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Trip Report Chasing the Magic Lights

Welcome to visit and leave comments for full blog and afterthought - http://wp.me/p5Lw9a-2Y

Northern lights are actually collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the atmosphere. To view the bright dancing lights in the Arctic Circle during the peak season, Finland was on the top of my list mostly because of direct flights that took me from my hometown to Helsinki, closeness to the Arctic Circle, and state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure.

Right, the sparsely populated Lapland offered excellent communication network and it’s clean and warm everywhere. In Nellim (a village in Lapland – Google map it ), I still have mobile 3G coverage to keep up with the rest of the world! #GREAT #3G (But of course, maybe the same case for the rest of the Europe, US and Canada??) More, I could buy a pre-paid sim card for a few Euros and enjoy unlimited 3G network (However, when I was there in 2014 - they have pre-paid sim card, but no nano-sim - which means not available for iPhone 5...)

The driver who picked me up to the resort told me though – hospitals were so far away, the locals were joking about most Lapland babies were now born in cars, since ladies couldn’t make it to the hospital; and if you unfortunately break an arm, be patient, a helicopter will bring you to the nearest hospital in the state's capital- Rovaniemi, a couple hundred miles away.

To catch the Nothern Lights, some said 2013 was the peak year and the strength would deteriorate; turned out 2014 still, and now somehow 2015 still (but the last year of the 13-year cycle?); some recommended Norway, Iceland, Alaska, Canada, Finland; some said December was not the best time, some said February, some said March. Well, true, there could be a MOST ACTIVE year of sun particles collisions (according to the scientist), there could be a BEST location (according to the closeness of the Arctic circle?), there could be a best period of time (typically December to March) - but the luck still depends on YOU. I heard that some of my friends visited the Iceland fourth time to finally see the Northern lights; it could be bad weather, it could be bad timing… Northern light is a natural phenomenon, sometimes you see it, sometimes you don’t; when it comes, it could be of your least expected time or least expected occasion. Just be prepared and enjoy the trip.

Actually, there were still a lot of things to see and do in Lapland, Finland during the winter time. Most visitors (like me) usually fly off from the Capital, Helsinki, to different cities in Lapland and stay for a few days to catch the Northern Lights. Local tour companies or resorts usually have a similar list with all sorts of daytime activities, (such as reindeer visits, Sami cultural tour, Husky experience, Snowmobile, Horse sled ride, Snowshoeing, etc) and the most important events at night – Northern Lights hunting.

I have done some research on different cities and resorts, somehow I ended up choosing the resort in Nellim; because it is packaged (room, meals, 4 days of daily activities), the price is reasonable, and the flight time suits me. It could be a little bit cheaper if you book everything separately; however, trust me, it won’t worth the hassle, the total cost for the same activities would end up similar – no matter you book a package, or separately. Besides, you could contact the resort and customize your daily activities, usually, the hotel staff would be happy to cope with your requests.
I didn’t make a bad choice after all. For the 5 days, I had a great time in the secluded resort, had fun in the daily activities and knew some new people. The facilities were clean and the food was yummy. (Beside, just sign up for the Sauna room and relax after a day of activities)
I enjoyed the amazing view of the frozen lake with the Husky safari, I wore a special snow shoe and hike in the wild, we had fun chopping woods and made fire for a nice barbecue party, I tried driving the snowmobiles and sleds, and I learnt cross-country skiing. ~

I only saw a giant explosion of Northern lights the first night I arrived the resort and I didn’t even grab a camera with me. (I did some research on how to take photos with your camera, but the outcome was not that good – I did not use a DSLR (Professional Camera)…) Then it was snowing and cloudy at night. I met some nice Taiwanese (who can speak perfect English) in the resort and they asked me out one night and we waited around until 3am on the lake but in vain. However, we had a nice time and nice talk, sometimes “anticipation of happiness can sometimes be as gratifying as its consummation”…? - Gaynor Arnold

Afterthoughts / Tips for taking photos ! : http://wp.me/p5Lw9a-2Y

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