A TRUE ARCTIC WEEKEND

January was over, it was a long month and I celebrated February arriving. With February came the arctic weather. I had experienced a lot of cold weather since living in Rovaniemi, and as stated in my previous posts, the cold wasn’t a big deal. These past couple days I have been experiencing -20 (and lower) degrees temperatures. Usually there will be the odd day around -18 and then drop back down to say -8 etc. However, the temperature has not let up. The weather has also been truly beautiful. Clear blue sunny skies, if it weren’t for the snow (and cold) it could pass as a summer’s day.

I have really enjoyed this ‘true arctic weather’. It is beautiful; everything is so crisp. When I am asked about the cold, the only way I can describe it is that I am living in a massive freezer. There’s no wind, it’s just this frozen air. Travelling to the University and the town center has proved quite a challenge these past couple of days. I can't believe now that my new normal is walking 30 minutes into the centre in -22 degrees for a Mcdonalds (Rovaniemi has no takeaways). I am used to my face and such freezing, but everything is more excessive. Cycling has been difficult; every breath I feel like I am gasping for oxygen, even on flat paths my legs can’t seem to peddle fast enough. When I arrive at University I have to defrost my eyelashes as balls of ice have accumulated on them (frozen breath, nice). I have to defrost my scarf and detach my frozen hair from my scarf. It’s a whole ordeal. When I’m in the cloakroom stripping off all my extra layers I see other students covered in white needing to defrost. If I didn’t live in Lapland I’m sure it would be a much funnier sight.

So yes, travelling anywhere in arctic temperatures takes a whole lot of energy and effort. Try doing photography in arctic temperatures. I have been taking images throughout this frozen weekend but it has come at a price; that price being my fingers. I can’t say my camera is too happy about being out in -22 either. I can’t wear my mittens when operating my camera so I have to settle for my ski gloves, and yet my fingers are still in excruciating pain. However, I have had a strong urge to photograph this weather. Walking across the candlestick bridge to town has revealed some gorgeous sights. With these colder temperatures there seems to be mist rising from the un-frozen part of Kemijoki River. It is fascinating to see, and yet with my frozen exterior I still feel lucky to live here.