A 6.5 hour Sunday morning transit in December at Helsinki airport, with a 6 year old, does take some doing. But it is possible even with the limited shopping and eating facilities. Helsinki airport is not large, but thankfully they had about four play areas for young children and the novelty of arriving at 6 in the morning and it still being dark after 9 managed to entertain us all. Until the hunger pains set in, then it was a two hour wait until both restaurants were open. Once open the Deli Fly Inn and the burger was worth the wait. Yummy.
Rovaniemi to Luosto
The internal flight to Rovaniemi was magical, with the sun still rising or was it setting, looking down on a snow covered winter wonderland. We landed on a snow covered runway. At a delightful provincial airport with running reindeer lights, lighting up the hillside behind it. Our final destination was Luosto. To get there we took the Pyhä and Luosto SkiBus. The journey from Rovaniemi took us via picturesque snow covered lakes and conifers, like giant Christmas trees. As you pass Hansel and Gretel like timber homes, the residents decorate some trees with twinkling Christmas lights. This dream like trip was finished off with a red glowing moon, took approximately 90 minutes.
Luosto is a tiny yet idyllic ski resort, with no more than three or four hotels and a scattering of restaurants and gift shops. We stayed at the Scandic (now Lapland Hotel) with its restaurant, the world’s largest log cabin restaurant. And it was a perfect location. If you were on a skiing holiday in Lapland, you could have almost skied straight off the slopes and into our little log cabin. This was equally perfect. A studio room, with separate bathroom and sauna. Yep, even a sauna. But best of all, particularly if you are 6 or 45, a log burning stove.
We had contacted in advance, A La Carte Lapland Oy. They were excellent, accommodating all our requirements regarding husky and reindeer rides and most importantly our visit to Father Christmas in Lapland. If we had wanted, they would have organised other activities. Our days were filled with lovely walks in this Winter wonderland. Either pulling a 6 year old around on a toboggan or going tobogganing on the ski slopes or making snow angels, in the deep white stuff.
Husky and Reindeer Rides
The husky and reindeer rides was our first activity in the evening. The reindeer ride was a very pleasant gentle ride through the night forest and across fields lit up by the moon and twinkling and shooting stars. The husky ride on the other hand was a real adrenaline and heart beating rush. The smoothness of the ride was a surprise and the gliding over the deep snow was a real thrill.
Visit To Father Christmas’ House
The main event was the following night when we went to visit Father Christmas. A La Carte Lapland Oy had truly excelled themselves. We were picked up in a sleigh pulled by a snowmobile and taken on a mystery tour through the winter forest. On the way we were lucky enough to see an Arctic Hare. When we arrived at Father Christmas’ house, there was not another light to be seen anywhere. We were welcomed by one of Father Christmas’ senior Elves. Who showed us around Santa’s office, and from there guided us upstairs to see Mrs Claus, who gave our 6 year old plenty of time. With her help our 6 year old had to utter a magic word and a bookcase moved and a secret passageway was revealed. After another magic word, a door opened and we were greeted by Rusty the Elf, who explained to the now completely captivated 6 year old, how her new stocking filling machine worked. She then knocked on a door to reveal, sat on a double seated rocking chair, the main man himself. Our now speechless 6 year old, was very warmly greeted and at no time was rushed and permitted as much time as he liked. As we left after a warm berry juice around a fire, we were waved goodbye by Mrs Claus and the elves. It was truly a magically evening as we returned back through the forest. This evening was just for us and there wasn’t a queue of children waiting behind us.
It is often an over used expression, but you are only 6 and 45 once, but this was truly a once in a lifetime experience. We would like to thank A La Carte Lapland Oy for there help in helping make our time in Luosto a truly magical Christmas experience. (Flights were booked direct with Finnair, the SkiBus offer a scheduled service from Rovaniemi and previously known as Scandic hotel (Lapland Hotel) was booked direct.)