I knew I’d regret consuming so much of the complementary champagne, especially as I rarely drink – only had a glass but it prevented me from sleeping, except of course when I should have been awake Northern Lights spotting! Breakfast in the igloo is a challenge. It is a lovely continental affair with holey cheese, yoghurt, cake etc. First I fling the rock hard butter on the floor, then I squeeze my carton of orange juice a little too tightly and end up with it in my lap. Chris is not impressed with the tea, which looks like chicken soup and is herbal in nature. We step outside to take photos in the beautiful sunrise, then back to Levi. It turns out that the settlement isn’t actually called Levi at all – that is the name of the fell. The town is in fact called Sirkka.
I go for another swim. I’ve not yet braved the outdoor pool – it isn’t so much the pool itself but the walk to it from the indoor pools in what is now minus 9 that is putting me off. The pools have several ‘effects’ – green lights, videos of people walking through snow and something that looks like effluent on the surface but tastes like washing up liquid.
Our afternoon excursion is to the nearby husky farm. We are instructed in ’mushing’. The waiting husky teams are very excitable and noisy and have to be prevented from starting off without us. Chris has first go at driving. It is pretty jolly speedy as our six huskies hurtle us off across the frozen lake into the forest and we are glad of every thermal layer we have. My photography is hampered by a) frozen fingers, b) contact lenses, which mean I can’t actually see what I have taken and c) attempting to not fall off the sledge. Half way round the 25 minute ride we swap over. This is not as easy as it sounds as it is essential that the brake remains on during transfer of drivers and the only way to do this is to stand on a metal bar. I nearly didn’t take the opportunity to drive, I’ve never even ridden a motor bike but I am really glad I did. It is real bucket list stuff, although my fingers are frozen solid. I do have some trouble bending to steer and braking at the same time – one or the other but not both. The sun is setting, the sky is an unbelievable turquoise and pink. I am encouraging Chris, who now has charge of the camera. When the ride stops I feel weirdly dizzy but once back in the warmth of the kota, with hot berry juice and ginger biscuits, I recover quickly. We are also able to toast sausages over the fire. Then we go and see the huskies at close range. Some are Alaskan huskies – leaner than the archetypal husky but more suited to pulling and others are the Alaskan Malamute ‘fluffy’ huskies. There are some 12 week old puppies, which are very sweet. Chris is enjoying talking dog training with the husky lady.
We travel back to the hotel in time to eat. Chris has a range of cold fish and reindeer hot pot. I can’t quite bring myself to try reindeer – I don’t even eat game at home. I stick to vegetable stuffed roasted cabbage leaves – nicer than it sounds, pate on a lovely dark bread, berry compote (they like their berries here) and almond and chocolate cake. I also sample the home brewed ale, which is similar to barley wine.