We booked a trip with Northern Lights Village to hunt the Aurora. There were five of us on this adventure. Two adults who were to be driving snowmobiles and three children who were going to be riding in a heated sleigh. We were not hopeful of seeing the Northern Lights however as it was a very snowy day and the sky wasn’t clear.
We actually did this very same trip two years ago and booked it because we all have very fond memories and it was the highlight of our holiday. The children really wanted to do it again.
We had a bit of bother finding the start of the trip because I stupidly assumed it was the same office as last time, so we rocked up to some other tour companies office. They were really helpful and redirected us to where we were meant to be. We drove to the Northern Lights Village and were told by the main reception to wait outside where we were picked up by minibus.
The mini bus drove us back over the road to another office where we were given balaclavas and helmets. We were then taken outside and shown the snowmobiles and how to drive them. The children got in to the heated sleigh.
We drove quite slowly up the hill and kept stopping as the people behind us kept getting stuck in the snow. We stopped at the top of the hill and got out to walk a couple of hundred meters, where we found a large teepee with an open fire in the middle. There was another group in the Tee Pee so we waited for them to finish and then went in.
Our guides put some kettles of juice on and put some sweet breads on a grill over the fire. What happened next was nothing to do with the guides but did make me laugh as every other person on our tour started facetiming on their phones and having very loud conversations around us. We were sat in the middle of nowhere in a teepee with about 16 people talking very loudly on their phones!
The drinks of hot juice and sweet breads were a bit of a free for all and not really announced so we helped ourselves when we realised the sweetbreads were burning.
We walked in and out of the tee pee to either check if there were any lights or get warmer by the fire.
After a while of the kids winging that they were bored and cold we decided to make our way back to the snowmobiles and sleighs to wait for everyone. As we walked back up the hill the sky exploded with greens and pinks and we saw the most amazing show of Northern Lights! Needless to say everyone else quickly joined us and we all watched with awe.
When the lights died down a bit we drove back into Saariselka.
We were so pleased to have seen the lights they way they were and to have had that experience. That in itself made the trip worth it. The trip did what it said on the tin and I have no complaints about it. The guides were friendly enough and we drove snowmobiles and saw lights.
However, we couldn’t help being a little saddened when reminiscing about the same trip we experienced two years ago before this company got larger. We missed the knowledgeable local guide who ran the trips because he loved it, proudly showing us his way of life. We missed the middle of nowhere, secret location with no risk of meeting anyone. We missed the smoked salmon on bread, sausages, tea, coffee and cookies we were given, as we sat and listened to stories of life in Lapland, and the kinder eggs that had been brought especially for the kids. The personal touches and love are long gone, and unfortunately the adventure now feels more like most other tours.
Taking an autistic child hunting Aurora with Northern Lights Village?
The trip can be busy with lots of other people.
The Tee Pee felt crowded, especially when we arrived to another group.
It was loud, but that was the particular people we were on the tour with.
If you choose to drive snowmobiles, your child may be nowhere near you in a sleigh. The sleighs are enclosed but don’t have seat belts and the doors are openable from the inside.
There is an open fire in the middle of the Teepee and you could be there a while.
Warm juice and sweet breads are available.
There was no toilet.
The sleigh ride was bumpy.
The Northern Lights Village office is situated in Saariselka, Finland. They run a variety of tours as well as having accomodation, restaurants and ice bar/restaurant.
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