We returned to the store first thing this morning so that I could browse the selection of Finnish shoes we’d seen yesterday. Design in Finland is a big deal and everything looks like it came straight from Pinterest. I was having a hard time justifying two new pairs, but Ben reminded me that I almost never fall in love with random fashion items and so it was that I bought two pairs of shoes, unsure how we’d get them in our luggage in a few days. (We even managed to avoid the obnoxiously expensive VAT tax by asking for the appropriate paperwork which we later redeemed at the airport.)
Feeling unusually cheerful after a bout of shopping (I really hate shopping), we grabbed some lunch and headed toward the Arktikum Museum in town. Then, we spent a huge portion of the rest of the day working our way through the extensive exhibits. We saw artifacts from Sami culture and learned about the history of Arctic cultures. We learned about Finland’s history and the difficulties the country faced during WWII. We learned about Arctic wildlife and the environmental challenges they are facing. We walked through a large exhibit on the Northern Lights, learning about what causes them and viewing dozens of photos and videos of the phenomenon, reminding us how amazing it would be to view them in real life. Maybe one day.
We’re not usually much for museums but the Arktikum held our attention for most of the afternoon and left us with a good understanding of the people, creatures, and landscapes we’ve been visiting. Then, we hopped in the car and drove south to Ranua where we hoped to visit a wildlife park. Unfortunately, the park was about to close when we arrived so instead, we went to the grocery store, stocking up on treats for the return trip home and then finding a place to camp.
Our campsite was quiet and foresty, but unfortunately, the mosquitoes had already claimed it for the evening. The swarms were unreal, and we waved, twirled, and swatted while we set up camp. We crawled in the tent and vowed never to come out, forgoing dinner and instead spent the evening curled up in our sleeping bags reading and watching Modern Family together.