I thought it about time that I finally posted about our completely magical trip to Lapland. We were there exactly a year ago, and it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.
We were a little mean, and didn’t tell the pink one and the blue one until we were about to leave for the airport – I couldn’t cope with the excitement, so best contain it for only one evening.
We booked with Thomas cook, about a whole year beforehand – this is top tip number one. If you want to go, they book up very quickly so you have to plan early – I think I booked just after Christmas 2015 for the trip Dec 2016, and even then the one that was in the school holidays was already full.
So a Friday morning in December, we set off to East Midlands airport with two very excited children for our festive adventure. On arrival, Thomas Cook were brilliant. They gave everyone a Christmas hat and a chocolate when we checked in ready for the 3 hour festive flight to Kittila in Finland.
You land on snow and ice…… it’s an experience! In the UK airports come to a complete close, and roads are blocked, and the country basically panics, this is a country that knows how to deal with snow!
It is freezing, absolutely freezing. Luckily I’d packed all hats, gloves and scarves in the hand luggage, as even the little trip walking from the plane to the terminal was so so so cold!
Waiting in the terminal for your luggage, and look up and see your ‘elves’ waving at you – it truly is magical.
From the airport, we boarded our coach with our Elf, “Buddy” who was with us the whole trip. We also had other Finnish Elves for company, Cinnamon and Berry. The drivers are amazing given the rods completely covered in snow! From the coach we were taken directly to the clothing warehouse to get prepared for cold weather.
Woollen socks, snow boots, mittens (tip 3: mittens are warmer than gloves), snowsuit and hats, then from here, it’s off to your hotel.
We stayed at the top of the mountain in Levi, and I have never in my life seen snow like this! Absolutely beautiful, and so white. Snow in the UK, is white until the first car goes over it and then turns to a nasty grey mush – this was so so different.
One thing to note about Finland in the winter, is that you do a lot of things in the dark! It’s dark for a good 20 hours a day, but the sunrises and sunsets are stunning.
Buddy gave us all the intro talk about what to expect, and when our tours were, and what time we were setting off in the morning, then we did what the little people wanted. Sledging in the dark!!!
This was the first time we got to see Levi too.
We had such fun, but it was soon time for bed ready for the full day early in the morning, but by doing this we missed the Northern Lights we later found out (so annoying as this was one of the reasons I wanted to go!!)
Up very early in complete darkness, we were taken to the activity centre. Snow angles!
Skid-do rides (in the dark – which was a little scary).
Then sledging at about 10am
A ride with a reindeer and sledge
And a husky ride which was the most fun ever!
More snow angels in the deepest snow we have ever seen!
Tip number 4 now – your iPhone battery will be absolutely rubbish in the cold weather! You need to keep it in a sock in your inside pocket next to your body heat, and even then it’ll probably still run out after about 4 hours! Luckily this was just about the time we got back on our coach to be taken back to the hotel for lunch.
But we decided to head down into Levi to explore.
It was a cable car ride away – known as the Gondola. (This is our hotel taken from Levi).
There was a disco by Thomas Cook in the evening so we headed there, and completely missed the Northern Lights again!!!
Day 3, and the day we got to meet the big man himself.
Up early in the dark we headed to the Christmas Village.
All lit with little lanterns.
We met Mr Claus – much to the little peoples excitement.
We even met Mrs Claus.
We did some crafts with Cinnamon our Elf.
Before heading to the crossing of the Artic Circle Ceremony, held in a snow covered Tepee.
Then more fun and games with sledging (you really can’t do enough sledging!).
After lots of hot berry juice and ginger biscuits, it was time for the elf Olympics and a huge snowball fight.
But not after meeting a gorgeous reindeer, (I never knew they loose their horns every year!)
We left this magical place, being waved off by Mr and Mrs Claus.
A free afternoon, but as we were only here once we signed up and treated ourselves to another Husky ride. You honestly can not comprehend how fast these dogs go, and how keen they are to run.
We headed out around a moonlight frozen lake, eerily quiet, but at the same time going so fast!
I’m so glad we did this extra activity – a memory we all still talk about now.
Dinner this evening was a Gala dinner, with Christmas jumpers to be worn and mini disco in the hotel. The kids has a wonderful time, and I kept my eyes open for these mysterious Northern lights that keep escaping me…. but they didn’t show that night – typically!
Final day, we had no activities scheduled, so more sledging, shopping and then a walk around the hotel once we’d handed back our wonderful warm clothes!