Rovaniemi Toolkit to Handle Kaamos
It’s the time of the year here at the Arctic Circle when days just get shorter and shorter. Finnish word “kaamos” means the period of darkness, the polar nights, here north of the Arctic Circle, when the sun does not rise over the horizon. The official polar nights start in two weeks here in Rovaniemi, but they have mentally started way earlier. Rovaniemi locals tend to embrace the gloomy circumstances by staying comfortably home wearing long underpants and binging Netflix.
Kaamos is here and sometimes it might seem like all this darkness is upsetting. That’s unnecessary, as us Finns have developed our modern survival skills for intense darkness for a quite some time.
We don’t believe that it is coincidence that Finland consistently rates in the top five in happiness ranking. After all, Finland is the country where Päntsdrunk is considered a path to recovery and self-empowerment to help your face your future challenges, like kaamos. The idea is very much like “hygge” or “lagom” in our neighbouring Nordic countries.
You get the idea? However harsh is the surrounding world, you can always stay home, relax, put on your long underpants, eat comfy food and do something apparently unnecessary but yet so cheery.
Excluding long underpants (actually you can find long underpants here too), we think you can find tools for coping with kaamos from Rovaniemi – They’re almost the same methods that us Finns use at home. To start with, there are many home-like restaurants and cafés in Rovaniemi city centre. Plan B, for example, is a cosy bar and restaurant in Valtakatu, that serves craft food and cocktails with authentic tastes of the Arctic nature. Weekly special dishes are made from seasonal ingredients. Another super cosy place along the same street is Hostel Café Koti, where you can enjoy coffee, pots of spicy tea and pastries in an easygoing atmosphere. Koti’s breakfast is a true great value deal: Homemade bread, salad, oatmeal and much more is only 8,50 euros.
Some brave souls search tranquility from fresh Arctic waters of ours. During the snowless time in October and November water in rivers Kemijoki and Ounasjoki run dark and gloomy but in a weird way they’re kind of inviting you to a little swim. Winter swimming is possible from October to April on Wednesdays at 5.30-6.30pm at Koskipuisto Park (Jäämerentie). Water temperature is merely four degrees of Celsius. Anyone brave enough can try – the feeling afterwards is sensational! To keep the balance, there are a few public saunas in Rovaniemi. Santasport’s Finnish saunas on both men’s and women’s side are warm every afternoon. In swim hall Vesihiisi saunas are also warm every day. In addition, there are many sauna experiences in Rovaniemi that you can book.
If you’re looking a hideout to calm down outside the city, there’s a family company Husky & Yoga Nature to go for. Husky & Yoga Nature is a family husky farm at the old farm located 13 kilometres from Rovaniemi city. Located at the end of a road and by the lake Sierijärvi, the place offers you a perfect set for all kinds of outdoor activities, yoga and experience of local lifestyle. Another great getaway is Rehto, a unique and traditional southern Lapland villa, that can accommodate ten persons.
To have a real encounter with locals, Lähteentien Pirtti organizes lunches on Tuesdays where senior-aged people come together to sing and have lunch together. Seniors also participate Get together -evenings hosted by the same place on Wednesdays and Thursdays from October until February. Seniors help and teach you traditional Finnish handicrafts: you can prepare your own souvenir and knit your own stripe to “Hilda’s memory carpet”. Hundred years ago the most important task for a Finnish woman was to be a diligent wife. The kind of who could sew, darn and knit along with milking the cows and cooking. Society’s requirements for a woman have changed a lot from those days, but Finland is still one of the few countries in the world where handicrafts are still studied in school.
Psst: Santa Claus’ Main Post Office has just opened after a renovation. It’s a homelike place to write your Christmas cards in the front of a fireplace. We approve!