I had booked for two nights into the campsite here at Rovaniemi because I needed a rest from driving so I made my way on foot into the town to have a look around.
It’s a small town with all the amenities you would expect, including supermarkets, fast food stores, pubs, clubs shops and all the other attractions we expect to see. It has a friendly feel about it and the architecture looks like it has a very much Soviet Russian influence, which is not surprising as it’s quite close to Russia. Most businesses seem to be emphasising the “Arctic” in whatever they’re selling, either that or Santa Claus.
A few pictures might illustrate the place better.
I enjoyed looking round the town and bought a little souvenier to hang on the tree at Christmas. I then made my way back for an early night, much more driving to do tomorrow!
Today I made my way to Rovaniemi that I knew was a fairly large town but what I didn’t know was that this was the home town of Santa Claus! That’s what the tourist brochure said anyway and who am I to doubt it.
I checked in to the large campsite on the opposite side of the River Kemijoki and found it to be a very pleasant place to stay with ample clean facilities and I good spot with a view across the river towards the town.
In the evening the sun went down and lit up the old road/rail bridge with a really magical light – perhaps Santa does live here after all!
This was to be one of the highlights of the whole road trip. I arrived at the Wild Brown Bear Lodge early and excited. The staff are a really friendly bunch and the facilities there are very good. Here are a few photos to illustrate.
After a detailed briefing in the small, well equipped Briefing Room, I was taken to the hide with about 8 others, most of whom were staying for 3 or 4 nights in the Lodge. We had been given a packed lunch and fruit juice to keep us going through the night and I’d brought some of my own food too.
I had a hide to myself (No.1) and I sorted the place out to the way I wanted it, so that I was ready should the bears appear. I had views on three sides and by 6.30pm I was sorted and settled.
Just after 7.0pm the bears began to appear and were quite close to my hide. I was surprised by how quiet they were and how fast they moved. One side of my hide looked across a small pond towards a group of rocks and during the evening it became apparent that this group of rocks were part of the bears natural pathway.
Between 7.0pm – 10.30pm I saw a number of bears and photographed them. It was thrilling to see them relatively close up. A light brown and a dark brown one stayed in the area for over an hour. I saw a total of 7 different animals.
After about 10.30pm I had no further sightings and it began to get too dark to photograph so I went to sleep about midnight. Woke up at 4.0am but see anything until 6.10am when I caught some video of a light brown bear. Great stuff!