For the first few days in the Lapland, the weather went against all my hopes of seeing either the stars or the northern lights; the sky was completely covered in clouds, day and night.
On the third day, walking back from the center of Inari, I experienced almost a déjà vu of my first adventure here. Again pitch dark and again trying to survive the cold and the passing cars on the side of the road.
It was just 4 o’clock in the afternoon but already as dark as it gets.
Just moments before being rescued (once again) by Jussa’s father, I noticed a light in the sky. At first excited, I quickly realized it must just be a small hole in the clouds, from which a small spot of light was coming through – nothing like the clear sky I was hoping for.
It was just after dinner that the single spot was joined by a multitude of other lights.
Taking this as a sign, I started checking aurora forecasts regularly to keep an eye on the solar wind gauges. (Funny thing about the aurora forecast service: every day, a single guy, in Finland, checks the solar data, the sky and his gut feeling and updates the website with the forecast of the night.)
Around 9, the sky was practically clear and the data was just right: “I might actually see the aurora!”, I thought quite loudly to myself.
Every now and then (it could have been every 5 minutes, given my excitement), I would open the door and peek outside, at the expense of Jussa’s comfort and the warmth in his cabin.
It was during one of these quick peeks, when I was starting to feel fairly discouraged, that I was absolutely stunned by an alien-like light, right in front of me.
It was majestic (you can see it in the picture but it’s not even close). After a moment of breathless disbelief, my astonishment turned into euphoria: it felt like Christmas morning, running downstairs to unwrap my presents.
I started jumping around, a mix between a bear and a kangaroo, repeating “Oh my god!” to myself, Jussa and the sky.
Done with the jumping, I ran to fetch my camera and tripod, “please don’t go, please stay a little longer!” I kept thinking while my tripod wasn’t having any of it to get out of my backpack.
But long story short, the rest of the night was brilliant and being out there, with all these dancing lights, was so peaceful and meditative. It’s also hard not to think of the incredible, probably meaningless, beauty of our universe, which can really put things into perspective in someone’s life.
And of course, I also took loads of pictures.
The next night the sky was clear but no aurora in sight. I had my share and I was glad to have been there.
The following day I started my way back to Rovaniemi, Oulu and finally to Helsinki.
I had the luck to meet fantastic people, see amazing places and experience truly magic moments:
I’ll do my best to not forget any of this journey.