Here we are, landed in the land of Santa, on a snow-covered tarmac. It’s beautiful!
If you thought, just as I did before, that Santa was just purely a child’s fantasy, it seems Santa Claus or Saint Nicholas is very much alive and popular among everyone of all ages after almost 200 years.
Starting the Finnish holiday experience by pulling your luggage to your very own glass igloo by sleigh sets you right in the mood for a winter wonderland. Staying in a glass igloo is like camping under the stars without being in the cold. Stake out to catch the northern lights with clear, anti-fog glass over your head, while you lie down in the middle of the forest.
Ride or drive a husky sleigh into the wilderness and explore the forests. These dogs were raring to go when we first met them. Whining and barking, they instantly became focused on running the moment they were unleashed. We learnt from the husky farm that Alaksan breeds are preferred over Siberian ones as they have become too domesticated. Winter started a little late this time round, and it was still warm for the dogs at -5 degrees Celsius. They were panting as we rode on the safari. Their preferred temperature would be -15 degrees Celsius or lower for a good run. Make sure you show some love to your huskies, and they won’t leave you pushing your own way up the slopes!
We had figured out by now that Finnish people are great drivers, by the way our chauffeur drifts the van round the icy road corners, and how the locals take their bends on snow-covered roads. Also of course, remembering where Häkkinen, Räikkönen and Kovalainen originates. Where would be a better place to try Ice-Karting than in Finland?
We took a snowmobile into the forests, far away from the city lights for a chance to see the elusive Northern Lights. Riding at 80kmh on the snowmobile trail, our guide took us on a route approximately 1 hour outside the city to a beautiful campsite for a nice warm campfire with sausages on a twig. So here, we waited for the lights.
And so, as a finale, the auroras came. Starting out as a tiny, faint, glow of green in the sky… the lights started to dance. And so did we! Mission accomplished! Several travel mates had their bucket lists checked, and our journey to the far reaches of the Earth was complete.