If you wanna rock n roll.
And also if you wanna get from HK to the northernmost point of Finland.
I am currently in the Finnish municipality of Utsjoki, populated by only 1265 inhabitants according to Wikipedia (the 4th most sparsely populated municipality in the country) and right at the very top of Finland and the EU for that matter. And man, it didn’t feel like an easy feat.
- HK – LONDON: The crew in Virgin Atlantic made sure I was as relaxed and hydrated as physically possible on an overnight long haul flight. Bless you, business class … 😭
- LONDON-DÜSSELDORF: As I got off my flight in London at 4.30am, I received an email saying my 9am flight to Düsseldorf was cancelled. Thankfully, the travel agent got me rebooked onto an earlier flight at 7am, so I was already sorted before i had even landed in London.
- DÜSSELDORF-AMSTERDAM: after meeting my cousin at Düsseldorf airport to hurriedly repack and drop off luggage, I waited in the airport for 8 painfully boring hours only to find out at boarding time that this flight was cancelled.
- DÜSSELDORF- COPENHAGEN: waited in line 90 minutes at a customer service desk to see how KLM intended to ensure I’d get a connecting flight to Helsinki by the next morning. Eventually, I got booked onto a 9pm flight out to Copenhagen to get a 6am connection to Helsinki. After having to recollect my bags and get through customs again, I barely made the flight to Denmark.
- COPENHAGEN- HELSINKI: Slept on a bench in the airport, and was missing my big bed in HK. Boarded the 6am flight with a load of big burly Scandinavian businessmen, stressed out knowing that my next and final flight was going to be the hardest hurdle.
- HELSINKI – IVALO: This was the only flight where rescheduling would not be an option, as I had to get to Ivalo airport to meet my tour group to journey to Utsjoki. So only having 30mins to get off my flight, get my bags, go through immigration, run to the next terminal and check in for the next flight was stressing the hell outta me. But as luck would have it, I got seated in business class so was in prime position to get off the plane first and run! Luckily, these little legs got me to the Ivalo gate with 10mins to spare !
After the 5 flights, I had a 200km car ride to Utsjoki, which is where I am now, in a remote little wooden cabin overlooking a semi frozen river while the snow starts to fall over Lapland.
It’s now 4pm and pitch black outside (there’s only around 5 hours sunlight here), so given that it’s essentially nightfall, I think it’s time to open a bottle of wine and thank my lucky stars for getting my luggage and I to this beautiful part of the world in one piece. Cheers, from Finland!
(PS – I opened with an ACDC reference and have just found out they’re playing in Sydney tonight. Freaky coincidence!)