Is a Finnish word for polar night, what you have above the polar circle. As a child, I was taught it means half year darkness and half year light. Later, I was taught it means half year the sun doesn’t go under the horizon and half a year it doesn’t go above the it. It is not completely true. And it was not completely false.
First, it depends a lot on how far from the polar circle you are. At my position (around 68° from equator) it means around 30-40 days without the sun. In reality it is few months. I am here only for about two months and I have seen sun just few times, last time it was about one and half week ago. It was around 11am and the sun was shining close to the horizon. It was easily visible who is local and who is a tourist. All people living here for some time were looking at the sky and many were making photos. More rare thing than northern lights.
Mostly you can’t see the sun because of the clouds. That is the reason why I have seen it here just a few times. Second thing is, the day is short – that means even though you can see a sun, you will see it for couple hours. Last few days, before the sun was whole day under the horizon, it was about one or two hours of daylight and sun was visible practically only from a hill.
Now is not possible to see the sun even when we have clear sky. What is possible to see is a beautiful range of colours close to the horizon variating from yellow, orange to pink. Like this it is for a whole “day” which means from about 9am to 1pm. Light which is illuminating the landscape is “blue” sometimes with pink or orange tint. Without snow the landscape would be very dark.
The whole picture is nothing about we were taught in a school. It is different and mostly it is about the experience. We, in a central Europe have obviously distorted image about it. Pictures can’t really describe what is this about, because it is about time and cold. None of it can be showed by a photo.
Of course I knew what to expect – what are the approximate temperatures, day lenghts, when the snow arrives and so on. Even though it is something totally different. I can say it is completely different when you know how some plant or environment exactly looks like and when you see it in person.
Well, for most people it will be super ultra cold here. For me (so far) it is just regular beautiful winter how it should be. Snowing is from the October and now about a meter of snow (somewhere more). Strong winter still haven’t arrived, lowest temperature was about -30°C and I don’t consider it bad cold.
Few notes what you can expect with cold. We don’t need thermometer, because my boyfriend is always telling me, that his beard is frozen and I can see it is grey/white covered with ice, every time when it is less than -13°C. My own indicator is less comfortable, my nostrils are freezing together; in about -20°C and less are even my eyelashes freezing together.
After all, if you have thermoshirt, you can walk just in a thick sweater outside when it is around -20°C or so. Only one important thing is to move.
We are still expecting cold to come, but it should be in January or February. Now it is from time to time super warm, only about zero and I am able to work outside just in a short sleewe (come on, it is truly warm and I am moving!).
That is small and funny thing. It can change a lot and most important thing is to have anything windproof. Few days ago, we had been on a hill Kaunispää with a van, going for a returned company stuff and we enjoyed the true north. It was a bit windy down in the valley (with trees and buildings). I don’t know if you can imagine what was on the hill top, covered by nothing more than just a snow, completely treeless top without any buildings (they build there hotel)…
On the road we found out quickly that a long distance lights are completely useless, driving slowly and carefully doesn’t help much and so on. We didn’t see a road, just a whirling snow and white hell. I think, the car was happy to be still staying on the road, side wind was blowing and the car was shaking. We could strongly feel it when we stoped for a moment to check if we really have long distance lights turned on. We were driving about 30km/h speed trying to find how the road continues. Only way how we could recognise the road was by red long plastic sticks on the edges of the road and even then we weren’t perfectly sure where the road leads.
Even more funny was, we’ve parked the car…ultimately. On a completely straight surface of parking lot. In few minutes we were deep in a snow and glad for a shovel back in a car. Even though we dug out the car (it was hard to even stand in that wind) the car was stuck. Simple winter tyres doesn’t work here, you need those with spikes.
Scary thing for many people – I proved (again) that wool is truly great companion in cold weather. I had warm overall and just a woollen slippers with woolen socks. Before the snow on them melted, I was okay despite I was knee deep in a snow. And I found out why they are called slippers. Not because you easily slip in and out, but because they are slippery on snow and in a strong wind is enough to just stand in them and you will be slowly skiing.
By the way, I was using most of my weight to only open door of a car, because it was directly oriented to the wind.