Rovaniemi – Sodankyla – Tankavaara – Saariselka
Today we crossed the Arctic Circle 66?31'N, and we are in Lapland, land of reindeer and the midnight sun. We stopped at the Santa Claus Workshop and met Santa. We spent a few hours here shopping and goofing around. Back on the coach we headed North to Sodankyla where we saw the charming Vanha Kirkko, Laplands' oldest Wooden Church, dating back to the 17th Century. It was restored in 1926, and the shingles and the boarding were re-done between 1991 and 1995 by the National Board of Antiquities and Historical Monuments. Near the church is the statue of "A reindeer and a Lapp".
Sculptor Ensio Seppanen designed this statue in 1970, located in the center of Sodankylä. The bronze statue presents reindeer husbandry, which still is one of the most important trades in Sodankylä.
We stopped for lunch and had meat soup then continued to Tankavaara Gold Museum. This International Gold Museum presents the history of Finnish gold, as well as the history of the world's major gold rushes. A display called Golden world, tells the story of gold in more than 20 countries. The outdoor museum is housed within several historic buildings and the courtyard is decorated with a large bronze statue of a gold prospector, by the artist professor Ensio Seppanen. The museum's stone and mineral collection has more than 2500 samples on display from around the world. We walked around the grounds of the museum and met up with squirrels and ermine.
We continued our journey and stopped at the Kaunispaa Triangulation Tower which is on top of a majestic arctic hill. There were spectacular views of almost hundred arctic hills and we were able to see the Russian summits.
Overnight in Saariselka at the Holiday Club, on the edge of the virgin wilderness and part of Finland's major national park.
Our room was very average, torn curtains and miles away from nowhere.
This place is a paradise for hikers and mountain bike lovers in the summer.