The scenery is black and white. There is no sunlight, not at this time of the year, but the full moon is really bright. Trees are covered with frost and snow. The river is frozen. It’s quiet. So very quiet. I can hear only my breathing. Then sudden cracks, howling and wailing. It’s the river ice singing. A welcome song to me. It’s Christmas Eve, and I’m back home. Above the Arctic Circle.
|Finally, at home.|
Friends, Farewells and a Ferry
We were not in a hurry. We had planned our trip back to Finland so that we could, once more, meet some friends on the way. It was time to say thanks to those who helped us. Time to say farewells and give hugs to friends we might not see again in a long time. Every stop was one step closer to home. I tried not to think about it. Not because I didn’t want the tour to end but because I was afraid of some jinx Mr Murphy might still place in us.
|Vuosaari harbour in Finland the morning we arrived.|
We took a Finnlines ferry from Germany to Finland. The ferry trip takes 27 hours. There isn’t much to do on the ferry, it’s not a cruise ship. But there was a sauna and excellent buffets. We got massages and played board games.
We spent some days in southern Finland since most of our relatives and Finnish friends live there. It was time to have delicious dinners and pre-Christmas parties with souvenirs and good stories. It felt strange to speak Finnish all the time.
The Insane Stats
The tour took 334 days. We drove over 39,000 kilometres, through 17 different countries. We visited 66 different campsites and stayed over 50 nights on the roadside, in friends’ yards, in lay-bys and other weird locations. The highest place we drove our caravan was the Pyrenees mountains, 1,632 meters above the sea level. The lowest place was 115 meters BELOW sea level - through the Channel Tunnel.
We participated in 19 big board game fairs and 4 series of smaller events. These conventions had a total of 607,000 visitors! While on the road, our company ran 2 Kickstarter campaigns, one Quickstarter and 2 Spieleschmiede campaigns. We produced and published 2 board games and one expansion. We transported over 30 tons of board games all over the world.
Reunion by the Arctic Circle
|Our car with the broken engine was in Lapland before us.|
We stopped close to Rovaniemi, a bit south from the Arctic Circle. It was time to change cars. The Mercedes Benz we bought from Germany had done a good job, but it needed some maintenance. We drove to a our friend’s garage. There, already covered in snow, was our broken VW. The insurance company had towed it all the way up there.
You remember Möhkö (good ol' Lump), the Suburban Chevy we were first planning to take on the tour? I’m glad we didn’t, because the roads in Italy and the parking in Spain would have been impossible with it. We moved all our stuff to Möhkö and found out the interior was way smaller than in MB. Luckily we had only a bit over 100km left. Some uncomfortableness was bearable.
When we crossed the Arctic Circle, I suddenly realised I have never before been on the southern side of it for so long. The world is different on the other side. You learn that, once you cross it. You can follow the life above the arctic circle in my new blog. I will write new entries once a month, starting in January 2019.
Happy New Year!
This year was an experience our family will never forget. I hope you, too, have had some good moments with us. The year 2019 will give us new challenges. Timo is going to do his studies in Scotland. He is actually living in the caravan again for the next 6 months. Väinö goes back to normal school. I will continue working in our company and doing also my theatre work in Lapland.
It has been a great year. Hopefully we left Mr Murphy somewhere along the way and the next year will be even better!