I’m going in the winter. So instead of the Land of the Midnight Sun, I think I’ve signed up for the Land of the Midnight Dark-as-it-should-be.
Not much Sun. A lot of snow and cold. And somehow I am still really damn excited about the whole thing.
I’m going to Finland next month!
Finland during the winter would not have made my list of things to do until I started examining the options available in the last few weeks and gotten more and more enthralled with each article I’ve read and photograph I’ve seen.
I have realized I just needed to man-up, buy some warm clothing, and deal with my trepidation of the cold, because there are a variety of options available only during the winter months that rock.
So here are some of the things they have planned for me:
I’m headed to the far north and the village of Luosto to stay in a log cabin. While I’m there, I will take my first-ever tour of a mine, in this case an amethyst mine. Oddly, I think that is my birth stone.
Then I will engage in the most Finnish of Finland traditions…
The Finnish Sauna
Let me quote from the materials the Finland Tourism Board sent me:
Sauna is for every occasion in Finland, for business as much as for leisure. The Finns believe that due to its social nature and relaxing effect, the sauna is an excellent place for negotiations, and exchange of ideas and opinions. In ancient times, the sauna in Finland was linked to spiritual and religious ceremonies and healing. The sauna meant a quiet, peaceful place and a clean and warm haven. Saunas have always had a very strong significance and social importance.
The health benefits of ice swimming have been thoroughly researched. Due to the drastic changes in temperature the discharge of stress hormones is increased and both blood circulation and metabolism are improved. Studies have shown that people who swim regularly have significantly lower blood pressure and a better tolerance of the cold. Many swimmers say that all aches and pains disappear in the water.You can feel the effects of ice swimming even after the very first dip in the icy water. Blood rushes through your veins, your body is pumped with adrenaline and the feeling of achievement brings a smile to your face: “I did it!”
A couple things to note about the sauna experience. First, they are apparently serious about me jumping into some ice lake. Sauna. Ice lake. Sauna. Ice Lake. Hmmmmm….
“Stress hormones?” That can’t be good, right? Under the logic that the discharge of stress hormones will help me, should I let wild animals chase me next time I’m down in Namibia? Or try strolling blindfolded across the streets of Cairo?
Color me a skeptic, but in the name of research, I just might… might make the plunge.
Second, unlike the photo, apparently this whole sauna experience is nude. And co-ed. Suffice it to say that I am not going to be posting any photos or video.
It’s Not All Naked Fun
From there, my Finnish adventure takes off for more adrenaline pumping activities. They have set me up to do some ice climbing. Yep. Ice climbing.
Let’s hope that doesn’t translate to ice-falling-and-going-to-the-hospital.
Then an activity that I feel I will be able to successfully conquer — a husky dog safari through the snowy forest. I not only am a huge dog lover (and quite miss my black lab, Satchel, who was a constant companion of mine for 14+ years), but I think I will also be able to take some really fun video on my first dog sled ride.
And I am hoping to get lucky and for the first time in my life and…
See the Northern Lights
I have been browsing through dozens upon dozens of photographs of the Northern Lights in recent months and become completely enchanted. Just seeing the lights for the first time would be an experience of a lifetime. I am crossing my fingers right now, which does make typing this more difficult than usual.
On this trip, I am going to also be trying some new things to keep you updated, such as daily postings on my Facebook Page. So, if you aren’t already following me over there, you might want to click through and like that page to keep up with everything.
One of the things I started doing since I got my Galaxy SIII is being more active on Instagram and you can rest assured that I will be posting up dozens of photos over there of this trip.