Lemonicks https://www.lemonicks.com Acclaimed Travel blog of an Indian couple who bring travel stories from across the globe. Sun, 20 Aug 2017 09:23:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 Hitchhiking in Turbulent Israel https://www.lemonicks.com/asia/israel/hitchhiking-in-turbulent-israel/ https://www.lemonicks.com/asia/israel/hitchhiking-in-turbulent-israel/#comments Wed, 26 Jul 2017 04:40:38 +0000 https://www.lemonicks.com/?p=20191 We meet many people on the road, both locals and travelers alike who help us in time of need or distress without expecting a return. Last week of every month I bring you stories from travelers who have experienced kindness on the road and like to share and spread it for the love of travel.

This month’s story has come from Netherlands’s Jacomijn Heupink who takes us to Israel, that too during Shabbat. No one would know it better than me how difficult it could get during Shabbat. As a tourist, you might get into trouble if you don’t … Read the rest

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We meet many people on the road, both locals and travelers alike who help us in time of need or distress without expecting a return. Last week of every month I bring you stories from travelers who have experienced kindness on the road and like to share and spread it for the love of travel.

This month’s story has come from Netherlands’s Jacomijn Heupink who takes us to Israel, that too during Shabbat. No one would know it better than me how difficult it could get during Shabbat. As a tourist, you might get into trouble if you don’t plan in advance. Read here to know what Jacomijn’s experience was.

Over to Jacomijn Heupink.
= = = = =

When you know me and know my blog… You know that I’m a police officer and will be traveling safe. Maybe sometimes people are surprised by what I feel is safe but still… nothing bad has ever happened to me in my years of backpacking around this wonderful world. My confidence in mankind hasn’t been affected by my work, by the situations I can be part of when working. Life is good, people are most of the time sincere and helpful!! The world is a beautiful place to live in!!

So this time I am about to tell you about when I was visiting Israel. I see you thinking already.. hmm Israel. That place we only see in the news when there was an attack again in the Gaza or when there has been suicide attacker somewhere that killed innocent people and children. But Israel is also the place to be when you love to interact with people, to see that ancient old history in Jerusalem that everybody knows about or if you want to float in the Dead Sea!!

hitchhiking in turbulent Israel

So when I visited Israel I did it all! I visited Jerusalem for a couple of days before heading out to the desert to go climb the impressive Masada mountain and to go floating in the Dead Sea. Best experience yet I must say. I was so shocked by the force of it. You really get pushed out of it. But the next day, it was Shabbat .. I couldn’t get out of the desert so to enjoy this day I wanted to go to the Dead Sea again.

On Shabbat in Israel nobody works, it is like the Sunday used to be for us in the old days. No transport, no restaurant and no shops. So I couldn’t get out of the desert to go to Haifa because the buses wouldn’t drive until just after sunset. So I had the day to spend in the desert still. I didn’t hesitated about my idea to go float again, to feel that strange sensation yet another time, But the problem… no bus to go there. No other way to go there than to go hitchhiking.

On my way to the dead sea I got a lift from two German tourists but on my way back I didn’t get anything. Then I was happy to get a ride from a young Israeli couple. They just had a relaxed weekend on the dead sea too. They had a toddler at home and they needed some time for themselves!! They were on their way back home and were happy to take me with them. And I was so happy to get that ride.

I felt really safe with them. They were really sweet with each other and were a happy young couple!

After a while we were at the intersection they could stop but they wouldn’t want me to walk that last part. They were making sure that I would be back at my hotel. So they went out of their path and went that bit further making me happy! How sweet is that?

They were happy to talk to me and ask me questions about my life in Holland and why I was visiting Israel. They were of course happy to hear me talk positive about their country. I made sure they knew their actions were helping to make it an even better experience than it already was!

So when I got out and we were saying goodbye the lady made sure that I got some water. They were persistent. The shops are closed…you need to drink because weather was hot. Take the cold water and enjoy it!!

They made my day a perfect third day in the desert of Israel!!

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Jacomijn is a Dutch travel blogger who loves to travel solo and blogs at Safe and Healthy Travel. When not traveling she works as a police officer in The Netherlands. She loves to take challenges and get out of her comfort zone to really experience the world and its wonders!! When following her you’ll get to see a yoga pose every now and then on the greatest spots in this wonderful world.
Stay Safe and Keep Healthy!!

You may also want to read some of the earlier posts on the same theme.
Kindness on the Road
Surviving America
Good deed not dead!
Lost and found

If you have been helped by someone during your travels and want to share your story with the world, feel free to connect with me in comments section.

If you want to travel places with us, I suggest you to join us on my Facebook travel page.
P.S.- This article belongs to www.lemonicks.com. Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited. If you are viewing this on a website instead of your RSS feed reader, then that website is guilty of stealing our content. Kindly do us a favour. Please visit our site and help us taking action by letting us know against this theft. Thank you.

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Pictures of Finland in Winter https://www.lemonicks.com/europe/finland/pictures-finland-winter-winterland/ https://www.lemonicks.com/europe/finland/pictures-finland-winter-winterland/#comments Sun, 09 Jul 2017 04:40:19 +0000 https://www.lemonicks.com/?p=19230 Pictures Finland Winter. If you search for these three words on the net, you are bound to say Wow! With an open mouth. 😀

Indeed, a dream destination!

What a fantastic feeling it is to look out of the window to see everything being bathed in white. Snow white! Snow!
If you are familiar with this sight and expression then you probably are aware you are in a beautiful place on this earth.

Finland, the Nordic wonderland sandwiched between Sweden and Russia celebrates year 2017 as centenary of its independence with yearlong celebrations. There can’t be a better reason or … Read the rest

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Pictures Finland Winter. If you search for these three words on the net, you are bound to say Wow! With an open mouth. 😀

Indeed, a dream destination!

What a fantastic feeling it is to look out of the window to see everything being bathed in white. Snow white! Snow!
If you are familiar with this sight and expression then you probably are aware you are in a beautiful place on this earth.

Finland, the Nordic wonderland sandwiched between Sweden and Russia celebrates year 2017 as centenary of its independence with yearlong celebrations. There can’t be a better reason or time than 2017 to visit Finland.

Here I show you a slice of winter wonderland called Finland.

Saariselkä

In the wilderness, surrounded by pine trees

Picture yourself waking up to the sound of wilderness, spending the day crossing the expanse in the dramatic landscapes of Lapland, appeasing your hunger for adventure. Kids waste no time in rushing outside to make their snowmen while adults dig out their winter sports equipment.

Finland. I immediately fell in love with the country and its people. The temperature was mostly subzero but the warmth in people’s heart overpowered it. The arrival of the cold, dark, snowy winter doesn’t mean life stops. On the contrary Finns not only survive it, but enjoy it! And we did the same!

Holiday Club Resort in evening.
pictures finland winter
I love this picture for everything it depicts about Lapland. Expanse of snow & forests, gloomy day and yet there are colors and life to complement that.

Doesn’t matter if Helsinki has little snow, there’s often up to a metre or more on the skiing slopes of Lapland. The snow season in northern Finland begins in November and lasts at least until May.

pictures finland winter winterland @lemonicks.com
Isn’t it a fairy land? 🙂

Santa has an office too!

Saimaa

Row houses of Holiday Club Resorts
Skating on frozen Lake Saimaa
Reindeer Safari, anyone?
What a blessing to have a Sauna on the frozen lake Saimaa:)

Helsinki

Winter in Finland varies in duration from three to seven months, depending on the part of the country, but regardless of location, it’s cold, dark and snowy. But these adjectives don’t disrupt life. Finns will get to do their daily chores and go to work or school in the morning, no matter how cold it is or how much snow has fallen. The people of Finland know how to make the most of the winter months.

Helsinki Cathedral in Senate Square
Trams run only in Helsinki city and that’s the best part of it. 🙂 Ask me why? .
Helsinki Railway Station. Inside it’s so lively and warm.
These windows stole my heart on a cold gloomy evening

Porvoo

Store houses along the frozen river Porvoo
Old Town Hall of Porvoo
The frozen river Porvoo in Black & White
A street that leads to the river

Have you been to Finland during winters? Do you want to go there?

If you want to travel places with us, I suggest you to join us on my Facebook travel page.
P.S.- This article belongs to www.lemonicks.com. Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited. If you are viewing this on a website instead of your RSS feed reader, then that website is guilty of stealing my content. Kindly do me a favour. Please visit my site and help me taking action by letting me know against this theft. Thank you.

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Kindness is Everywhere in Iran https://www.lemonicks.com/asia/iran/kindness-everywhere-in-iran/ https://www.lemonicks.com/asia/iran/kindness-everywhere-in-iran/#comments Tue, 27 Jun 2017 05:40:04 +0000 https://www.lemonicks.com/?p=20169 We meet many people on the road, both locals and travelers alike who help us in time of need or distress without expecting a return. Last week of every month I bring you stories from travelers who have experienced kindness on the road and like to share and spread it for the love of travel.

Kathleen Poon takes us to Iran for this month’s story. Let us see what she has to say about people of Iran. I am excited. 😀
Over to Kathleen Poon.
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Ancient ruins Persepolis

We had already been in Iran for … Read the rest

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We meet many people on the road, both locals and travelers alike who help us in time of need or distress without expecting a return. Last week of every month I bring you stories from travelers who have experienced kindness on the road and like to share and spread it for the love of travel.

Kathleen Poon takes us to Iran for this month’s story. Let us see what she has to say about people of Iran. I am excited. 😀
Over to Kathleen Poon.
= = = = =

Ancient ruins Persepolis

We had already been in Iran for five days, and by this time, my sister and I were convinced that travelling in the land of Persia was indeed a positive experience. Due to the negative media publicity about Iran, understandably there are many misconceptions surrounding this country. Every preconception I had about Iran was challenged on each day of the trip. We were delighted by the rich Persian history, architecture, art, delectable food but the one thing that truly amazed us was the kindness of Iranians, and this reality was quite evident when we were driven from Shiraz to Esfahan.

Tomb of Hafez-Shiraz

*****

The melancholic Persian songs played on the car radio lulled us to sleep. I don’t know what the songs were about but it must have been about love, lost love, heartache, or…perhaps a lost goat.

Although the car had air-conditioning, we could see the weather outside was hot. It was spring in Iran, there were times when temperatures shot up to mid-30 degrees Celsius and got uncomfortably hot. We drove past dry and rugged landscape; some areas were dotted with cypress trees but the land was arid and barren.

Our driver’s name was Mustafa and he was tasked to drive us, not only around the tourist sites in Shiraz but from Shiraz to Esfahan as well, after which we would be dropped off at our hotel in Esfahan. We didn’t interact much with him for he spoke little English but he seemed like a nice man.

Mustafa was a careful driver and took care of us during our five-hour journey from Shiraz to Esfahan. He made sure we were comfortably cool with the air-con, and every now and then he asked us, “OK?”. We gave him the thumbs up and went back to sleep.

Morris minor toycar-Mustafa’s car

Mid-way through our journey we stopped in a small town. Mustafa could not say ‘lunch’ in English but made the sign for eating, and so we understood. He led us to a restaurant and as soon as we sat down at the table, the waiters gave us the menu but Mustafa said ‘wait’. We were puzzled as to why he wanted to us wait. Nevertheless, we waited, looked at the menu which was unfortunately in Farsi and there were no pictures.

We asked the waiter for a menu in English but he could not understand us. Once again Mustafa asked us to “wait”. Wait for what? What seemed like an interminable time, we decided to go ahead to order our food and not press for an English-language menu. As long as we could see what others were eating, and if the dishes looked good, we would order the same!

‘Mustafa, we order now, we eat’.
‘Wait’, said Mustafa looking flustered, and he disappeared.

Within a minute or two, Mustafa returned to our table with a gentleman who happened to be a tour guide with a group of Italian seniors. The tour guide spoke to us in English that firstly, Mustafa would like to apologize for making us wait as he was looking for someone in the restaurant to help translate for him, and secondly, he would like to recommend the fesenjan, a local dish of grilled chicken served with walnut and pomegranate sauce!

We could not believe that he went all out to find someone who could communicate with us! We were so touched by Mustafa’s thoughtfulness that we invited him to join us for lunch. But he politely declined and the tour guide continued to translate that Mustafa’s wife had packed lunch for him and that he would eat in the car.

*****

The kindness that we experienced at the restaurant was just another unexpected thing that we encountered during our trip in Iran. Unexpected because of the general misconception that Iran is hostile towards foreigners.

Some might say, perhaps they are kind to tourists in hope to receive tips. That could be true, however, offering hospitality is part of the Persian culture and national pride, therefore many Iranians are genuine and warm towards foreigners. In fact, the driver who picked us up from the airport in Tehran offered dinner at his house with his family. However, we declined because we had only just arrived in the country, feeling excited but mostly mixed with trepidation, unsure of the situation in this misunderstood country. A few days later, the same driver mentioned that his dinner invite at his house was genuine, it wasn’t for money. If only we were brave to accept his invitation!

Not only are they kind towards foreign tourists, Iranians are well-mannered and soft-spoken. I love listening to them speak in Farsi for the language sounds wonderfully poetic and just as well that the Persian culture is renowned for their poetry. Because of their genteel nature, Iranians despise poor behavior, as such, they speak gently and respectfully towards one another. Once again, that was apparent upon arriving in Esfahan.

Mustafa is a local guy from Shiraz, and I could sense that he wasn’t sure of the route to our hotel in the city centre because he stopped three times to ask for directions. Each time he stopped to ask for help, be it from a young or elderly person, they gladly gave information. No one was rude to him or looked away to avoid giving help. Even at the traffic lights – as the lights turned green, a truck driver continued to give directions to Mustafa for additional five seconds, and yet no one honked at us!

Bicycles for rent

My sister and I found it very surprising because it is uncommon in my home country Malaysia where people are afraid of strangers stopping to ask for directions. Many Malaysians are generally not familiar with street names, they rely on landmarks instead. Also, there have had been snatch theft incidents on the pretext of asking for directions. As a result, Malaysians are more wary than usual – they either walk away or brush off the stranger.

But not in Iran.

*****

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Kathleen is a travel writer and blogger from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She blogs at Kat Pegi Mana: Where Is Kat Going . Her friends often ask her, “Where is Kat Going”, whenever they meet for they see the wanderlust in her! Through her blog and writing, Kathleen aims to inspire people to appreciate and connect with various heritage and cultures around the world.

You may also want to read some of the earlier posts on the same theme.
Kindness on the Road
Surviving America
Good deed not dead!
Lost and found

If you have been helped by someone during your travels and want to share your story with the world, feel free to connect with me in comments section.

If you want to travel places with us, I suggest you to join us on my Facebook travel page.
P.S.- This article belongs to www.lemonicks.com. Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited. If you are viewing this on a website instead of your RSS feed reader, then that website is guilty of stealing our content. Kindly do us a favour. Please visit our site and help us taking action by letting us know against this theft. Thank you.

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Finnair Review Economy Class A330-300 https://www.lemonicks.com/europe/finland/finnair-review-economy-class-a330-300/ https://www.lemonicks.com/europe/finland/finnair-review-economy-class-a330-300/#comments Fri, 23 Jun 2017 03:51:19 +0000 https://www.lemonicks.com/?p=20285

I looked down through my window. I was flying over a range of some barren mountains with sporadic snow covered peaks in sight. Where was I exactly? My immediate reaction was to look at the screen in front of my seat. The flight map showed we had crossed Pakistan and now I was flying over Kabul, Afghanistan. Afghanistan, one of my dream destinations. At least I could see how it looks from above. 🙂

As the flight moved further up north, the brown mountains changed into sparkling white. It looked like the glistening snow was inviting me with open arms. … Read the rest

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I looked down through my window. I was flying over a range of some barren mountains with sporadic snow covered peaks in sight. Where was I exactly? My immediate reaction was to look at the screen in front of my seat. The flight map showed we had crossed Pakistan and now I was flying over Kabul, Afghanistan. Afghanistan, one of my dream destinations. At least I could see how it looks from above. 🙂

As the flight moved further up north, the brown mountains changed into sparkling white. It looked like the glistening snow was inviting me with open arms. To say I was excited, would be an understatement!

It was not the first time I was flying to Europe. For me, going to Europe is like going to my comfort zone. But I hadn’t visited any Nordic country before. And I hadn’t flown Finnair before! And neither disappointed me. 🙂
Finnair doesn’t fly from Mumbai but it has direct flights to Helsinki from Delhi thrice a week. It takes 7 and half hours to reach Helsinki.

Here is, how my experience with Finnair was.

Finnair means ‘Your shortcut to Europe’.

At the airport:

My flight was in the morning at 10:40 AM and in my opinion it’s a convenient time to fly out compared to those early morning/late night flights. I could sleep well through the night and left for airport after a quick breakfast. The flight was on time.

On reaching Delhi airport everything was done very smoothly. While boarding I was pleasantly surprised to see flock of Indians traveling by Finnair. Of all the popular airlines, why would Indians prefer Finnair, so I thought. Later I came to know, Finnair is a favourite with not only Indians, but many other fliers as well. First and foremost reason, you can break your journey and explore Finland at no extra cost!

Like many airlines, Finnair has also introduced a Stopover in Finland Program for long-haul passengers traveling between North America and Europe or Asia. The idea is to offer passengers a small holiday up to 5 days, in order to break up what is a long journey. Isn’t it a fantastic idea? If you are travelling between Asia, Europe and the USA, you get to explore what may be a new country for you? The Finnair website also helps you book a hotel or activities in your choice of town in Finland.

In-flight Services:



This is an area where one forms an impromptu opinion about the airlines he or she is travelling. That’s what matters the most to most of the passengers. The in-flight services. Right?

The moment I entered the aircraft, an air hostess led me to my seat and made me comfortable. Another one brought a glass of water to the passenger next to me. Though I was traveling in a small group, we all had booked separate seats as per our choices. I had my favourite window seat. 🙂 A trolley of free soft drinks, wine and beer was brought once the airplane was at cruising altitude. The flight attendants on this Finnair flight were generally friendly and attentive. When those around me rang their call buttons, a flight attendant always arrived within a minute or so.

Food & Beverages:

I had pre-ordered a vegetarian meal which was served on time. As accompaniment I enjoyed the Finnair blueberry juice, and then had extra serving of my favourite Tomato juice. Ah! I had red wine too! Of course, there were tea, coffee and non-alcoholic drinks as well. But still I think there is a room for improvement in this section.

The galley at the back had refreshments like aerated drinks and pretzel and rye crackers which could be had throughout the flight, and we utilized this opportunity to straighten our legs, to have a chit chat while enjoying our snacks.

Entertainment:

Although no Wi-Fi was offered on this flight, there was an in-flight entertainment screen provided in each seatback. The screen was clear with brightness level settings and a tilt you could easily adjust. However, I felt the screens were losing the touch screen functions. It required firm touches in order to get a response. So mostly I used the remote control provided under the armrest.

There were movies from different genres and categories “comedy, drama, action and classics”, albeit not too many choices. Since it was a daytime for me, I watched a couple of films back to back. I hope Finnair will consider giving more options in entertainment section for economy class.

Interiors:

finnair review economy class a330 300 lemonicks.com

Traveling in economy class makes me prepare myself for a cramped seat, especially if it is a long flight. But not on this flight. A cursory glance inside the aircraft told me, the seats were not as cramped as they are generally in economy class.

I was happy to see that there was enough space and enough leg room. I didn’t feel uncomfortable during the flight. The aircraft was A330-300 with seating arrangement of 2+4+2. There are two sections to the economy cabin, with bathrooms situated in between them. Both sections felt airy and spacious.

The seats were upholstered in pale blue patterned fabric that was well-accented by the lime green and beige packaged flannel blanket and lime green pillow. Also, there was a set of in-ear headphones and water bottle tucked into each seat-back pocket. Seat-back screens were connected to an audio-video on-demand system with remote controls in the armrests, and also had a credit card swipe system for payments.

The plane landed in Helsinki so smoothly that I didn’t feel it! With a short taxi to the stand and only a couple of minutes’ wait until disembarkation began via an aerobridge.

LIKED THIS REVIEW? PIN IT RIGHT AWAY !!  ↓↓

Overall, I was satisfied with the flight. I would certainly consider booking another Finnair flight.

Have you flown Finnair anytime? What was your experience?

If you want to travel places with us, I suggest you to join us on my Facebook travel page.
P.S.- This article belongs to www.lemonicks.com. Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited. If you are viewing this on a website instead of your RSS feed reader, then that website is guilty of stealing our content. Kindly do us a favour. Please visit our site and help us taking action by letting us know against this theft. Thank you.

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Lapland’s Culture: Reindeer & Sami https://www.lemonicks.com/europe/laplands-culture-reindeer-sami/ https://www.lemonicks.com/europe/laplands-culture-reindeer-sami/#comments Mon, 12 Jun 2017 14:29:11 +0000 https://www.lemonicks.com/?p=20116
There is no other sound except crunching of snow under their feet and tinkling of sleigh bells tied around their neck. I am cozily snuggled in a wooden sled with a rug casually thrown over me. It is half past midnight with temperature dipping to around minus 20 degrees. There is a chill in the air as expected. We are passing through a snow covered forest and the reindeer are gently pulling my sleigh moving in line.
Reindeer, sleigh and snow … that’s what one expects in a Nordic region during peak winter.

Relaxed, I am gazing at the stars, … Read the rest

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There is no other sound except crunching of snow under their feet and tinkling of sleigh bells tied around their neck. I am cozily snuggled in a wooden sled with a rug casually thrown over me. It is half past midnight with temperature dipping to around minus 20 degrees. There is a chill in the air as expected. We are passing through a snow covered forest and the reindeer are gently pulling my sleigh moving in line.
Reindeer, sleigh and snow … that’s what one expects in a Nordic region during peak winter.

Relaxed, I am gazing at the stars, ruminating about these harmless animals and the life in Lapland in general. Lapland brings a picture of its best known creature aka reindeer and Sami people in front of me.

The reindeer.

They are much more than just innocent cute looking animals. As they live in forests, these harmless animals are almost wild but docile and indifferent as well. The reindeer outnumber people in Lapland. There are approximately two reindeer per person in Lapland.

The Lapland reindeer can endure a very cold climate with much snow. Reindeer hooves adapt to the seasons well. During summer, the foot-pads become spongy and provide extra traction possibilities. In winter the pads shrink and tighten. The sharp rim of the hoof can cut into ice to keep the animal from slipping. This also makes it possible for them to dig down through thick layers of snow.

For the indigenous Sámi people of Lapland, reindeer are the lifeline and an integral part of their life and culture. For centuries reindeer have been providing transportation, food, warmth and, of course, company to Sámi people in demanding weather conditions of Lapland. It would not be wrong to say that reindeer and Sámi people are inseparable.

laplands culture reindeer sami @lemonicks.com
Reindeer Safari, anyone?

Sámi people

If we look into the past, it tells us that the Sámi people were nomads and with the change of weather, moved with their herds in search of grazing lands. In the challenging long winters the life is hard, but Sami people have tried to keep the culture alive. Hence, for this reason, reindeer herding is legally reserved only for Sámi people in Finland and in some parts of the Nordic countries.

There are approximately 80,000 Sámi people across the northern parts of Sweden, Norway, Finland and parts of Russia. Inari region of Finland, has one of the biggest Sámi communities of Finland, with about 2000 Sámi living in the area. Total Sámi population in Finland, is approximately 9000 strong.

Spread of Sami tribe across Nordic region.

The Sami people are also called as just Sami or Lapps or Laplanders. They are an indigenous Finno-Ugric people inhabiting the Arctic area of Sápmi. They are the only indigenous people of the European Union. Sámi people do not speak Finnish but their own language. And the native Sámi dialects have hundreds of precise terms for snow, ice, water, fire and other natural phenomena. The Finnish govt. is making all efforts to retain their culture and celebrate their uniqueness.

In Finnish folklore, an element of mystery is associated with Lapland. Many a myth stem from the ancient beliefs of the Sami and survive to this day through word of mouth. In Sami mythology, everything has a soul. Thus, every living and non-living being has a story. They all carry knowledge and wisdom within.
While you are in Lapland, if you are interested to learn more about Sámi people and their culture, make sure you visit the Sami museum, Siida.

Reindeer husbandry

Timo and his beautiful wife Armi

Armi sang a song for me.

According to my local guide Timo, with all the modern technologies in hand, it is not a matter of survival anymore for Sami community. But it is still a major livelihood for many (approximately 10% of the Sámi people) in the region and is considered an important tradition to keep alive.

In Lapland, the knowledge of reindeer husbandry has been passed down from generation to generation and the terminology related to breeding and raising reindeer is very specific to this region. During touristy season, they bring reindeer from the wild and use them for tourism purpose. And that’s how Timo and his beautiful wife Armi live with a mix of traditional and modern culture.

Timo took me to a little hamlet with a couple of log huts and a reindeer farm named Joikun Kota. On a visit to a Sámi farm, you get to learn about their culture and lifestyle.
Lavvu, the Sámi traditional house, is something like a tent or tepee. It is made of reindeer pelts or hides by stitching them together. Inside surface is of reindeer fur as it is soft and warm. With slow fire at the center burning 24 hours, it keeps the residents warm & cozy. The fire acts as a fireplace as well as a cooking area. Of course there is an outlet (like chimney) at the top to ensure the circulation of fresh air.
A reindeer skin rug is used on hardwood or tile floors to keep the surface warm.

Activities involving a reindeer

Reindeer were the primary means of transportation in Lapland till snowmobile dominated the scene.

In modern days, reindeer are used for safaris and other activities. On a safari tour, if you wish so, you are able to drive your own reindeer sled for a stretch of a 2-3 KMs in the forest. It’s not too fast and trust me, it’s a fun ride!

Since number of reindeer is more than the people in Lapland, it is obvious that low fat reindeer meat is a strength in the region’s cuisine. Similarly, dried reindeer meat is a Lap delicacy. It is as popular as it was in olden days.

So if you eat non-veg, Reindeer is the local delicacy you must try in Lapland. Souvas, the signature dish of Sámi, is a lightly-smoked reindeer meat which is cooked over slow fire. The thinly sliced hot smoked reindeer meat is served on flat bread with lingonberry jam and is a winner hands down.
The people of Lapland have always made the best of whatever is seasonably available in nature. Besides reindeer, they have berries, potatoes, freshwater fish and wild herbs in their traditional cuisine.

Coffee being prepared in traditional way.

After my delicious meal, I had a strong cup of coffee, also prepared in the traditional manner. A coffee pouch made of reindeer leather was put into a copper kettle over the fire. There is a certain etiquette for drinking your coffee. Ask your hosts to teach you. 🙂

The reindeer skin is lush, elegant, and soft to the touch. Reindeer skin is also used as mats as they keep the surface warm. The hide is also used to make bags, pouches, throw, rugs, wall hangings, mittens, hats and shoes.

I also visited a Reindeer Park and had the opportunity to feed the reindeer. Imagine, reindeer eating from your hand! I have done it! They eat mainly lichen, moss, hay, grass and other plants.

Facts about reindeer:


1. The reindeer antlers can grow as much as 2 cm in a single day! And every year the antlers fall off. In the old days, the antlers were used to make tools or handcrafts.

2. Don’t touch them while feeding or any other time. Also, don’t click pictures with flash on. Reindeer feel intimidated.

3. Reindeer are well adapted to the Arctic climate. Their hooves and food pads change between seasons as per the conditions on the tundra.

4. Nordic region is extremely cold and how do reindeer keep themselves warm? They have two layers of fur with a tremendous insulating capacity. While the inner layer is woollier and dense, the outer one is long-haired with hollow, air-filled hairs.

5. They are ‘earmarked’ by their owners. Small carvings or cuts are made in the reindeer’s ears. These marks are ancient marks of their family. It allows the herders to recognize their herd when they cross over to other territories.

6. Do not ever ask a Sámi how many reindeer he has. He won’t tell you. It’s considered a bad omen to count the number of reindeer one has.

7. There are allocated reindeer parking areas and parking a reindeer is much easier than parking a car. 😀

There are several reindeer safari with or without a meal. Depending on your budget and time you can choose one. You can do a day safari or night (which I highly recommend). During night safari, rejuvenate yourself with a bonfire, coffee or soup and an interesting session about life in Lapland before you start your return journey.

Have you been to Lapland? Would you want to go there?

Getting there:

Getting to Lapland is fairly easy once you are in Finland. There are regular Finnair flights from Delhi to Helsinki. From Helsinki you may drive down or catch a flight to Ivalo. I would recommend you catch the flight to save on time.

Stay: I stayed in Holiday Club Saariselka. In my opinion, it is the best place to stay in Lapland. Very family friendly place, they have all in-house facilities for you to experience. They also arrange for all your outdoor activities.

If you want to travel places with us, I suggest you to join us on my Facebook travel page.
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