Photo Credit: Tate Drucker, Nathan Lemon, Susan Manser, Hannah Hunt, Kylie Brown

Day 2:  Rovaniemi – Saariselka

Today has been magical. We flew from Helsinki over the Arctic Circle and on to Rovaniemi, the traditional home of Santa Clause.  Although we did not get to see Mr. Clause, we got to drop by his post office and visit his reindeer… although for some reason Rudolph was nowhere to be found.

Most people do not choose to fly North of the Arctic Circle during the coldest time of the year, but I could not imagine being anywhere else.  Yes, it is cold but it is beautiful.  The entire drive from Rovaniemi to Saareselka (a city near the very top of Finland) took us through a white paradise.  The snow was lightly dusting the single road in front of us, and the trees that dotted the hillside looked like something off a make-believe postcard.  Everything is unique about this part of the world… for each snowflake that hits the ground to every tree branch that sways in the brisk arctic breeze.

The nice thing about traveling with a group of photographers is that if you mess up on a photo, you know that someone else probably got the shot.  This seems to happen to me a lot during my travels.

Our photo lessons were so wonderful as Tate shared advice on many different topics from photography and travel to blogging and writing.  She taught us how to capture moments as they really are using al senses to take in and capture a scene both on camera and in word.  Tate focuses not only on the visual shot, but on the written word.  This is what makes people want to stop and listen.

Our vila is absolutely gorgeous.  The cozy place was built just a few months ago and the floor plan is well over 2000 feet with a back balcony that overlooks the beautiful town of Saareselka behind the house.  A reindeer antler chandelier hands in the spacious living room, where dark pinewood floors still smell fresh from the forest.  The marble counter is now home to a traditional Finnish “hot chocolate cake” and the refrigerator is filled with leftover Finnish Sumer Soup and Wild Game doused with liconberries.

Finnish Cuisine is actually quite diverse and really good.  Who knew Scandinavian food and Nordic Cuisine would be such an adventure.

We set out to see the Northern Lights this evening, and unfortunately were unable to see anything due to the cloud covering.  In our full-body arctic suit the weather actually was not that bad, and luckily we have four more evenings to try and spot the beautiful lights!

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