Reindeers, Ruska & Revontulet

In September came a long-awaited journey: I traveled to Lapland to witness the famous ruska, the autumnal color bloom. Up there, it’s not only trees that turn yellow and orange: the low vegetation, berry bushes and bog grass alike, takes a different tint, sometimes purple, red or black.

I took two friends from France with me; Alexis and Sylvain were both late sleepers, but talented cooks and enthusiastic sauna-goers. I never expected to eat a home-made pizza in the middle of Lapland, but somehow it happened, and it was delicious! Together we experienced the ruska, the reindeers on the side of the road, the rain (a bit of it, and sometimes more, every day. Like Brittany), and other wonders!
This is only a first peek into this trip, a short mise en bouche, if you will. Like I said in a previous article, I’m really far behind in my picture editing, and so am I in my writing, but I want to talk about more recent things while the memory stays vivid in my mind. So I took the backwards timeline, and am going back by almost two months. Yes, I consider that “recent”. Please bear with me.

From Rovaniemi to Rovaniemi, we drew a “8” in as many days. Here is the map: click me!

During this week, we got an extensive introduction to Finland’s core elements, water and forest.

The original idea was to sleep a few nights in the cabins that are spread accross the national parks up there, but I realized that those were a bit too far out in the wilderness, without marked trails to follow. I have no experience of such conditions, so I preferred to back up and book “traditional” accommodation. We took shorter walks anyway, from a few kilometers around Tankavaara Visitor Center to 18km in Lemmenjoki National Park, and were rewarded with beautiful landscapes and bright colors. If only we had seen the sun…


I had a few tips for birdwatching as well, and got two lifers: Rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta) and Three-toed woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus), both during the same excursion. Also exciting were the many encounters we had with Siberian jays (Perisoreus infaustus), and the pictures of those curious critters I took home.

Siberian jay (Perisoreus infaustus)

Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla)

Now you might be wondering about the last part of the title (if you are Finnish, you’re probably just waiting for the pictures!). Revontuli, the fox’s fire. Revontulet in plural form. Also called Northern Lights. We saw them!

There will be more, so stay tuned!

Bird inventory

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17 thoughts on “Reindeers, Ruska & Revontulet

  1. Your life is rich in colour & adventure! Thank you for sharing, it’s a joy to visit your worlds – we were lucky many years ago to see the beautiful Northern Lights from our balcony windows, just recently, conditions were ripe again for this sometime “once in a lifetime” phenomenon but the sky was too cloudy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes it is, thankfully! I’m happy to share it, thank you for visiting me 🙂
      It’s sometimes possible to see the northern lights in Helsinki as well, but either it’s cloudy or I know about it… the day after 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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