I found Lapland impossible to capture in a photograph. I took this first photo at midnight on lake Kitkajärvi in Posio, Finnish Lapland during the first weekend in July.
If you've ever woken up at dawn and taken a walk in the countryside before the people and animals have woken up then you might have had a glimpse into what midsummer nights are like in Lapland. The peacefulness as well as that feeling that you and the Earth are having a private intimate moment... that is what it feels like. That the sun decided to stay up just for you tonight.
We stayed in a lovely cabin on the lake (mökki) in Posio complete with a sauna, of course, and we decided to drive to Rovaniemi for the day to visit Santa Claus (joulupukki) in his natural habitat. Santa Claus's village is located right on the arctic circle line so it was fun to see that as well. I took a picture with Santa and had a lovely chat with him where he told me to marry a good Finnish man and stay in Finland forever.
Then we went to the post office where all of the letters all over the world addressed to Santa are sent. It was a very sweet experience! There are framed letters from children everywhere and stations for you to write your own letters to friends and family and have them addressed officially from Santa's Post Office at the North Pole. You can also fill out a form to have Santa send someone a letter around Christmastime, which of course we did for the little ones in our family.
The farther north we got in Finland the more often we had to stop for a herd of reindeer to leisurely cross the road. They are very different from the skittish deer back home! It reminded me of the buffalo traffic jams in Yellowstone National Park. On the way home we came upon this albino reindeer. He was all alone snacking along the side of the road.
I really loved Lapland, and I plan to go back sometime this winter to visit the northern lights and experience this magical region in a different season.