25 Jan Quiet is Easier When There Is No Sound in Muonio, Lapland
There’s quiet like 3:00 am quiet where the streets are empty except for the odd taxi bringing party goers home, and then there’s a quiet that is so devoid of sound even the snow falling to the ground doesn’t prick up your ears.
That’s how quiet Muonio in Lapland Finland is. My husband and I stayed for five nights in a cabin on the edge of the Arctic Circle in the dead of winter. It was cozy, peaceful and heartachingly beautiful.
Muonio. It’s too quiet…or is it?
Wherever you go in Australia, and maybe it’s true for most parts of the world, there’s noise of some description. I lived just out of town in Maleny on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland in Queensland. It’s quiet there, but at times the cicadas were so loud my ears would ring. On Queensland’s Southern Downs on a house on a hill with scant neighbours amongst kilometres of wheat, barley and sunflower crops, the birds would sing constantly in daylight hours. At night, owls or Tawny Frog Mouths would screech, sometimes right outside my window. It was also lovely to hear the rumble of a ute on dusty country roads watching headlights in the distance.
Muonio is quieter. Much quieter. Nothing makes a sound there. The trees and the volume of snow covering everything in sight are like the world’s largest soundproofed space. If you can handle it, the loudest thing you’ll hear when you’re not dealing with other people, are the thoughts in your head.
Pekka and Tarja Veisto are the owners and operators of Särkijärven Majat , a gorgeous village of cottages built on Lake Sarrigjounri. Särkijärven Majat offers a range of accommodation options with cabin sizes that sleep 2, 4 or 7 people with prices from 50 to 100 euros per day, with a restaurant serving authentic Finnish food in a building that has been in Tarja’s family for about 200 years. We were in a practically brand new, two level cabin, with gorgeous views and space for plenty of privacy.
Right on the Edge….of the Arctic Circle
We needed to talk about a number of important things that we never quite found time for at home. With all the very best intentions, we had let things get in the way of our usual sweet connection. I don’t expect for us to be wildly in love all the time, but we were out of sorts, missing things, stressed by outside circumstance and to be honest, more often than justified, annoyed and cranky with each other. We were tired and we were letting unimportant details pile up.
My husband had made a list of things he thought we needed to discuss before I joined him in Finland. I was so impressed. He really wanted to go there to those scary places I was very nervous about putting on any list ever. We had time. We had quite. It was very very very cold. Even if we did get mad and stormed off, we would have to be back within about an hour before frostbite set in. Temperatures in Muonio range from minus 8 to minus 22 degrees Celsius in December. The idea of having to put on 13 items of clothing just to storm out in freezing snow with absolutely nowhere to go anyway, was pretty funny. We figured we would most likely forget what we were fighting about in the time it took to get dressed.
It turns out we didn’t fight at all. We played, really played – snowball fights and music and singing and affection and jokes and cooking together and cleaning up. We laughed like kids till our belly’s hurt. We talked. No TV. No movies. No radio. Some internet. But no outside world encroaching on us and we loved it every minute of it. Oh and of course we were in Finland, so we had our own private sauna right there in the cabin. We did that a few times! We made music playlists and burned logs of wood in the fireplace. Finnish pine burns fast! The cabin was brand new and had under-floor heating, so we didn’t actually need the fire, but it was fun to look at.
Northern Lights Don’t Exist (not for me anyway).
In the quiet of Muonio, with only about four hours of sunlight a day, we touched base with each other and looked at each other and laughed with each other. The scary things that were on his list, when addressed with large amounts of respectful time, were not hard at all when approached with curiosity instead of a ‘what now,’ in a busy life. We remembered just how much we like each other, and of course, we remembered more clearly, how much we love each other.
Each day we thought for sure that would be the day when we would see the Northern Lights. It’s common in Muonio. We scanned multiple websites and compared statistical evidence of the probability of seeing them. I thought for sure it would happen. But it didn’t. I was disappointed. I guess I’ll have to go back and try again.
There’s plenty do to in Muonio – skiing, snowboarding, hiking, husky mushing, snowmobiling. All the outdoorsy stuff. We didn’t do much of that. We didn’t want to. Not this time. Maybe another time and maybe that’s when those northern lights will make an appearance.
How to get there.
There are regular flights between Helsinki and Rovaniemi. From Rovaniemi, it’s an almost three-hour journey by car or bus to Muonio. Buses are available from the airport or depending on where you stay, you can arrange a pickup.