long time.
Being part-Scandinavian (my grandfather was from Bergen), I’ve always been obsessed with those Scandi countries.
If I had to give 2017 a theme it would have to be cheap flights.
Thanks to having a base in Portugal, which made return flights a viable option for the first time in six years, I’ve been bashing out round-trips at incredibly inexpensive prices this year.
When most people hear “islands” and “Northern Norway” in the same sentence, chances are visions of the now-famous Lofoten Islands are likely to pop into their heads. In fact, if you go and Google “northern Norway islands,” the very first result that comes up is about the Lofoten Islands.
As the largest city in Scandinavia, Stockholm, Sweden, has always been on my radar. And yet, despite multiple trips to the region (mostly to Norway), it took me a few years to actually make it there.
For my second visit to Iceland, I opted for something quite different than the first visit. Where a year previous I had headed to Iceland by myself for a solo-road trip that took me up to the Western Fjords, this trip would be similar in length but a shared road trip with four friends.
“If you were to go and knock on that door,” one of the officials tells me, “the King might answer. That’s his study.”
I assume he is joking about the King answering, but not about where the door leads. That’s how close I am.
If you're going to Stockholm, be sure to set aside some time to spend underground.
This may seem like strange advice, especially in a city that's as visually appealing as Stockholm. But I promise that there's a good reason for you to spend some time underground.