Lapland Adventures – Santa!

The part of the Finland that we visited was in Kaaresuvanto, which is in a narrow northern arm of the country that borders both Sweden and the coast of Norway. In fact the ‘town’ spans a river into Sweden where it name changes to Karesuando (famed for knives apparently). Any way you slice it, it’s up there as in 180 miles north of the Arctic circle up there!
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As previously mentioned in Snow & Huskies, there is only about three hours of ‘daylight’ at this time of year but that is a brief window of perpetual dawn/dusk. Whilst the landscape is stark the skies are magic.

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This region is also home to the Sami people also known as Lapps, a nomadic indigenous peoples whose territory spans Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.  As fascinating as their culture is, we didn’t delve too much into that side of things on this visit. No, this was serious British Santa holiday geared for kids with a non-stop soundtrack to Love Actually. The upside is that now we have a reason to revisit, perhaps in a different season.

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What little light there was, painted some impressive views during the daytime and we even got to see the beginning of the Northern Lights one evening at the Lodge. This image is looking across the river from Finland to Sweden.

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This is the very photogenic (and oft photographed) northern most church in Sweden built in 1816. It is the defining building of the area for both the Swedish and Finnish areas.

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Other than our Lodge, on our side of the river there were three buildings that made up the town. One for locals,

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one for tourists,

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and a pub that we dare not enter.

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But again, we where here for the outdoors and to see Santa so we spent the entire next day doing just that. When you arrived at the day’s destination, you were greeted by a line of light torches that guided you through the woods.

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Until you arrived at the Northern Lights Lodge.  It was just a nice place to pop into warm up, get a drink or use the facilities but everything else here was outside.

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Of which we wasted no time in doing as we rode the mini snowmobiles,

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dare devil-style for my daughter,

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and savoured the setting.

There was tobogganing, ice hockey, snow mobiles for young and old and generally everything you would want for a cracking snow day.

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Finally, it was time to go find Santa. We were packed into a wooden sleigh lined with reindeer skins and were then covered in blankets.  We were pulled by a snow mobile for about 15 minutes through the woods as we all sang Sleigh Bells at the top of our lungs.

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But deep into the woods we came to a stop, and everything became very hushed.  Our driver went to warm himself,

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whilst we were introduced to our next mode of transportation.  Real, live, (very ornery) reindeer that were to take us even deeper into the woods to find Santa.

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There are few moments in life that actually take your breath away, but this was one of them for sure. We packed the kids into on of the sleighs (who looked very cute), and then ourselves into the other (definitely not so cute).

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About 10 minutes later we pulled up to a wooden house with an outdoor fire and tapers leading to the door.  The elves ran out and greeted the kids by name (who were completely gob-smacked) and knocked on the door.

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And inside next to a roaring fire was the man himself.  He knew all about Niamh’s broken wrist and foot and even knew that Ronan had just received his Bronze award for good behaviour.  The cameras were acting up due to the freezing temperatures but mama stifling tears behind the lens didn’t help either!

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It was everything we hoped for and more.  The setting, the activities, the adventures was all worth every bit.  After several hours of all this outdoor fun, we returned to a huge festive meal and a disco for the kids.

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We had a few hours to do some elective activities such as ice-fishing or reindeer herding the next day, but my group had reached its limit and just enjoyed the area around the Lodge.  Soon it was time to say goodbye to our snowy retreat and head back to the land of the driving rain.

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But the memories will last for a lot longer, and they are all very happy (and very appreciative) ones!

I can’t quite believe we still have actual Christmas to celebrate, but for my wee family this one is for the record books!

 

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!

 

Comments (1)

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  1. jess says:

    amazing!!! adventure of a lifetime, thanks for sharing. ssooo fun. merry merry to you and yours

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