Reindeers and snow – トナカイと雪

Salla, Februaryサッラ 2月

Eri, Itoe and I took a night train from Helsinki to Kemijärvi, where we met my uncle Erkki; he drove us to my grandmother’s house. Our plan was to stay there and try to see the northern lights. The weather wasn’t the best; the sky was cloudy, and from time to time it was snowing.


The house is in the middle of nowhere, as they say in Salla‘s slogan. Surrounded by deep forests, enveloped by snow, one can really experience absolute silence and darkness. The place is very nostalgic for me, because my sister and I spent a lot of Easter holidays and summers there with our grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. My mother has 11 siblings, so it was always a vibrant house. All my mother’s seven brothers were skilled hunters and fishers, so the meals were exotic for us kids.


The three of us spent four days there, but no luck with the aurora borealis. Erkki came daily to check that everything was fine; he Itoe’s birthday he took us to see reindeers and gave us a ride with a snowmobile through a snowy landscape.


We took a bus to Rovaniemi and stayed there for a few days; visited Santa Claus Village and made our final effort to see the northern lights. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t on our side, but either way, we enjoyed our stay until the night train took us back to Helsinki.


Sauna and toilet
Santa Claus Village
The famous man himself
A lot of letters
My grandfather, father, sister and me in the 80s
Uncle Erkki

Santa Claus Village

Pajakylä, 96930 Rovaniemi, Finland


Medieval Week on Gotland – ゴットランド島の中世週間

Visby, Augustヴィスビー 8月

Chihiro and I met in Stockholm, Sweden and hopped on a ferry to Gotland; when we arrived at the island, old-fashioned clothes, knights and monks on the streets surprised us. We had booked the trip without knowledge of its ongoing Medieval Week. The reason we traveled to Visby was, of course, Studio Ghibli’s Kiki’s Delivery Service.


Visby as a city is beyond attractive: it’s small, full of flowers, cobblestone streets, ancient ruins, all surrounded by the sea and an impressive stonewall which is the best preserved historical city wall in Scandinavia. Visby’s picturesque old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Because of the Medieval Week, the town was full of unusual activity; knights fighting in tournaments, an outdoor market place with troubadours, blacksmiths, pottery makers, yarn spinners, and all properly dressed for the occasion. We find out that the market was a perfect place to find interesting items made from sheep’s wool, wood, iron, linen and leather.


The ferry
Rustic old town
St.Karin Catherdal ruins
At the tournament
The outer city wall


Donnersgatan 1, 621 56 Visby, Sweden