Wednesday, 19 December 2012


I apologise in advance for the number of photos, and the lack of light (that's how it is 200 miles north of the arctic circle).  So last week, we all got on a flight from Manchester to Kittala, Finland.  When we landed at 2pm it was -11 degrees Centigrade and it was approaching dusk.  We waited to get our snow gear, and took in the amazing scenery of this winter wonderland.

 Even the trees at the airport looked amazing!
 After settling in, we had an early start the following day to have taster sessions with reindeer, huskies, snowmobiles, toboggans and an artic circle ceremony.
 All six of us fitted on a sled pulled by 6 huskies.  Sophie was at the front, and thought it was brilliant!
 After we had our taster session we went to the information office, and asked if there were any husky expeditions for the six of us.  We got booked on a husky ride leaving in 20 minutes.  So off we went, on a 10km husky sled ride, over frozen lakes, through nordic woodland, with only the sound of the huskies panting breaking the frozen silence.  Stuart had one sled, and I drove the other sled, although we stopped half way around and Luke drove the rest of the way. 
 We didn't see any other husky sleds, only the snowmobile of one of the owners occasionally coming into view as he kept an eye on us.  We just had to trust that the huskies knew where they were going, and sure enough they brought us back to the starting point.  Sophie loved it (her first time on a proper husky ride), and especially like the big humps we went over!!
 On our return we were led to a little cabin with a wood fire in the centre, where we could cook sausages over the flames, and drink warm juice and cinammon biscuits.  Just what we needed after the cold od out doors (although by then it was only -6 degrees)
 To finish the trip, we met an 8 week old husky pup.  He was so soft!!
 On our return to the information centre, we decided to book a snowmobile safari for that evening.  The hope was to see the aurora borealis, but it was too busy snowing!!

So after tea, we went and got kitted out with helmets and balaclavas.

 The younger three went in trailers behind the two skiddoos, whilst Luke rode pillion with Stuart.  It was amazing going over frozen lakes, frozen rivers and through forests by night.  Although it took me a good while to get to grips with driving the snowmobile at the same speed as everyone else, they had to keep stopping and waiting for me to catch up.  In my defence, it was very unnerving as the snowmobile lurched when it hit a bump or a slightly slippier patch.  But it was amazing seeing the glitter of the snow in the headlights of the snowmobile, and seeing these snowy shapes looming out of the darkness, one could quite imagine snowmonsters in the Calvin and Hobbes style patrolling the forests. 

Half way around we stopped at a tippee, and had hot chocolate and cinammon rolls.  The children were getting a little cold at that point, even though the trailers were covered and they had reindeer skins and blankets to keep themselves warm.  Despite the bumps Sophie had managed to fall asleep!  The owner of the tour was building an igloo just around the corner, which we went to look at too.  Then we made our way home to bed, thrilled and exhausted with what we had managed to fit into one single day!
 The following day we went in search of Santa.  We decorated biscuits in the bakery..
 ...learned our elfabet at elf school...
 ...took some artistic, Christmassy shots...

 ...helped make some toys...

 ...and briefly saw the man in red!
We never tired of the views of snowy forests, it really was magical.

 On our return to the hotel, we went to see if we could book some snowboarding lessons, unfortunately we missed the last slot, so we went to find a toboganning slope instead.  On the way we discovered a little craft fair, each stall holder having a little hut, with heating!  It looked very Christmassy, and I might have bought some pencil roving from a finnish sheep!
 We found the tobogganing slope, with rope pully to pull you back up the slope.  It was all free, the sledges were fantastic, and we marvelled that such a thing could exist, as you just know that if it were in England it would have been vandalised and all the sledges taken!
 There were some snowball fights, and that little hut in the background was where you could go to warm up, again with wood fire in the centre, warm juice in the blackened kettles over the fire, and clean mugs hanging on the walls.  Benches covered with reindeer skins were around the fires, and it lit solely by the fire a few fairy lights.  So lovely and peaceful, and warm!!
 We returned to the hotel for a gala feast in the evening, and a meeting with Santa where we all got presents.
 And then it was over.  The following day we had to make our way to a very icy airport, and make our way back to England.  None of us were particularly enthusiastic to return so soon!
 We followed the sunset home,
 although for much of the way there was alot of sleep to catch up on.
Moi moi Suomi.  Kiitos.


  1. It look great, I'd love to see the man in red too. I've been good......... honest. :)

  2. Claire that looks and sounds absolutely fantastic. I am rather envious to say the least. I am not sure where you found the energy. I cannot see myself being quite so adventurous. Lucky lucky kids! XXX

  3. Looks amazing - glad you had a wonderful time, I love the photo's :-)

  4. Wow - that was fantastic. What a great trip xxx