On our first full day in Lapland we set off early for some taster sessions, first up a sleigh ride pulled by huskies followed by ski mobiles! In December Lapland get's about four hours day light which meant even though we left at 9am it felt like the middle of the night.
Our elf led us to a fire in the woods where we were told a story about how Lapland was divided between the animals. It was very magical sitting around in the dark with Wilf, drinking hot better juice and hearing an old folk story told in a thick Finnish accent. Our noses were marked with charcoal from around the fire as part of the tale and I was reminded what a strange and amazing experience we were having.
Myself, Wilf and my sister were the first to try out the husky ride, as this was the taster session they ran round a track for roughly 5 minutes in a lap through the snow covered trees. These few minutes had us longing for more, it really was fantastic! Husky dogs are built for these conditions and absolutely love to run, in fact in the summer they don't run at all as they are too hot so come the freezing temperatures they are in their element.
After the husky rides we took to the snow mobiles, as neither my sister or I can drive we snuggled down into the blankets on the sleigh that the instructor pulled along with the other children (and couple of adults that weren't driving either). The children all yelled at the driver 'faster faster!' and shrieked in delight every time he sped up ever so slightly. After a quick taster session of this and a promise of the full version of each later we were left with a few hours to kill before lunch.
We took this time for a quick sledge into the village to check out the supermarket and tourist shops. My sister and I excitedly pointed out all the Moomin products to Wilf and we picked out a toy Reindeer as a 'present' for daddy.
A lot of the decor and feel of the hotel was quite seventies in a way. I'd not stayed in a lodge or been on a snow type holiday before so I had no idea what to expect. For a vegetarian there wasn't masses of choice on the food department but there was always at least one vegetarian option and always an option of pasta and chips for Wilf (who can be a bit fussy at times) which was totally fine for the amount of time we were staying. If I have one regret it would be that we didn't get to eat out at any of the cafe's or restaurants as we were so busy but then again with all there is to do it was nice to know all the meals were there and inclusive when you needed them. A friend told me about cloudberries which apparently are eaten a lot there, another reason to return and eat out at least once or twice I think.
After lunch we had a trip to the husky farm for a real husky ride. If there ever was a time I wished for a GoPro this would be it! There is no way I can describe the sensation of either ride unless you experience it for yourself but it was incredible! the guide showed us how to ride the sleighs and my little sister even surprised me by taken the reigns and driving us Wilf and I!
And I got to hug a husky puppy!
That evening after a few hours back at the hotel and dinner we headed for a snow mobile ride. My sister buddied up with a driver and Wilf and I snuggled down into the sleigh again. He was so exhausted by this point he slept pretty much the whole ride, through the forest and dark was setting in and the snow glistening from the trees. Another truly surreal moment that I wish I could be able to describe or share in some way doing it justice. I think this might have been my favourite activity if I had to rate them. We stopped at the top of a hill in the middle of thick thick snow to watch the sun set whilst warming ourself with hot berry juice and Wilf woke up and threw snowballs with our friendly Elf guide. I kept thinking 'this is literally a once in a lifetime thing to do' and pinching myself at how I lucky we were.
Whilst we did quite a few activities over a couple of days due to it being a press trip and wanting to fit in as much as we could, if you came here with your family you could definitely take the bits you wanted to try and have a slower pace. If I'm honest Wilf would have been just as happy playing around the hotel, sledging and building snowmen but I think if he had been a tiny bit older he would really have been able to take in some of the amazing things we did.
I have one last post on our time in Lapland to come..the day we visited Santa!
We were guests of Thomson in Lapland and all words and thoughts are my own