Our third day in Saariselka, Lapland, was a chance to explore the resort which had plenty to offer. I didn’t think we could top Day Two, our Search for Santa day, but yet again, the most perfect family snow day unfolded.
After a much needed post Search for Santa day lie in, we fuelled up on brekkie, again a buffet with something for everyone. For me it was a chance to try delicious Finnish breads, I am a sucker for trying new baked goods when travelling.
As the dawn broke around 10am we started to build our snowman. The views were spellbinding, the skies the most breathtaking combination of turquoise and rose I have ever seen. I have never ever seen skies that colour, they blow away the hideous grey soupy skies that have driven me to despair in the UK. It seems strange to travel to Finland, that has even less light than the UK in Winter, when you are prone to the Winter blues as I am, but I felt totally different here, completely recharged by the electric skies, sparkling snow and crisp air.
We worked together to build our snowman, not so easy with powdery snow, but a success still, we watched cross country skiers pass and took in the view down the valley, we watched the stunning skies in disbelief. It was an hour of absolute family bliss.
To top that we had hot chocolates and wafers in the hotel to warm and fuel up ready for tobogganing.
Imagine a ski slope just for sledging down. A dream come right? I feel like I haven’t sledged for years, this took me back to flying down hills in the Pennines as a kid. Except it was even more beautiful and the slope felt like it went on forever.
Just when we thought the sky couldn’t get any more incredible, beautiful burnt orange of sunset melted into the turquoise and rose layers of dawn. When we climbed up the hill and sledged down, it felt like we were flying off the edge of the world .
Back at the hotel we snuggled into a wooden booth around a candle, watching the snowy world go by. We ate pizzas and reindeer burgers (Mr A much to the kid’s disgust) followed by Cloudberry ice cream topped with warm caramel syrup. We looked back at our photos on my phone.
We did some last minute Christmas shopping in the Lappish gift shops in the resort, a picturesque snow topped gathering of a few hotels, a sprinkling of gift shops, a supermarket and a couple of outdoor activity companies, surrounded by one of Finland’s largest nature reserves.
There are some gorgeous traditional things in the shops, I loved the wooden Finnish coffee cups, the Moomins tin cups I bought to sneak in the kid’s stockings and wooden butter knives with hearts carved in them.
Then it was time to leave for the airport, much singing on the coach, the perfect tonic to keep our spirits up as we prepared to leave Lapland behind. There were party games with the Santa’s Lapland staff for the kids at the tiny airport while we queued briefly. Everything was so well organised throughout, including the singing, hearing Christmas songs, which my kids kept on singing at home, I was so grateful for this, singing really makes it feel like Christmas to me.
The Northern Lights
The Northern Lights tour is an extra to this trip, a nighttime snowmobile adventure with cookies and hot drinks on route, and I kind of regret not sticking it on my credit card, as I overheard guests on both nights talking about seeing them. However, all was not lost.
Our flight home was at 7pm, and as we moved onto the runway, a small voice began to repeat ‘Northern Lights, Northern Lights!’ Assuming he was joking or looking at the runway lights I went back to kicking myself for not paying for the experience. Soon the whisper of ‘Northern Lights’ began to filter through the plane, so we looked out the window and sure enough, the little boy was absolutely right. Gorgeous green hues hung above the horizon and could be seen for some time as we took off as left Lapland behind.
I am thrilled to have ended 2016 having seen the Northern Lights, having missed them by a day in Iceland earlier this year. I am sure the Northern Lights are even more magical from the ground, from the plane the Northern Lights didn’t move me as much as the Finnish skies in the daytime. I will never ever forget those daytime skies and the way they filled me with wonder. They were the exact colours of the Pantone Colours of the Year for 2016, Rose Quartz and Serenity, which seems a very appropriate way to end the year.
The twinkling ‘Northern Street Lights’ of Manchester were also a lovely welcome home as we landed in the UK again. Normally I feel sad post holiday, but we were all so excited to celebrate Christmas, and full of the joys.
I can’t rate this holiday enough, every moment was perfect and the way it brought us close together as a family, really convinced me that the magic of Christmas really can continue, whatever your kids believe.
I will leave you with our snow fun and tobogganing, set to Let It Go from Frozen, sorry kids, I know how much you loathe anything from that film these days, but it had to be done!
Ready to find out more?
We travelled to Lapland as guests of Santa’s Lapland on a three day Santa’s Magic Tour which includes flights, transfers, accommodation, thermal clothing, a Search for Santa Day including a Husky Sleigh ride, Reindeer Sleigh Ride, private meeting with Santa by Snowmobile to his cabin, lots of snow fun activities including ice fishing, tobogganing and skiddos, breakfast, and for those who book half board, dinner and a Gala Christmas dinner. Four day tours are also available and there are optional extra excursions like Northern Lights tours. Find out more about Santa’s Lapland and book for 2017. Free child places are available, but are limited, find out more here.
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