We had been almost two weeks on the road. The second last night was spent in Kittilä. This was between the golf course in Levi and Kaukonen. Kaukonen was very high on our list of priorities, because of the artist Mr. Reidar Särestöniemi.
In Kittilä, the fourth generation at the Golden Goose Guesthouse welcomed us. Ms. Henna Hahnivaara did not offer us accommodation. She offered us a home. I am always here, she said. Angelo and I moved into our Wi-Fi rooms, and after a while Henna would graciously pass on some of her family story at the guesthouse.
It is also illustrative to the history of contemporary Kittilä. Her great grandfather started the guesthouse in 1920s. At that time the guesthouse also served food to the guests. It was located in the center of Kittilä. The family ran the guesthouse until the war.
It continued to run during the war. On the wall, Henna has some pictures from the war days. The German soldiers became almost like family members. In one of those pictures, a group of family members are posing together with some German soldiers. In another picture, Henna’s grandfather is making firewood with some of the soldiers.
Big politics made some people friends and others foes. For much of the war, Finland was an ally of Germany. People were trying to get by in a difficult time. In the autumn of 1944, the alliance was dropped. The Germans pulled out of Finnish Lapland after destroying all houses and infrastructure. The idea was to leave a wasteland and halt a potential Soviet invasion.
Only the church was still standing in Kittilä when the Germans left town. After the war, the Guesthouse was rebuilt. But it took almost three years to collect enough material to start the rebuilding. Only in 1950 was the guesthouse once again painted white.
Today, Henna does not have a cafeteria. There are restaurants nearby and you are free to cook a little on your own at the guesthouse. Many of her guests enjoy their stay very much and return to the guesthouse. It is close to the bus station and six kilometers from the airport.
There are a lot of activities in the area for tourists. If you want to live more like home instead of a hotel, the Golden Goose is the right choice.