I have now finalized my plans for my trip to Arctic Finland and Norway.
On Saturday 19 January I take the 19.24 train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi, the capital of Lappi. I arrive in Rovaniemi the next morning on Sunday 20 January at 07.49. After eating breakfast in the city, I will head off to visit the Arktikum, the museum devoted to Arctic culture and history. Each time I had been to Rovaniemi in 2000 (four times!) I had no time at all to visit this science centre. Now I will go. I will get the bus at 17.05 from the train station to Tanu Bru, Norway, arriving on Monday 21 January at 00.25. Norway is one hour behind Finland time. I am staying overnight at the Comfort Tana Hotell (NOK 500, includes breakfast; 500 NOK = $89.62 Canadian dollars). I will visit Tana Bru and leave at 15.55 for Vadsø. I arrive in Vadsø at 17.05 and stay overnight at Lailas Hotell (NOK 550, includes breakfast; 550 NOK = $98.59 Canadian dollars).
I visit Vadsø and leave on Tuesday 22 January at 14.20 for Vardø, the northeasternmost point in Norway. I have enquired and yes, there is a post office there! Look at the postal mark on your next postcard! I will arrive in Vardø at 15.50. I am staying two nights in Vardø at either the Vardo Hotell or a private residence. It’s still unknown where I will be staying, but fortunately I will have a place. The Vardø Hotell is expensive: 850 NOK per night, breakfast included = $152.32 a night. Pricy, but how often am I going to be staying on the coast of the Arctic Ocean? I will be in Vardø until Thursday 24 January. I leave at 14.15 for Vadsø, and arrive at 15.40. Then I catch the bus at 16.10 for Tana Bru, where I arrive at 17.20 and stay overnight. Er, where I stay for practically no part of the night, since the one-and-only bus from Tana Bru to Rovaniemi leaves on Friday 25 January at 03.10! Geez! Perhaps I will stay up until the departure time, and see Tana Bru, then sleep on the bus. I won’t arrive in Rovaniemi until 12.20, so I’ve got eight hours on board. (Clocks go one hour ahead when we cross back into Finland.) The final bus stop in Rovaniemi is the train station, and I hope to catch the 12.45 train back to Helsinki, arriving home at 22.58, and a warm bed to crash in.
Aside from the hotel in Vardø, this will not be an expensive trip. The return train fare is going to be 120 euros ( = $171 CDN). Bus fare is calculated by the number of kilometres you travel and the total return bus fare for all my stopover trips will be exactly the same as the train fare. So my transportation will cost me around $350 CDN.
I cannot wait to gaze out into the kaamos glow at the Arctic Ocean. Maybe I will see the Northern Lights, or revontulet in Finnish.
One of my favourite musical groups is the Finnish dectet Värttinä. I was so fortunate to have seen the band perform twice in concert during the summer of 2000. Since then I have kept in contact with bass player Pekka Lehti, and we are planning to meet this week. Pekka has a new album out called Outo voima.