Lapland; the home of the real Santa!
It’s where Rudolph plays in the snow with his friends right before your eyes. It’s where the elves actually make their traditional, wooden toys. It’s where the northern lights dance around in the sky. It’s where Christmas actually comes to life..
It’s where I was lucky enough to work!
I flew out to Roveniemi and was greeted by temperatures that reached down to -40C. Despite the weather, I am not kidding when I say it is one of the most magical places in the entire world. It’s as if there is a huge blanket of glittery snow that covers everywhere you see with reindeer running freely together along the roads and even the odd moose strolling around like he has all the time in the world. As well as reindeer and moose, I was also lucky to see an arctic hare, a grouse, huskies and I don’t want to name drop but also SANTA and his elves!!
In my first few weeks, I was living in Sweden, (only 15 minutes walking distance from the Finnish border) and I worked in Finland. Living and working in two separate countries was great although sometimes confusing as there is 1 hour time difference between both! So, if we decided to walk to work (or the pub), we would walk from one time zone to the other, pretty cool huh?
After a few weeks, I moved over to another part of Finland in a beautiful log cabin with the most amazing people. My time in Lapland allowed me to experience some of the best excursions and sights around. Whether it was organising groups for husky sledding or having a coach karaoke with about 60 people, I was always having fun!
I got to experience the coldest weather I’ve ever witnessed, where you can turn boiling water into snow in seconds, toast marshmallows in the forest and in December experience have no sunlight!
One of my favourite excursions to go on was the Reindeer Herding trip. After greeting the reindeer with lots of hugs, it was a sleigh ride crossing over the Swedish/Finnish border and then a sit down in a Kotta drinking hot Gloggi and cooking sausages on the fire inside and then we got to feed the reindeer!! It was the norm for your hair and eyelashes to freeze too….
Another activity I tried out there was snowmobiling. I got to do it in a huge open space on a frozen river which was amazing. I also got to drive one through a narrow route through snow-capped trees in the forests where wild reindeer run round, however I was a bit shite on this bit and ended up just getting on the back of someone else’s – wimp yes I know.
I also tried ice fishing, where we drilled a hole in the ice river to fish and went snowshoeing up a hill and made my first ever snow angel! Spending Christmas in Lapland is simply a must do. The breath taking northern lights came out on Christmas Day and even though I saw them countless times, it felt like it was the first time I’d seen them every time. Flashes of green, pink, white and purple lighting up the sky and dancing round was incredible. It was a time to just put your phone away and watch with your eyes.
Being my first Christmas away from home, I received a parcel just in time for Xmas Day filled with lots of goodies and home comforts from my family. We facetimed in the morning to open presents and again during dinner with the rest of the family where we did the annual drunken 12 days of Christmas song! The best thing about Christmas Day though had to be my hairstyle!!
New Year was just as fun too, we walked about 100 people to a frozen river where we tobogganed down to watch an amazing firework display, had sparklers and drank prosecco at the Finnish, Swedish and English…can’t be bad!
I had the time of my life out there, saw the northern lights many of times, hugged the ACTUAL Rudolph, was friends with Santa and his elves, tobogganed way too fast down the slopes, played my ukulele in the snow, tried to build an igloo, got lost in Finland, danced the robot in the pub, ate too many snacks, had lots of sleepovers, laughed until I cried (daily!) and met life-long friends..How COOL is that?! Pun intended.