LEVI, FINLANDApril 23 in Finland
Safe and sound in the Arctic Circle. Been up since 2am (we are all on Beijing time). Trying to stay up til 8, then we will dose up on Melatonin and sleep the sleep of champions, ready to ski/board tomoz.
THURSDAY: It's still winter wonderland here in late April. What a beautiful pocket of the world. Except for the ski field, the area is very flat which makes for long, easy, picturesque walking tracks. Wooden cabins are dotted around the place and birch (?) trees everywhere. Scandinavia feels very home-y to me. Maybe because some of my ancestors came from this corner of the world? Maybe because if you squint really hard this place is a bit like Iowa in winter: flat, empty, snow-covered. People are friendly, healthy, & happy looking (not like the dour Finn stereotype). I like Levi. It has good mojo. I like that shopkeepers speak to me in Finnish, not recognising me as a tourist.
Finnish design deserves mention. Cheap, made-in-China knock-offs don't exist up here in Lapland. The clothes are beautiful (& expensive)- gorgeous cuts and fabrics. Furniture is funky and practical. Loads of wood.
We have been skiing daily. I conquered a few red runs, quite a feat! Boys had to wait about 10 minutes for me to get to the bottom, but still.... and I learned how to use a T-bar (although stacked it here). Meanwhile, the 3 of them go off on races and jumps. Jesse should enrol in speed-skiing. Zach has invented a new kind of snowboarding he calls 'Superman.' Today I am thinking of trying out some cross country paths.
We were sad to leave lovely Levi! From the great skiing, the buckets of strawberry milkshakes, rummy tournaments, snowball fights, saunas, and friendly locals. Such a great time! I found something called ‘Sauna Honey’ at the supermarket (‘Sauna Hunaja’)- a gooey lotion that you put on before the sauna, and as you sweat it exfoliates your skin and you smell heavenly of ‘midsummer birch.’
On the last night we had a massive, quiet snowstorm with thick, chunky flakes. I took a midnight walk. It was the Levi Festival- so loads of people out in party mode. I ended up chatting to a couple of locals who said it was nothing- it even snows in May. They love Lapland but said the winter is constantly dark and you get depressed. The White Nights of summer are amazing, but they get plagued with giant mosquitoes in the ‘heat’ of 15C (their words!). So seems like we visited at just the right time.Read more