Out of the Arctic

Our final full day here in Finland was mostly spent driving back to civilization. We slept in until the sun was just starting to peek over the horizon (so, around 9am), and then had fun playing for a couple more hours in the snow in the “Everymans land” around the camper. It was flurrying off and on and feeling quite pretty at -5C. The camper is so snug and warm, though. 

 I had to venture outside at 3am to change the gas canister.  We have one full one to use for the rental, but the prior renters didn’t finish so we had been using up their spare <1/4 tank, which lasted a long time… 3 whole days and nights of heating and frig…. So, coldness and flashing lights woke me and I wandered out into the crispness to unscrew (it’s back-screwed FYI) the old and screw the hose on the new.  The heat didn’t immediately kick back on, even after flipping the safety button.  So I spent a while lookin at the manual in Finnish before just turning the whole system off and back on with a flush of heated success!

In the morning, we found a trail to another set of lakes just over the hill and crossed a sketchy log bridge to an island in the center.  The kids really wanted to test the ice, but I was mean mommy and wouldn’t let them even though it seemed thick and even though their were fresh reindeer – “who can weigh 150 kilos, mom” Zoe reminded me – tracks all over the snow powder.

 The drive back south along road 4 went quicker than I recalled, even with a stop to make lunch at a pullout, have the kids play, and await a passing snow squall. By sunset (so, 3:30ish) we pulled into our spot from the first night.  Spent the last rays of sunny twilight messing around and bidding adeux to Zoes precious ice ball that has lived in the freezer the last few says. We decorated a little pine tree and made the ball the star for the top. This family is in the Christmas spirit already!

In the camper it was schoolwork and showers for all, plus I packed and cleaned while the kids watched a movie on my old phone.

Overnight the sky was crystal clear but we saw no aurora.  I’m sad we missed out on any this trip.  I guess we will need to visit the cold north again sometime. Avi was awake most of the night with a yucky belly, visiting the toilet to try and throw up no less than five times until it actually came and provided relief around 4am.  So, I know there was no aurora all night.

My alarm buzzed at 530 and I was super sleepy, but needed to empty the toilet and any leftover water before returning the vehicle.  The toilet is easy!  It’s in a cassette – a small tank that just pops in and out.  I carried it to the little outhouses and dumped it, added water to swirl and clean a few times and that’s it. Simple and easy – no dump stations around here.  But it was dark and cold, so I hussled with that and the trash before waking the kids and getting on our way.  I fueled up.  The   diesel tank was 100 euros to fill; I drove nearly 800km on that tank.  Seemed like decent mileage to me!

We met the owner, Janne, at the storage yard and he drove us to the airport where we boarded a quick one hour Finnair flight to Helsinki.  It was slightly complex as I had booked a round trip from Tallin knowing we would not make the full round trip but instead get off during our layover in Helsinki….the round trip was cheaper than a one way ticket!  So, I couldn’t check a bag.  That meant we all wore our bulky snow gear on the flight so my backpack was small and hand-luggage worthy; made extra challenging with that reindeer hide I bought (remember that Turkish rug we lugged around eastern europe, Bethany? Not as bad as that). In Helsinki we changed clothes, I repacked, we exited security missing our connecting Tallin flight, and checked in on Norwegian airlines for a flight to Madrid – with a checked bag, and one “personal item” in the form of a reindeer hide in a Bonn International School sport pack 🙂 we found a playland to waste an hour and boarded our four hour flight home.

It’s amazing that Norwegian airlines is a budget carrier – bags and food cost extra – but there is free wifi on board, from which I am updating the blog! Bryan will meet us in Madrid; his flight from Tallin being just a bit after ours.  Convenient deployment, huh?

Oh, and here are the alps…

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