I’ve always dreamed of this trip and this weekend my dream became a reality. For weeks before the trip I was trying to imagine what Lapland would be like. I obviously looked at pictures (time and time again!) but my mind struggled to visualise exactly what it would be like.
We flew into Enontekiö airport, which is basically a shed in the middle of the most picturesque, snow capped forest. The Captain had already told us that the runway was short and ice covered so there were genuine cheers of relief as we landed safely. Enontekiö is Europe’s last remaining Arctic wilderness at the intersection of three national borders; Finland, Sweden and Norway and is within the Arctic circle.
We were greeted at the airport by a team of people who gave us thermal suits, thermal boots and helmets. Within minutes we were being ushered onto sleighs, wrapped in reindeer furs and whisked through the forest. This was the most exhilarating experience of my life – cold air, snow dust in your face, near misses with trees and the most incredible landscape you can imagine.
Our activities started with kick sledding which was so much fun and the perfect introduction to our trip. We then hopped back onto a skidoo towed sleigh for our private visit with Father Christmas. We were taken through more slow clad trees with lamps and fairy lights to guide our way. Upon arrival we were invited by the Elves to warm up by their log fire before being invited into Father Christmas’ log cabin. Here we are, miles from anything, walking through a snowy forest to meet Father Christmas. The children were AMAZED. We arrived at his front porch and an Elf popped her head out and cheerfully told us that he was ready. Harry and Grace opened the door and there he was. THE main man, standing by his log fire and his Christmas tree. He opened his arms and said ‘Grace, Harry, I’ve been expecting you’. I could have exploded I was so excited. This memory will stay with me forever and I feel like crying every time I remember the look on their faces. He was so kind, so lovely and both children hugged him before we wished him well for his long journey on Christmas Eve.
We were on Cloud 9!
Next we headed up to meet the Huskies, the most amazing dogs. They are so strong and absolutely loved pulling us through the woods in our sleigh. The Musher (Husky Dog Driver) told us about these incredible dogs and how they live for racing through the snow. We watched as they were patted down with snow to cool them off. The echo of their excited howls was just an incredible sound.
We then headed for the Ice Castle – an amazing construction made entirely of ice. As we rested and warmed up, an elf served Hot Berry Juice and Gingerbread cookies. They were delicious.
After a stop off in our amazing log cabin (with plenty of delicious Finnish food!) we were off again, this time to meet the reindeer. What beautiful creatures they are – I will never forget the crunching sound of their hooves on the snow.
Tobogganing and Stiga sliding were the next activities we enjoyed and the children loved this part. It was amazing to be able to sledge on proper snow. There’s nothing quite like the feel of the cold air on your face and the sounds of wooooooooo as you slide down the ice. The most exhilarating sledging we’ve ever experienced! Stiga sliding is not for the feint hearted but so much fun!
Last but not least was the snowmobiling – a personal favourite for me. I was slightly alarmed during the briefing when the lead driver told us that our safari would be around a frozen lake…. but he seemed pretty sure we would be OK. With Harry clinging on the back we headed off with a pretty gnarly Finnish guy and it was AMAZING.
This was the trip of a lifetime and memories that will last a lifetime. Hope you enjoy these pictures!