Jane Druker heads for Lapland with her husband Fabian to look for love under the Northern Lights
My husband and I have been together for 17 years and, this winter, we experienced our first holiday alone. Strange, I know. But we met, fell in love and got pregnant within weeks, so we have always been a triangle rather than a couple.
Our union is strong, we love each other deeply and have created a family we are proud of. We are still passionate – but our nights spent snogging are long gone, and living in a two-up, two-down cottage with a teenager inhibits spontaneous passion, I can confirm. Then an invitation to the northern tip of Finland (Lapland, in fact) arrived – the home of Northern Lights and stars that shine brightly.
Fun nights beneath furry blankets beckoned, and I did wonder: could a snowy resort rekindle passion?
Getting to Lapland
We arrived at Kittilä, Finland, after a 12-hour journey. Getting there requires two planes, as your destination is a few hundred kilometres above the Arctic Circle, with a plane change in Helsinki, so bring a good book.
The first two nights of our stay were in a hotel – one that had reindeer, loganberries and Arctic char (local fish) on the menu, a ski lift, an incredible view down the mountain of local town Levi (not pronounced like the jeans but instead rhymes with Chevy). And, did we that night rediscover our ‘hey, no kids around, we can be naked’ bedroom time? You betcha!
We woke the following morning to utter Christmas card beauty – Tipp-Ex-topped fir trees, snow thick on the ground. Winter wonderland – tick. Cleanest air you’ll ever breathe – tick. Husband’s birthday – yep, also ticked. So, I pop to Levi and buy him the local Finnish classic present, a wooden Kuksa cup for coffee-drinking, which looks positively Viking. We start our day with herring, pickles and egg butter.
Husky sleds and wild reindeer
After breakfast it’s a drive to the mountains, which are mired in cloud and spontaneously come across a herd of reindeer – owned by a local – which is perhaps why they are not afraid of humans, totally friendly and completely calm. It’s such an amazing experience to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat that I’m quite overwhelmed and a teensy bit emotional.
Our local guide Riikko (who is a fabulous driver on the ice – the Finnish are among the best drivers in the world as their driving test includes how to control a car when you slide) says it’s an unusual coincidence for her too and that they don’t tend to roam in big packs, so to come across this many reindeer just chilling out (literally!) is indeed special.
Next stop is the Husky Park, where we are met by the original wolf man, adventurer, husky sled team champion and husky breeder – and straight- out-of-Central-Casting Santa Claus lookalike Reijo Jääskeläinen. He doesn’t speak much English but is a charismatic character to whom the wolves and huskies and I bow down. He has competed with huskies around the world, and now runs the husky park rides and trains them for roles in movies (seriously!).
I am allowed to hold two five-week-old husky pups and also step into one of the fenced-off areas to pet eight-week-old puppies still living with their mother – a wolf sizing me up very suspiciously. Then we go to the sleds, walk across a frozen lake and, on the way, pet Reijo’s (grumpy) white reindeer. We’re singing ‘Who let the dogs out‘ while a wolf family run in circles around us with Reijo at the helm. It’s magical.
So what makes a good husky sled team, I ask the boss. ‘Power at the back of the pack, agility at the front and social characters all around,’ he answers. We don’t want to leave but after two hours outside – even in thermals, layers, huge coats and walking boots – the spa beckons.
We end the day with a local meal of beetroot and reindeer (which is light and delicate but rich in flavour), and spend another happy, dark, starry night. We both feel totally alive in such a visceral, physical sense and – ahem – we’re behaving like teenagers again.
Staying in an igloo
On our last day, we checked in to our very own igloo. Perched mountainside with extraordinary views, it’s a complete five-star experience.
Offering total privacy in a heavenly location, we tuck in to a six-course supper of local delicacies including elk and fish roe. We also enjoy our own private sauna and jacuzzi from which we view a sky so full of stars and constellations, and witness the Northern Lights, which are like someone painting the sky with a fluorescent highlighter pen. Absolutely. Breathtaking.
And did we get some action in that igloo? What do you think…
Jane and Fabian took a glass igloo and Northern Lights five-day winter break with Best Served which combines stays in a fell-top igloo and at Levi Panorama in the heart of Finnish Lapland. Prices start from £910 per person including flights.