The sun finally showed up as we left Vuotso and headed back down to Rovaniemi for our last night in Finland. As we drove into Rovaniemi we found a carpark and went to check out the city. To say we were underwhelmed by Rovaniemi is an understatement. As we walked around we discovered icy footpaths, dirty snow, and a serious lack of heavy metal.
Amongst Metal or Eurovision fans, Rovaniemi is famous as being the hometown for Eurovision winner Lordi (a Finnish monster metal band). There’s even an underwhelming monument in the very underwhelming Lordi Square.
After checking out the somewhat lacking bar scene we headed to the local K Market to pick up a romantic cheese and biscuit dinner for our anniversary. Our hotel, the Lapland Sky Hotel, was situated at Ounasvaara which is an area full of ski resorts. After check-in we went to our room and realised there was no bar fridge to store the cheese. No big deal, in Finland you can just put it in the car as it’s zero degrees outside. As it was still early, we decided to go outside and check out the surroundings of the park. It turns out that if it’s not yet Summer in Finland, you cannot go walking without ski equipment. There’s a metre of snow everywhere folks, and even signs stating that you cannot “walk”.
We decided to head back to our room to relax in our private sauna. It was at this point while our sauna was heating up that a strange man walked in to our room. Apparently reception gave us the wrong room key. After we sorted out the strange person in our room debacle we relaxed in our sauna and got stuck into our cheese and biscuits. During our shopping trip Mary chose the cheese. Not being able to read Finnish/not looking at the packet it turns out the packet of five mini Castello cheeses that we bought contained the flavours of pepper, pineapple, blue (not a good blue either), chives and Camembert. We threw out all but two of them. It would have been a good night’s sleep if it weren’t for voices coming through our air vent and door. The reviews were great online so just remember that reviews don’t mean shit.
In the morning we spent 13 minutes eating our included breakfast and made a quick escape for our flight back to Helsinki. We had all day to spend in Helsinki until our cruise left the port for Stockholm. In this time we managed to drink coffee, drink alcohol and eat another Poro Burger.
Once onboard the MS Gabriella we stowed our luggage in our room and found that the shower smelled like sewerage and our whole room perpetually vibrated. We are thinking of renaming our blog to Eurotrip: A series of unfortunate events. The MS Gabriella is a party ship where the Swedes and the Fins board for the great alcohol prices and alcohol buffet. We had pre-booked the Viking Buffet which included all you can eat, all you can drink and seven different types of herring! Mary headed straight for the Mustard Herring and Salmon. After dinner we fell asleep to our very own massage bed. In the morning we woke to find that we had almost arrived in Sweden.
While we probably wouldn’t recommend Rovaniemi in the winter time, Helsinki was a lovely tourist-friendly city and Lapland was an amazing winter wonderland.
Our favourite things about Finland (in no particular order) include:
- 1-2 metres of snow
- Not sweating
- Poro Burgers
- Dogs everywhere including in shopping centres and train stations
- Dogs that fetch snow balls
- Finnish sauna
- The northern lights
- Arctic sunset
- The people (kiitos!)