Express News Service

Watching the northern lights is like seeing a miracle unfold. It’s as if the cosmos is dancing and a superpower up there is trying to tell you something. After minutes of pitch darkness, the sky suddenly lights up. First, there is a faint green line across the vast expanse, which slowly merges with brighter orange, red and yellow, until it all becomes a thick sheet, shifting shapes and changing colours like a magical curtain fluttering high above in the darkness. While some travellers catch the auroras on a jet plane, many take the road. But one of the most spectacular ways to do it is to take to the lake.

Floating in a lake to catch the auroras

After a 45-minute drive, from Appuka Resort in Rovaneimi, the bus stops in what seems like the middle of nowhere. While one is still adjusting to the darkness around and freezing in the night cold, a guide whisks you inside a small wooden cabin where rows of full-body, orange-coloured rescue suits and gum boots await you. “Put these on over what you are wearing and get ready to take the plunge,” he instructs. Sliding into the heavy suits is no mean task. After some struggle, the travellers trudge towards the only light visible in the wilderness. The guide is waiting by the three wooden stairs leading to a lake, which he climbs down carefully and throws himself in the water, flat on his back. “It’s easy, isn’t it?” he asks.

It sure looks easy, but the pitch-dark night and the bitter cold can be unnerving. “It’s the best way to see the auroras,” the guide yells encouragingly. The travellers look nervously at one another and gingerly climb down the stairs and into the lake. The guide is right: it is easy as the suit not just protects you from the water, but also keeps you warm and lets you float, without you having to do anything. Your only job? To manifest the auroras and admire the moon, which appears like a huge ball at an arm’s distance away. The best part though, is to hear the sounds of the insects like on a Dolby system and counting the innumerable stars in the dark night.

There is something about Finland. It fills your heart with myriad experiences—catching the sparkling neon auroras, getting together with an artist and learning how to craft baubles and keepsakes, or spending an afternoon just playing with huskies. A trip to the Nordic country is a lesson in how to live one day at a time. Little wonder then that it has been named the world’s happiest country, six times in a row.

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