Imagine a fairytale winterland – crispy white snow glitering until the horizon, landscape full of nature – pine forests, white meadows and ice-covered lakes. Sunny, yet with the sun that brings bright light, but doesn’t bring the warmth. Cold, even very cold, but with air so dry that you do not feel the cold.
Air so clean that you would love to take a deep breath, but you know that that might not be so wise, as your lungs would freeze. Idyllic reindeer herds scattered somewhere in the woods.
Add to that vision some friendly people and sprinkle it with a bit of modern civilisation. That is how Lapland looks like in a nutshell.
But where is Lapland you may ask. There is no such country on the world map. And you are certainly right – there is and there was no such country. It is a historic territory split among three Nordic countries – Norway, Sweden and Finland. I had the opportunity this time to visit the Finnish part of it. It is as big as Portugal, yet with 98% less inhabitants. The number of reindeer slightly exceeds the number of inhabitants.
Reindeer herding is a very important part of the culture of the Sami, the indiginous people of northern Finland. Yet if you imagine that these people are a kind of a semi-wild tribe living in wooden huts, then you are very far from reality. Finland is a very modern country and having a 4G connection in the middle of nowhere is nothing surprising (it was the birthplace of Nokia if you might still remember it). The reindeer owners use computers to track their herds and special reindeer apps will help you while driving on Finnish roads (you don’t want to get stuck 200 km from the nearest town, because your car run into a reindeer, do you?).