White and quiet Lake Inari, Lapland
Having arrived at Helsinki airport I met a driver at custom exit. I had already reserved the car and he took me to the hotel. His car was Tesla model 3 which mildly impressed me and reminds me that I came to Nordic country now since EV (Electric Vehicles) percentage of those area is fairly higher than other countries. Not only their environmental consciousness but an ample amount of electric power by regenerative energy makes it possible to replace automobiles from conventional thermal engine towards BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) and PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) quite rapidly. It was early April, but we still need warm clothing such as long down coat for winter use.
Another thing noticed in this Nordic city is their fully cashless system compared with Japan. Of course, we have moved to cashless society, but sometimes they accept cash payment at supermarket or other shops in Japan especially for our everyday payment. I was surprised when I had to pay one Euro by credit card at the public toilet in the city center of Helsinki, really precious little chance to pay in cash in this wise. I took some hundreds of Euros in cash when entering Finland and carried back the same amount when saying goodbye to her.
Taking a breather over the weekend was the opportunity to wander off up to the Lake Inari, Lapland where lies directly below the aurora (northern lights) belt. Three nights were allowed for me for attempting to observe them and a glass-igloo was my choice of accommodation this time. This is modern type observatory using glass plate instead of traditional ice block by Inuit, Canadian Eskimo so that we could observe the show in the sky at the place to rest warm from the cold of frozen climate outside. This apparently is perfect tool for such lazy people like us.
First night passed by mutely without being able to see the northern lights. Second night luckily have encountered them, which continued showing translunary and mysterious lights for about one and half hour. I could not help but get out of the igloo to feel and enjoy fully spectacular view by a sky full of northern lights. In the following night “the magical mystery tour” has continued by a host of fantastical lights occurring one after another. It was rather incredible to have been successful as in 2 wins and 1 loss since the daylight was becoming longer, which minimize the darkness in the sky towards less chance to see the northern lights.
After successful nights with fantastical and imaginative fine lights, I had a festive meal to thank the lake Inari for its blessings at the local seafood restaurant. I also thank to brand new trail-run shoes by Merrell, which I purchased only for this observation purpose on the snow on icy Lake Inari. This shoes really went a long way to step on snowy surface of the frozen Lake Inari for viewing the northern lights.
The final surprise for me in the area was popular animation character found in local supermarket. Who buys these paperbacks? Of course, I am not surprised to discover that anime watchers and otakus are there. Maybe some of several hundreds of total villagers do, why not. The books look like not the latest version which means anime fans there in Inari have already lived for years??