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Lapland Holiday Diary

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Skip to: Lapland Holiday Day 1, Lapland Holiday Day 2, Lapland Holiday Day 3, Lapland Holiday Day 4, Lapland Holiday Day 5

Please note that some of the photos have had their brightness edited, to make them easier to see, as in Lapland in the winter, (like in Iceland) it never really gets light.

Day 1 - Arrival

23rd December 2009

On the 23rd of December 2009, me and my family woke up at 1 o’clock in the morning. This was because we had a 6 o’clock flight to catch. The day before, there had been many delays at airports all around the country due to the snow, but luckily we left with just a 45 minute delay. After a three hour flight, we touched down in Lapland – north Finland.

It was fantastic, everywhere was covered in a thick blanket of snow! Since I was used to flying from huge airports like Heathrow, the airport at Ivalo was a bit of a shock to me. It was one small building, with the arrivals desk just meters away from the door, and the baggage collection just behind that.

My brothers especially liked the airport, as the holiday company we were with (Esprit Holidays, who I would highly recommend) had arranged for three ‘naughty elves’ and a reindeer to meet us at the airport. The elves were fantastic, they were jumping around on the luggage conveyer belt, stealing people’s things, and generally just acting like oversized children – this was all comical to watch.

We were then taken on the bus to get our arctic suits from a place in the town of Saariselkä, where we would be staying. The town was incredibly small, and had only a handful of shops. The bus then took us to the hotel where we lugged out baggage and winter clothing to our room, which was down five corridors and up a flight of stairs in the two storey, lift-less hotel.
Ivalo Avvil Airport Lapland
Ivalo Avvil Airport Lapland

We dumped our bags and cases, got changed into our arctic suites, gloves and boots, trekked back through the hotel, and went out into the -15ºC dark, arctic afternoon. Outside the hotel there were some sledges that anyone could use, free of charge, so we got some and pulled each other on the way to the shop where we were going to get some drinks. A Coke, Sprite, Fanta and water later we were back out in the snow. Back to the hotel, through the network of corridors and back to our room.

Having fun tobogganing in Saariselkä
Having fun tobogganing in Saariselkä
  After a welcome meeting, and a quick change we were ready to go swimming, in the hotel's indoor pool. About an hour later we headed back to the room. At this time, due to the fact that we hadn’t eaten a proper meal all day, we were all really hungry. The buffet was now open, so we went down to dinner.

After dinner due to the early start, my Mum and my younger brothers went to bed. Me, my dad and my sister were also a bit tired, but I said that you don’t get to be in Lapland everyday, so I made the decision to go out tobogganing on Europe’s biggest toboggan run, which we had been told about in our welcome meeting.

The hill/mountain was a ten minute walk (or toboggan ride if you have a very nice dad) from the hotel, however it took us about half an hour to haul ourselves and our toboggans up the hill. At the top it was very cold, windy, but surprisingly not that dark because of the snow.

The ride down was amazing! It was fantastically fun, snowy and cold but worth every step. When we got to the bottom we kept going up and down the first bit of the slope, until we were tired and eventually returned to the hotel, getting to sleep at just past 11 o’clock – 9 UK time.

Day rating: 7/10

Images: Lapland Ivalo Airport (185KB) Lapland Naughty Elves at Ivalo Airport (196KB) Lapland At The Top Of The Biggest Toboggan Run In Europe (149KB)

Posted By: Christopher (Admin)
Date written: 29th December 2009, Event date: 23rd December 2009

Day 2 - Leisure Day

24th December 2009 (Christmas Eve)

Today we woke up at half past eight and went down to breakfast. My favourite bit of the breakfast was the waffle maker, where you could make your own waffles. I fully utilised this facility! We were all rejuvenated after a good night’s sleep, so we all set off to do a high energy activity: snowshoeing.

We had great fun with the snow shoes, and I recommend the shop ("the snowshoe in Saariselkä") if you ever go on holiday there. When we had finished, we went back to the hotel. The evening was much like the last one, swimming, food, tobogganing – this time with the whole family. We came back, watched a bit of TV and went to bed.
A beautiful snowy forest in Lapland
A beautiful snowy forest in Lapland

Day rating: 7/10

Images: Lapland Me Snowshoeing (221KB) Lapland My Family Snowshoeing (216KB) Lapland Sign At The Top Of The Biggest Toboggan Run In Europe (314KB)

Posted By: Christopher (Admin)
Date written: 29th December 2009, Event date: 24th December 2009

Day 3 - Activities

25th December 2009 (Christmas Day)

Being woken by the horrible beeping of theTV alarm at 7 in the morning is not a nice way to be woken but that’s whathappened on Christmas day. Stockings had been kindly filled for us by Santa,but Mum and Dad said that presents were to be had at home on the 27thbut more on Christmas later…

Dressed, breakfast and ready to leave by 9 o’clock, on winter adventure day. The activity centre had loads of stuff todo. Below is a list of all the things we did:
  • Tandem Skiing
  • Tobogganing
  • Ice Sculpting
  • Snowmobiling on a mini snowmobile – I was to big for this
  • Reindeer riding – in a sleigh behind the reindeer, not on them!
  • Ice Fishing
  • Arctic Circle Ceremony – apparently when I die I will now be reborn as a reindeer…
Arctic Circle Ceremony in Lapland
Arctic Circle Ceremony in Lapland

After all of the above, we went on a familysleigh ride around the woods. Just by chance, we stopped by a log cabin withsome elves outside. Who should be in side, but Father Christmas! After a goodchin wag and receiving a gift, we were taken back to the main building to havea three course meal. Salmon Soup – gorgeous. Spaghetti Bolognese – soggyspaghetti, but otherwise nice. Pancakes – very tasty.

  Now to my favourite bit of the day, I got to drive a sledge (with my Mum and sister inside) which was pulled by five lovely Husky dogs. It was the most amazing experience. Hop off and run to help the dogs up the hills and jump on the brake to slow the dogs down. I loved every second of it, much to the annoyance of Mum and Genevieve who disliked my poor steering over tree stumps and into branches, although the branches hit me full in the face, as I was the driver, and the only one standing up.

Back to the hotel, do a bit of packing whilst Dad and Nathaniel go swimming and then off to the huge Christmas gala dinner. I an not used to eating Christmas dinner with around 300 other people, so it felt a bit odd, especially as the food was in no way festive! Then back to the room and off to bed.

Day rating: 9/10

Images: Lapland Reindeer Sleigh Ride (243KB) Lapland Ice Fishing (202KB) Lapland visiting Father Christmas (243KB) Lapland Husky Dog Sledge Driving (105KB)

Posted By: Christopher (Admin)
Date written: 29th December 2009, Event date: 25th December 2009

Day 4 - Departure

26th December 2009

We woke at around 7:30 today toget ready to leave. Breakfast, pack, onto the coach, catch the plane, four hourflight, (not sure why it was an hour longer) drive, home!

Day rating: 3/10

Images: Lapland/Finland From The Air (127KB)

Posted By: Christopher (Admin)
Date written: 29th December 2009, Event date: 26th December 2009

Day 5 - Christmas

27th December 2009 (Our Christmas Day)

Its Christmas! The day started off a bit strange, as there were no stockings, but after that it was a normal Christmas day: Presents, Christmas dinner, play with presents, watch a movie, light snack for tea, play with presents, bed.

Some of my presents are listed below:
  • iPod Nano 5th generation – A portable music player
  • Cow screwdriver – A screwdriver with four different screw heads, with a cow pattern on the handle, don’t ask why I like it, its just cool!
  • Money – Yey!
  • Books – Read
  • Slippers – I have needed a new pair for ages
  • Chocolate – You can never have enough of this stuff!
  • Socks – Doesn’t everyone get these?
  • More cool stuff…
Day rating: 8/10

Images: Christmas Happy With Our New Presents (280KB) Christmas Dinner (228KB)

Posted By: Christopher (Admin)
Date written: 29th December 2009, Event date: 27th December 2009

Thanks for reading!

Recent Posts

> Lapland Holiday Diary - 29th December 2009
> Happy New Year! - 2nd January 2010
> Easter Weekend Holiday Diary - 6th April 2010
> Cumbria Holiday Diary - 1st August 2010
> Paintballing - 10th October 2010
> Merry Christmas 2010 - 22nd December 2010
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