Where to begin on Lapland!? First of all, Lapland as expected was crazy cold with temperatures in the -10 degrees Fahrenheit! I am pretty sure my toes were ice frozen multiple times during the trip.
We left Wednesday evening from Helsinki to Levi by bus. We had two buses full of crazy international students from Aalto University. The trip was about a 14 hour bus ride (with a few breaks of course). I mostly watched Netflix throughout the ride and tried to sleep a bit here and there. We arrived around 8am Thursday morning! I met my cabin mates and hungout with them for a bit before heading off for my Husky ride! The husky rides were definitely hyped more than they should have been. Now, I’m not saying I didn’t have fun. I had a blast. However, I wish it were a longer ride. It was truly incredible to experience husky pulling you through the freezing wintery Lappish forest. We basically sat in the sled and enjoyed the ride for about an entirety for 3 maybe 4 tops minutes. I tried to snapchat my ride and I think by the end of it my hand was about to fall off from the cold. After the ride, we had a tour of all the animals on site, which was pretty amazing since many of them had been major films and advertisements! My favorite part of this husky experience was being able to pet and play with the animals. I loved it!
The next day I had my very first ski lesson! I was so nervous and excited. I was not expecting the ski boots and skis to be so heavy. It took me a few minutes to get used to the weight of them while walking around the resort site. Our instructor first taught us how to walk in our skis using one ski at a time. Then he taught us to keep our skis in a triangular shape in order to slow down and stop. Then it was finally time to go up the ski tunnel and actually ski down. No one had ever told me how terrifying coming down is the first time you do it! I had always been told that “skiing is so fun, you’ll love it!” or something along those lines. I did have a great time after a few tumbles down the slopes but, it wasn’t as instant thing. I almost gave up until my instructor focused his attention on me. He took my ski sticks away and made ski down the slope without them. I thought he was insane. However, I did it! I didn’t crash and I learned to stop. The excitement and adrenaline I felt in that moment is unexplainable. I continued to go up and ski down the mountain for a couple hours after the lesson had ended. I can’t wait to go skiing again and hopefully when I improve I can ski down the bigger slopes.
View from the slopes!
Later in the evening, our school had organized a party at a local bar. We played games, had sing-alongs, and got to know each other better while pre-gaming and going out that night. It was a nice evening with friends.
The next day, I decided to have a relaxing day by spending it at Levi spa. The spa had 17 different style pools all with different temperatures. I would say Finnish spas are somewhat like American in-door waterparks, as they have slides and lazy rivers. The most time I spent at the spa was in an outdoor hot tub in the snow. It was madness! It was snowing and I was outside in a bikini. The views were something else. Everywhere you look, it was absolutely beautiful. I could see people skiing and snowboarding. I could see birds flying above. It was unreal. I even did a very Finnish thing by “rolling in the snow!” I felt so silly rolling around in the snow in almost no clothing. I was so thankful for the hot tub to be so nearby. The water had never felt better!
The following day, we started to head back home. We made stop after about a couple hours to visit Santa Clause Village. No, Santa doesn’t live at the North Pole as many believe. He lives in Santa Clause Village in Lapland, Finland. The little village was quite charming with Christmas decorations everywhere, reindeers awaiting to give people rides, and of course Santa Clause himself. When I met Santa, he told me that I had been a very good girl all these years and should look forward to a successful future. Haha, okay I guess it was a bit strange meeting Santa but it definitely made the kid inside of me very happy.
The pros of Lapland: Go! Definitely, Go! Everything looks like a winter wonderland, the people are nice, and there are some great activities. Cons: not very good for vegetarians, and very cold. Make sure to dress appropriately and plan ahead for a great time!