Following our close encounter with the non-frozen part of the Baltic on the ice road near Oulu, we decided that heading inland to dry (well, icy) land was the order of the day. And when in Finland, inland destinations don’t come more appealing than Arctic Lapland – hence a 60 mile detour from the Baltic coastline to Rovaniemi, Arctic Finlands most hyped tourist destination. After a day spent taking the Jag across the Arctic circle (My first crossing of the line in about 5 years, since our mildly preposterous New Years trip up the Arctic Highway in an overloaded Fiat 126), wafting past Santa’s official residence, failing to spot the northern lights, and hooning around on snowmobiles, we spun our gripless, wafty steed and began the long drive home.
Entering Sweden, the first sight which greeted us was, fittingly, an Ikea – so meatballs all round were the order of the day, before carrying on south through a worsening blizzard, which for about 100 miles made both visibility and grip distant memories. Given the conditions, the relatively high temperatures, and our previous experiences, we decided to give our planned attempt on the ice road near Lulea a miss, and so drove on to the university town of Umea, halfway down Sweden’s Baltic coast, and on first impressions, home to a population which was almost entirely drunk.
We are now at Copenhagen, having spent a pleasant day wandering around beautiful Stockholm, it’s canals choked with pack-ice glistening in the sun. This evening we are aiming for Amsterdam, and hopefully, a return to the UK the following day. The Jag has clocked up nearly 4,000 miles so far, and has found a place in all our hearts – in fact, it is probably the best value car I’ve ever owned, having cost peanuts and wafted us all around the Baltic in impeccable comfort an style, and without so much as a hiccup.
Fingers crossed the last few days of the trip go just as smoothly…