Here at The Aurora Zone it is fair to say that we love Christmas! In fact, as the snow has started to fall in Finnish Lapland over the past few days, many of us in the office have begun our countdowns in preparation of the big day.
However, despite being a great time to celebrate with friends and family, it always seems to be over far too quickly, leaving many of us trying to fight off the dreaded post-Christmas blues as we amble back into work after enjoying food, drink and plenty of festivities!
Here at The Aurora Zone, we absolutely love seeing our clients’ images from their Northern Lights adventures with us. Whether they are searching for the Aurora on the back of a snowmobile, trying their hand at mushing on a dog sledding safari or simply taking in the stunning Arctic scenery, we couldn’t be happier than when we see our clients ticking off some incredible experiences from their bucket lists!
"A Night at the Theatre", art suite created by Jonathan Green and Marnie Green
Summer may be over but there is plenty to get excited about as winter gets ever nearer. Not only has the Northern Lights season officially started but equally as exciting is the fact that Sweden’s world-famous ICEHOTEL® has released its plans for what this year’s hotel has to offer as they celebrate their 30th birthday!
The ICEHOTEL® in Sweden is one of the most famous hotels in the world. Now in its 29th year, this season the theme will focus heavily on nature including a forest suite and an underwater world room. You can find out more about the plans for the ICEHOTEL® 2018 here.
Though a stay at the ICEHOTEL® is an experience in itself, there are also several events happening over Christmas and New Year 2018/2019 that will really add to your holiday. What better way to experience this bucket-list destination than during the wonderful festive period? This time of year is so special, even the locals have made it a tradition to visit.
If you read our blogs regularly then you will remember that we recently discussed why we really love Coronal Holes (if not you can catch up here). Not only do Coronal Holes produce high-speed streams of Solar Wind which often manifest themselves as the Northern Lights but they also help in predicting Auroral activity too.
Quite some time ago, we wrote an article debunking fears that the Northern Lights are set to disappear as the Sun approaches a period of reduced activity known as Solar Minimum. The article highlighted that yes, solar activity is likely to reduce but, happily, the incidences of Coronal Holes is expected to increase.
"Haven", art suite created by Jonas Johansson, Jordi Claramunt and, Lukas Petko
Summer may be drawing to a close but there is plenty to get excited about as winter approaches, not least because Sweden’s world-famous ICEHOTEL® has provided a teaser of what this year’s hotel has to offer for ICEHOTEL® number 29!
Travelling to the Arctic can be daunting, especially when you check the forecast and see that the temperature is around -19°C or lower *shudder*. It is perhaps unsurprising then that our Client Liaison team are repeatedly asked the same questions from concerned clients that are due to travel to the Arctic Circle - “What should we pack?” “What are the best brands for winter clothing?” “What will be provided for us?” “Will we be warm enough?!”
How often have you returned to work in the New Year regretfully thinking,
“Why on earth didn’t I do something useful over the holiday period?”
That period between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, Betwixmas if you like, must be the most neglected of the year. It’s a dead zone during which you know you should be doing something useful but simply can’t be bothered.
This winter Katrina Seator has been working as our representative in Finland, looking after our Aurora Zone clients who were staying in Harriniva and Torassieppi. As this season draws to a close we asked Katrina to tell us about some of her favourite experiences of the season and for any top tips for our future travellers.
Our forefathers believed that the Northern Lights were anything from spirits of the departed to vanquished warriors to the gods themselves.
Some saw the lights as a portent of good, guests travelling to a celestial wedding for example but, in the main, the lights were generally associated with something more malevolent.
We’ve been looking through our vast library of images to illustrate just why our ancestors held the Aurora in such reverence. Here are a few examples.
A Very Angry God?
That is one very, very frightening face reflected in the mirror-like waters of the Paatsjoki River in Northern Finland.
As with most of our guests, my first impression of Lapland in the winter is one of awe that so much snow can possibly exist in one place.
I was never fortunate to go skiing or anything like that when I was younger, so for me this was the first time I had seen what real winter can look like.
It is obvious when you travel to somewhere like Nellim in Finnish Lapland that the snow in the UK is really rather pitiful and quite literally pales into comparison to the thick deep white snow of Lapland. It covers everything – roads, paths, rooftops, trees, frozen lakes, giving the whole place a magical, pristine and beautiful feel.
How many times have we heard this said about Northern Scandinavia?
There is a perception that 24 hours of darkness falls north of the Arctic Circle for the entire winter. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Even in deepest December, when the sun doesn’t appear above the horizon for several weeks, there is what the locals call “blue time” or “kaamos”, an eerie yet magical grey/blue light that is neither night nor day.
Take somewhere like Muonio in Finnish Lapland. Muonio is a small village situated in North East Finnish Lapland and, according to people who know far more about these things than we do, the sun will disappear below the horizon on 10 December 2013 and reappear on 02 January 2014 (for 32 minutes).
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