Immediate sensation upon arrival: c'est très, TRES froid. I had forgotten how cold winter can be! However, the trade off is that when you look up at the sky here, a million stars and (occasionally) the rippling Aurora Borealis shine back at you. That is a sight worth freezing for.
Today, after feasting on Finnish pancakes with vili (homemade yogourt), I visited the local import store. Past purchases have included a traditional Laplander bonnet (see left), thick socks made from recycled Icelandic yarn, and a huge block of lush smelling sauna soap. This shopping trip didn't disappoint... I left with marimekko fabric and a Keskikokoinen Kukkaro bag in my favourite pink Unikko print. Alas, these gorgeous moonboots are difficult to find outside of the Helsinki shops, but I have numerous shoes from New York Fashion Week to dream about instead.Street style here could be viewed as boring, or a curious mix (I'm leaning towards the latter). You only see people dressed in traditional Finnish or Lappish garb on festival days now, which is unfortunate, as that would make for a very colourful fabric landscape. I would describe the local model citizens as fitting into either "wilderness explorer" or "punk" categories. There are a lot of men in lumberjack shirts, a few girls in goth, and the odd second hand muse. Dreadlocks and natural blonde hair abound, and I saw one teenage boy wearing a top hat. Quite sensibly, no one is wearing heels, and I'm taking great care to not go flying on the ice and give my hosts reason to keep pestering me (lovingly) about the "blatant impracticality of high fashion".
My internet connection is running out, so lempiä ynnä lämpö/ love and warmth to you. I'm off to make mojakka but will return soon.