In 2005 I made a huge roadtrip to Finland. It’s still one of my favourite trips ever, mostly because I saw so much nature on that trip. Northern Europe is a true wilderness, and often we could drive for a whole day without seeing a single other person on the road. The only disadvantage is that I took this trip before meeting my lovely husband. I’ll have to show him & my lovely girl this beautiful country one day!
In a series of blogposts I’ll take you through the 8250 km I spent up North. I’m pretty certain that you’ll want to do the same afterwards…
Part 1: the road there
Finland is a big country and we wanted to see a big part of it. We also wanted to take our dog Daiko along with us, so we chose not to fly & drive, but just to drive up there.
On day 1 we drove from our home in Wondelgem (near Gent) to Copenhagen in Denmark.
We camped throughout the whole trip, also in Copenhagen. The campsite was very very basic (not even a tree in sight) and we were practically the only ones there. The cosy citycentre & the busy Nyhavn made up for that though. We ate a nice, though expensive dinner in Barock, along the waterfront of Nyhavn. I was in Copenhagen last year, and much to my surprise the prices are a lot lower than they were in 2005 – which is great for anybody visiting the city right now :-)
We ticked off at 1116,7 km that day and were pretty exhausted. The next morning, we decided to take a walk along the beach before starting off our second leg on the road to Rovaniemi.
We decided to drive for about the same amount of km’s and find a spot to pitch our tent for the night. We drove endlessly through the Swedish countryside, following the road along the coast. Most of the times that meant driving in between pine forests and seeing the typical red wooden houses.
Finally, we reached 1117,9 km on the counter and found a nice little lake to pitch our tent next to. We set up camp and cooked up some dinner. We thought it was around 8 PM, maybe 9… but it turned out to be just before midnight when we checked. Much to our surprise, we already found ourselves in the area where the sun never really sets in summertime!
The benefit of camping in Northern Europe (Sweden, Finland, Norway) is that you can actually pitch your tent where you like. There are some basic rules (you have to keep away about 400m from private property and ofcourse leave nothing behind), but you are also free to go fishing, pluck berries, etc… The basic idea is that the land belongs to everybody. Lovely idea!
On the third and final day we had a good 722,8 km on the counter before arriving in Lapland. We chose to camp out in Rovaniemi the first couple of days and found a lovely camping near the river Kemijoki.
On the first day there we chose to relax a bit. I made a brief visit to the Arktikum, a lovely museum where you can learn alot of things about life in the Polar regions: wildlife, Saami life and the Aurora Borealis are all explained there.
The main attraction of Rovaniemi is the Arctic circle, along with the Santa Claus Post Office. It’s the official residence of the bearded man and a must stop for everybody that passes there.
As we drove back to our campsite, we had a final surprise: our very first reindeer!
In the next post: a two day trek through Urho Kekkonen National Park