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March 24: Rovaniemi to Inari

Just a few miles northeast of Rovaniemi, right about at the Arctic Circle, is Santa's Village. Of course we had to stop there. (By coincidence, I'm writing this text on Christmas Day.)

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Some sort of ice palace. I think you had to pay to get into it, so we didn't.

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This snowdome is pretty sweet, though.

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This is well done too.

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Watch out guys!

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I forget where this was, maybe in one of the gift shops, but it was pretty cool.

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Ah! The missing link between the Sámi and Greek polychromatic building traditions was right under our noses.

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An ice slide in the middle of the main yard. Very fun.

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Here's a fuller view of the main yard. I think that lamp isn't big enough.

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Now on the road toward Inari. We rented two small cars in Rovaniemi for the expedition.

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Lots of lakes, lots of evergreens. A few snowmobiles.

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We were lucky to have sunny weather just about the whole time. The crows (ravens?) were pleased with this situation as well. We did have to deal with a fair amount of snow drifting across the road.

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I think we did get some flurries on this leg, though, as you can see the clouds portending here, but it was cold enough not to create ice.

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Long lines.

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There goes the sun.

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There it goes further.

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The colors became quite nice.

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Since we were way north at this point, the sun's trajectory was fairly horizontal, so the sunset was rather drawn-out.

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Late glow.

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More late glow. Also: fence.

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At this point the country became more rolling and the views wider.

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I don't even know what that is.

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A little ways before Inari was the slightly larger village of Ivalo, which I think this is part of.

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An interesting modern church, in Ivalo.

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In Inari we stayed at a hostel, Vasatokka, a few miles up the road, on a lake called Mutusjärvi. The accommodations were wonderfully spacious; only two of us shared this whole room.

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The common areas were quite nice too. I highly recommend Vasatokka as a base for exploration around Inari.

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The night was clear and of course there is approximately zero light pollution there, so the stargazing was choice. We also saw the aurora borealis, faintly, which is the glow at bottom right here. We would see it to varying degrees every night we were in Lapland.

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A steadier star shot.