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      2003              德國、捷克、奧地利
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      2008              北京、巴黎 北非摩洛哥 西班牙、新疆
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      2016              日本、盧安達、烏干達、冰島、愛爾蘭、紐西蘭、東加王國









JAN. 2014


Third Time Returning to Finland: Happiness Under the Northern Lights

Travel Period: December 30, 2013 – January 3, 2014 (Sweden), January 3-6, 2014 (Norway), January 6-10, 2014 (Estonia), January 10-14, 2014 (Finland), January 14-15, 2014 (Sweden)


Nonhuman Travelers: Monkey Little Lee, MuMu, Monkey Hey Hey


Route in Finland: Tallinn, Estonia --> Rovaniemi --> Kemi --> Inari --> Stockholm, Sweden


Cost: If the cost of buying souvenirs is deducted and the lodging cost is divided by two, the seventeen day trip cost, including airfare and personal spending, comes to around NT$175,000.

The cost of the long leg of the flight from Taipei to Stockholm, Sweden with layovers in Hong Kong and Istanbul came to NT$33,200. The lodging includes a night in a Swedish heritage hotel for NT$6,500, a night in the Santa Claus Holiday Village for NT$10,900, two nights in the Sommarøy Arctic Hotel, staying in a single two story wooden lodge for NT$26,600, and two nights in a wooden lodging with Finnish bathing facilities for NT$8,800.

Exchange rate: 1 euro (€) = NT$40.8



This travel route is both complicated and odd. Originally, I was supposed to depart from the capital of Sweden – Stockholm, take the Swedish national north and take a bus to the capital of northern lights in Northern Europe – Tromsø, Norway. Then head eastward within the polar circle to Lappland, Finland, where then from within Finland, I’d take a bus southward to Rovaniemi and stay in the cottages at Santa Claus Holiday Village. From there, I would head southward to Kemi and take the icebreaker and then take the Finnish rail to Helsinki, followed by a ferry through the Baltic Sea to the Estonian capital, Tallinn. Finally, I’d take the ferry back to Stockholm, Sweden. It should’ve been a route that followed a clockwise pattern, but when I arrived in Tromsø, I found out that the weather forecast and northern lights forecast of the northern lights in the second week was completely different from the results I got prior to departure. If I had followed the original plan, not only would I not see any northern lights, it’d also snow during the time I’m in the polar circle in Finland. Therefore, I used some time in the afternoon to change my itinerary. In order to keep the non-refundable lodging at Santa Claus Holiday Village and the reservation for the icebreaker, I cancelled the booking for the Finnish national rail and the two bookings for the Baltic Sea ferries. I then booked three more airline tickets (NorwayàTallinn, TallinnàRovaniemi, InariàStockholm) to complete my new route.     


In order to return to the Arctic Circle in Finland during the time when the northern lights were still active and the skies were clear, I made huge changes to my itinerary. After doing so, I stayed in the capital of Estonia – Tallinn. During the three days I was there, it was as the weather forecast had predicted with the skies being cloudy and showering. Strolling during the rain, this ancient city of the medieval era seemed even more sorrowful.


From Tallinn I took a European inland flight back to Rovaniemi, Finland. At night, I stayed in the Santa Claus Holiday Village. Due to its popularity, it needs to be booked a month in advance. The lodging includes a free shuttle service from the airport to the holiday village.


The cottage type double room costs NT$10,900 per night, there is also the glass cottage room.


The Santa Claus Holiday Village of Rovaniemi is much bigger than the Santa Claus House in Alaska. Its made up of many buildings and the good thing about staying here is that you can walk around leisurely until they close. You can also enjoy the night scenery and take photographs, then walk back to where youre staying.


Here you can take photographs with Santa Claus all year long.


There’s a post office in the Santa Claus Holiday Village in Rovaniemi, all postcards and letters mailed out from here are all stamped with the North Pole stamp.


Inside the post office, there are walls filled with all kinds of postcards and cards. They even provide tables and chairs for visitors to sit down and write their message.

Feisty girl and I joined the local reindeer sleigh northern lights tour we booked at the hotel.


In the darkness of the night, sitting on the sleigh and heading towards a forest without any light pollution. When we arrived at the campground, the staff will build a fire and barbecue some sausages. However it was an unfortunate night, similar to when I came to Finland last winter also riding the reindeer sleigh, the sky was cloudy and we were unable to see the northern lights. I did however have a wonderful time enjoying the sausages!


The next day, I had planned to head one hour southward from Rovaniemi to Kemi to ride the icebreaker. From the moment we departed from the Santa Claus Holiday Village, everything was not to be. Firstly, the bus that was always on time still had not shown up after running late for 20 minutes. I asked a local resident who was also the hotels receptionist, and found that no one knew why the bus hadnt come. It means that it had never happened before. We therefore immediately called a taxi to take us to the train station in the Rovaniemi city center. We decided to put our large suitcases in the Rovaniemi Train Station lockers.


It took one hour by train to reach Kemi Train Station. The shuttle for the Sampo Icebreaker was in theory suppose to show up in front of the train station. From the train station to the harbor itd take about 10 minutes. We waited until it was almost time for the icebreaker to depart and yet no shuttle. In all good fortune, we hopped on 1the right taxi because the driver happened to know a staff member who worked on the icebreaker. This staff member happened to be working this very day and happened to pick up his phone! For the first time in history, the Sampo Icebreaker departed late, waiting for Feisty Girl and I to board before departing. (for more details on this interesting happening, please read Chasing the Mystical Northern Lights – Beckey Lee’s Northern Lights Adventures”, Chapter 11)


On the icebreaker, it was customary to first visit all cabins and departments to see how everything operated.


After arriving at a location deemed suitable by the captain, tourists are allowed to change and wear a dry suit to float on the icy sea.


The view at around 3pm on the return trip on the icebreaker.


We had time to take a picture of the entire Sampo Icebreaker upon its return to the harbor

After the icebreaker trip, we took a train from Kemi back to Rovaniemi and stayed overnight. The next day, we took a 5 hour long bus ride and headed towards Inari. Within the past 13 months, it was my third time visiting this place which sat 300 m north of the arctic circle.


Hotel Kultahovi was not like Hotel Inari which was located right on the main street once we disembarked from the bus. Instead, it was located hundreds of meters away from the main street. From the area where we disembarked and walking over was only about 400 meters, but it took around 25 minutes on foot because of the freezing temperature of minus 20 degrees Celsius with piles of snow and the fact that we had to walk against the oncoming wind. Although we had on beanies that covered our ears, the chilly wind relentlessly blew right threw them and chilled our ears.

Our time in Inari was an endless cycle of going out for fun during the day, returning to the hotel at night to enjoy the gourmet cuisine and waiting for the northern lights at midnight.


Going out for fun during the day. We signed up for a pony sleigh ride and by chance it was the same pony we had met 13 months ago.


Returning to the hotel at night to enjoy the gourmet cuisine.


Waiting for the northern lights at midnight. (Often the northern lights still may not appear Orz)


Going out for fun during the day.


Returning to the hotel at night to enjoy the gourmet cuisine.


Waiting for the northern lights at night.


With much fatigue and trekking over a long distance, we purposely returned to Inari on a clear day. We had brought two gowns and hoped that we could take some beautiful still photographs of a person under the northern lights. At last, we succeeded after all of our efforts (tears of joy).


We took a flight for Stockholm, Sweden from Inari with a layover in Helsinki, ending this challenging yet dream-filled northern lights journey.



Dec. 2012





第一次前往北極地看極光,由於只有一個人,考量到雪地開車經驗貧乏,安全起見,於是決定前往大眾交通較為便利的北歐,而放棄首選的阿拉斯加,至於北歐可以看極光的國家有挪威 ......



Dec. 2012

第一次前往北極地看極光,由於只有一個人,考量到雪地開車經驗貧乏,安全起見,於是決定前往大眾交通較為便利的北歐,而放棄首選的阿拉斯加,至於北歐可以看極光的國家有挪威 ......


Copyright © 2016. beckeylee. All rights reserved.



Copyright © 2016. beckeylee. All rights reserved.