The alarm set for 01:30 and packing left to the last minute as per usual, we got up, dressed and headed to the airport. Hopefully with less hiccups than Cape Verde, I mean I did at least remember to get brake fluid and fill up with fuel this time! Progress and all that…

We made it to Gatwick in good time, arriving at about 4am, locating the Travelodge at Gatwick Central to make full use of the perks of Nathan’s brother being cabin crew and parked for free! As I write this on the plane on our way back, I’m hoping there’s no parking ticket waiting for us…

We were due to get the bus to the airport but instead a taxi turned up offering the same £3 price as the bus would cost so we got on and were at the North Terminal in no time.Not a lot happens at the airport at this time of night. It was empty. As we approached bag drop for EasyJet, we were entitled to priority boarding and to put our hand baggage in the hold for free due to being ‘3’ customers for our phone tariffs. Pretty good really! That meant only the backpack full of my travel guides, pens, and trip planner to document our trip in cane with us. You know, all the really important stuff. Meanwhile our warm ski jackets were to end up in the hold. Here’s hoping they’d join us in Rovaniemi, Lapland.

Through passport control and then we located the Wetherspoons to eat. I mean you can eat at anytime when flying right. Once full, we proceeded to the gate and then it was on to the plane. We were both shattered despite attempting to fall asleep at 8pm Saturday night so it was no surprise that Nathan fell straight asleep on the plane. Myself meanwhile tried to watch Netflix downloads, read the magazine in the pocket in front, started re-reading Harry Potter and The Philosophers Stone and constantly fidgeted the whole journey!! No sleep for me, but still I’m extremely pleased Nathan woke up nice and rested 🤨…We landed in Rovaniemi and exited the plane through passport control where there was this amazing sign saying…And no sooner had my passport been checked the orange case was on the belt ready for us to collect. That was all though. We had all my books, and some clothes but nothing warm. It must have been a good 45-90 minutes we were wondering what was going on. There were no desks to go and ask what was going on and because there were no flights until about 5pm everywhere shut down in the airport. There were about 6 cases missing. Surely that meant they were still here? One flight couldn’t lose 6 cases could it? A lovely lady came to wait with us whilst radioing down to the spaghetti junction belts below and said there was a jam. I don’t think I’ve ever been so relieved to see a case come out onto the conveyor belt. We would have been freezing otherwise!The downside was that this delay meant we had missed the bus into town so we were sort of stranded in the airport for another 90 minutes waiting for the ‘Santa Express’ to take us to the city centre. At only €6.60 return each its worth waiting for rather than paying the €7 each one way into the city centre. The journey took about 45 minutes to get to where we assumed we’d get off. We just looked for somewhere that looked ‘central’ and jumped off. Then it was time to hunt for the Airbnb we were due to stay in.The keys were left in the K-Market so we found one that was close to where we were staying only to find out there is a ‘K-Market’ and a ‘K-Supermarket!’ I mean how confusing! It was pretty much pitch black and we had no idea where we were going and lugging cases round wasn’t particularly fun. Still, eventually we found the correct place, went in, got the key and then located the flat about 15 minutes later.

We’ve stayed in many Airbnb’s during our travels so far and highly recommend using their services! This one was no different except we were a bit confused when we entered. In a lot of Finnish homes they ask you to remove your shoes at the door and wear socks/slippers round the house. Here was no different. Then we went in and there was no bedding on the beds (yes beds, it’s how we prefer it 🤣🤣) until we saw the pile that meant we had to actually make our own beds and then there were instructions to strip them and leave them in the bathroom when we left! Not had that before. We also had to clean the flat when we left because there’s no charge for cleaning, which to be fair for us is fine as it made it cheaper.Once we’d got settled we headed out to explore this beautiful Christmassy town. Or so we thought. A day reminiscent of when we flew into Belize last July, everywhere was closed because it was a Sunday. The Arctic Lights hotel looked amazing. It was lit up in different colours resembling the northern lights and looked so inviting. Sadly we didn’t have £181 a night to spend on accommodation there so we just ogled from the windows. There were only restaurants open and some weren’t even open until 5pm! Still, we wandered round the centre and once we found somewhere to eat, Amarillo, we focussed on what our plans would be for the next few days.Dinner was delicious except they put mayo in Nathan’s burger. Whoops! Once we had planned our next few days factoring in the weather too, we headed back out to see what else we could see in town. We seem to end up in supermarkets wherever we go and here was no different. Into the first K-Supermarket we went (Nathan collects bottle tops from beers around the world and shops are much cheaper than at dinner) and wandered round looking at the weird and wonderful things they have to offer.Freshly squeezed orange juice and a machine to cut your pineapple! Beers collected, oranges squeezed for juice in the morning to go with some croissants and we headed back to the room. The aurora forecast for the night was 0 so there was no point going aurora hunting. We’d save that for another night.

Until next time…

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