Happy Holidays! We spent the beginning of the Christmas season in Lapland – northern Finland at the Arctic Circle. My husband and I had this trip on our bucket list – although many of my friends thought we were nuts. But we love snow and love the beauty of snow-covered forests and pastures.
We had a peak experience – drove a dog sled team of 5 Alaskan huskies for 15 miles. We had a two-person sled, so Peter and I each drove half the distance. There were 6 dogsleds in all, with a team of five very excited and happy dogs. They love to run!
The guides were on snowmobiles at the front and back. They gave us a five minute lesson on how to drive a dogsled team (the brake is very, very important) and occasionally had us stop so they could check us and check the dogs. We went down a snow-covered lane through the Finnish forests, and then to a big pasture which we circled. It was a marvelous sight to see these dog sled teams out in the open in the deep snow.
The next day we visited Santa’s Village and did a sleigh ride pulled by a reindeer. They are smaller than the mule deer and white-tailed deer (the Bambis) that we often see. And they don’t like people near their heads but you can pat them on the rump.
We also loved the Lapland restaurants – very cosy, lots of fish and reindeer. The hotels and restaurants have furs on the chairs and backs of sofa which gives a warm and cosy feel. It doesn’t get light until 9:30 am and is dark by 2:30 or so. But there are candles at every meal – breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and at the hotel reception area and at the bars and windows (the ones without curtains swaying too near). Torches often light the entrances to restaurant. I wondered how I’d feel about so much darkness, but I found it quite fascinating. (We were only there four days so not quite the same as living there.)
We met Santa and his elves at the Helsinki Airport. And we were very much in the Christmas spirit by the time we got home.
May your holidays and New Year be lovely!