Travel Diary: Discovering The Storybook Beauty Of Norway & Finland With Tiffany Yow
Being the founder of The Flow Yoga Studio means a lot less downtime for Tiffany Yow these days. So, when the opportunity for a break arises, she seizes it and takes it further: case in point, her far-flung getaway to Finland and Norway in early 2019. She and her family spent 14 well-deserved days between the 2 countries, with the intention for a vacation of adventure and nature. The family was hoping to catch the Northern Lights, but bad weather deterred them from doing so, and instead gave them a chance to experience a host of activities unique to the landscape. Tiffany shares highlights of her snowy sojourn, attractions, food recommendations, and much more, through cherished photos.
Tiffany and her family began their holiday in Helsinki, and worked their way up to Rovaniemi, Kirkenes, Karasjok, Alta and finally, Tromso. Their 2-week time frame was equally split between both countries. “The natural beauty is breathtaking,” remarked Tiffany. “Finland and Norway are places where the old and the new blend seamlessly, where you can find natural attractions right next to cutting-edge cultural venues. Being one of the most affluent countries in Europe, the standard of living is high, with modern public facilities to match.”
The long routes and harsh weather conditions made more sense for the family to travel on a tour. “We recommend travelling this part of the world with a guide,” Tiffany advised. “Local knowledge of hunting spots for the northern lights comes in handy, too.” Although they gave the Northern Lights a miss, Tiffany discovered there was so much more fun stuff to do.
See also: 7 Top Places to View the Northern Lights
From A Santa Claus Village To An Igloo Bar, And Beyond
Yes, a Santa Claus Village does exist, which the family got to visit within the Arctic Circle. “We went husky dog sledding, visited an Arctic zoo with reindeers, polar bears, and snowy owls, stayed in a glass igloo, had drinks and an igloo bar, and experienced the Finnish sauna culture,” she recounted. The family then headed up to the North Cape, otherwise known as ‘the end of the world’, where the Atlantic meets the Arctic. “Despite the lack of sunlight, it was a vibrant little town dotted with boats parked along the harbour, and lights glistening off the water,” mused Tiffany.
Unique Delicacies & Cool Souvenirs
“Reindeer was surprisingly yummy,” the adventurous foodie in Tiffany recounted. “It’s very lean and not as gamey as expected.” She also pronounced reindeer sausages and Norwegian smoked salmon as souvenirs to take home. “There are some thoughtfully designed homewares like candles, drinking bottles, glassware and kitchenware to buy as keepsakes. Finland is also the home of renowned design label Marimekko, with the largest collection I’ve ever seen!”
Discovering Scandinavian Culture
Scandinavians come across as introverts until you start a conversation with them. The ‘super friendly and helpful’ community even welcomed Tiffany and her family into a traditional Sami tent of the indigenous people in Lapland. Tiffany was especially awed by their reverence for natural resources: “The Samis traditionally survived by hunting and fishing, and in more recent years, herding reindeer, their staple food. They are never wasteful, and every part of the reindeer is put to use; the skin for shoes and clothing, the bones for handicrafts, and other parts for alternative medicinal properties.”
See also: The 6 Must-Buy Snacks When Holidaying In Asia
Essentials For First-Time Visitors
There’s something for everyone, from the spa lover to the daring foodie, and even home & deco collectors. But Tiffany has these solid words of advice: “See some reindeers and ride the husky sleds! If you’re a culture geek, check out the Amos Rex underground art museum!”
2 Countries, A Lot Of Love
When asked what she loved most of these 2 destinations, Tiffany couldn’t emphasise more how the old and new came together in harmony, merging cutting-edge design and nature seamlessly. “The people have so much respect for their land and each other. Everything was so clean and well-maintained, and everyone was very polite,” she summed up.
See also: The Dykes, Bikes and Bright Lights Of Amsterdam
A New Perspective For Travel
Rather than see the world through the lens, Tiffany is all about living in the moment and noticing the small details while in a new destination, especially in places of exquisite beauty like Finland and Norway. “I’ve always felt like photographs don’t capture just how beautiful some things are in real life—this destination was certainly that. Take a few pictures for the memories but take in the little things, like the sights, sounds, smells! There’s always something new to see in every corner of the world,” encouraged Tiffany.