Our second full day (and third actual day) in Rovaniemi, Lapland, saw us exploring the town. It was a Tuesday and there were a few more shops etc open. The sun didn’t rise until after 9am and we set off to grab a quick McDonald’s breakfast. Stomachs full it was time to head off to explore. We were wrapped up snug in our ski jackets, hats and gloves as it was freezing and also raining. Still no sign of snow 😢.There were such beautiful autumnal colours on the trees and the ground in stark contrast to the dull and dreary grey sky. First stop was to cross lumberjack bridge. Only opened in 1989 it was the first cable-stayed road bridge in Finland. It is meant to signify the ‘lumberjack candle,’ which is a log that has been cut into quarters or eights, but not completely, and the fire started in the middle. We crossed the bridge and kept walking to see where we would end up on the other side.There was an eerie mist over the river that reflected the views around it. Despite the gloomy grey sky, it was still pretty. We had only anticipated crossing the bridge to see the city from the other side but we found ourselves continuing to walk. The walk took us through beautiful green Christmas tree forests as we climbed higher. It started to felt quite mild, so the ski jackets came off and we found ourselves searching for an observation tower. The paths were highlighted by arrows on trees or stakes in the ground but despite this we still found ourselves doing circles in the forest. I mean you’d think an observation tower would be easy to find, but no, it took us a while that’s for sure!Eventually we found it and climbed the three steep flights of stairs. The view was beautiful and you could see for miles, the photos don’t really do it justice!After admiring the view, we made our way back down and as usual with us, found ourselves lost in the forest and came out nowhere near where we entered! There was a ring of snow through the forest that where people had used it in what appeared to be cross country style skiing. Nathan had a go in his trainers. Didn’t get far! Then it was time to find our way back to the town!The weather got no better but we were more than happy aimlessly wandering around! Especially when we stumbled across some architecture!I do love churches although this one wouldn’t allow us inside today. We found ourselves back in the town so decided to head to the Arktikum museum.The Arktikum museum is a science museum with an intriguing design about it. Just In front of the museum is one of the best places to see the Aurora Borealis without needing to trek miles outside the city or pay for a tour. Sadly it was still too cloudy for them to make an appearance. Tickets cost €13 each and its all self guided, albeit semi difficult to navigate round. You walk in to the ticket desk and then in front of you is a staircase and either side of that there are doors so you have to remember which exhibits you’ve been in.There is The Fog Bell From Petchenga towards the back of the museum which was built in the 1800s and would ring once in twenty seconds to earn ships of the foggy weather.This was as close to seeing the northern lights as we’d get. Lying in our backs in the exhibit looking up at the ceiling. Different cultures have different theories behind what the Aurora borealis means. For example, the Ancient Romans describe it as a bloody rain, used to predict wars and disasters. In China, they’re depicted as heavenly troops, a snake squirming or a dragon. In the North, the pale green colour is associated with death and beyond. The Sámi tribes believe that the auroras are living beings that talk and understand speech. They believe people should be silent whilst viewing the auroras so they don’t get taken away and also think that they get more intense as you watch them and that you can make them appear by whistling. We tried. Failed. Arctic CircleThe Treeline, beyond which trees do not growJuly Isotherm where the warmest month does not exceed 10 degrees Maximum extent of sea ice Minimum extent of sea icePermafrost where ground all year is frozen Geographical North PoleMagnetic North

There was so much information in the museum about the tribes of the North, traditions, geography and ice/weather.There were interactive displays and a history of Finland itself, including the fact the Rovaniemi was completely destroyed during World War Two and needed to be rebuilt. There were displays about the animals that inhabit the Arctic as well as the different tribes and where they’re most commonly found. There was even a section about the languages that the different tribes speak and how some are recognised as a legitimate language now however some aren’t. It was a very interesting museum!The there was the exhibit on the animals and tools that have grown and developed over the years. They had traditional Sámi dress on display too and it was beautiful!Satisfied we filled our brains with all kinds of Arctic knowledge, we headed back into town to get something to eat.The roads and lighting were rather eerie where we were staying! Because there was no cleaning fee included in the Airbnb cost, we had to clean it ourselves. This we decided to do before finding food as we wanted to take our bottles to the recycling station which then gives you money in return for each bottle you put in! We didn’t get much back but still did our bit to help the planet!It was such a pretty place lit up at night despite the drizzle from the sky. We decided to go back to Amarillo for dinner as it was SO good and we didn’t want to eat Rudolph as was advertised in many of the traditional places to eat.This time we treated ourselves to a huge jug of beer and churros! Yum! We hadn’t found Finland that expensive compared to some places we’ve been lucky enough to visit. I suppose you can make things as cheap or expensive as you want, but we were satisfied with what we paid and got to see! I mean with £61 return flights we’d saved money anyway!We did decide to head back out at about 11pm after keeping an eye on the Aurora forecast all day, which anticipated about a level 3 which could be visible as far south as we were. Back to the Arktikum it was where we perched atop the hill and waited.And we waited and waited until we realised with certainty that there was to be no northern lights tonight.

Until next time…