I was so excited when we woke up on the Monday morning. I guess you could say I was like a child. We were, after all, going to see Santa!!!First of all we passed some cool graffiti on the side of the road and then it was time to figure out the bus schedule. Nothing here was in English but that didn’t deter us! We didn’t even use google translate and still managed to get around fine. In the town centre, everything is in walking distance, to go further afield such as the airport or Santa’s Village, public transport is required. You have the choice of train or bus and there is more than one bus too. Anyway, we started heading to what we thought was the bus station, which was a good start, however the bus we needed, number 8, didn’t go from there. That meant hot-footing it to the train station about half a mile or so further along to locate the bus. Then it was to decide which side of the road we needed to be on. We chose wrong so legged it across the dual carriageway into the train station where the number 8 bus to the Arctic Circle actually has its own ‘stand.’

We caught the bus at 11:10 and they go fairly frequently to and from the Arctic Circle. We got on the bus and got our tickets there. A return ticket cost us €3.50 each so not bad as it’s an open return on that day! The ‘Santa Express’ also goes there but I’m unsure of the timetable as we only used that bus to get to the centre from the airport and then from Santa’s Village to the airport on our final day as the return ticket we purchased upon landing is valid for a month! The bus journey took about 40 minutes and then we arrived!First of all we went into the visitor centre to get a map and were greeted by the coordinates on the ground as well as numerous souvenir shops. Then it was outside into the actual village. I must say, whilst it was beautiful and there was plenty to see and do for both children and adults (who doesn’t want to see Santa!!) it wasn’t as Christmassy as I’d imagined. When we googled it later on, we actually missed the big Christmas launch by 4 days. We were leaving the Wednesday and the Sunday was the launch. That would also explain why it was quiet. Not that we were complaining!!There was one ‘strip’ as you entered going left and right which housed gift shops and restaurants/cafes. There were exits into the main square at several points with the one pictured being the main one.We were immediately greeted by ‘Santa’s Office,’ ahead of us as we exited the information centre. Admittedly it was a dreary grey sky and was also that fine sort of mist-rain that makes you soaked possibly more than a quick torrential downpour! I know what I mean anyway…

Either side of his office there were shops housing gifts and goodies for you to purchase. The main attraction however, for me anyway, was that here, we were inside the Arctic Circle. Whilst it was depicted by just a line on the floor so you could see exactly what was inside the Circle, it was an incredible feeling to cross that ‘line.’The co-ordinates, and ‘Arctic Circle’ written in many languages along the border meant for a great selfie opportunity for many. Admittedly we tried and failed because no matter what angle we tried, it was always backwards, we couldn’t fit the words in, or just looked plain ridiculous. However, everyone else was in the same boat too! Still, it made for some great afternoon entertainment!There was even a large Christmas Tree decorated with lights and flags from all around the world! It was a pretty awesome entry into Santa’s home village! 🤣

The village was actually a lot bigger than we thought and I can only imagine how spectacular it would look with a blanket of sparkling white snow covering the ground and rooftops. Postcard perfect springs to mind. Still, we had pretty good postcard photos! (In my mind anyway!)They have a reindeer park which had reindeer and sleighs that could take you round a track for a price, probably aimed more at children however it was still nice to watch!Entry to the village is completely free, it’s just the areas inside you have to pay for such as the reindeer ride and the husky park. We were lucky enough to see another husky park in Ushuaia https://emmanathantravels2017.com/2017/09/15/ushuaia-the-worlds-southernmost-city/ so I was very excited to see the Siberian huskies here in Santa’s Village! Admittedly the €20 entry (for us both not each) was a bit steep, however I absolutely adore these dogs! Their eyes are just stunning and they’re incredibly pretty!They did have a very cool sign which told you the distance to certain cities around the world as well as to the centre of the Earth!The difference between here and Ushuaia was that here, the dogs could run around in their cages freely. In Ushuaia, they weren’t in cages but we’re still chained up. In these parts of the worlds in the colder climates, Siberian huskies are ‘working dogs,’ and from the noise, we could only fathom that they wanted to work.

They were beautiful but bloody noisy!! The only time there was total silence, and I mean total silence, was when they were running round the track with tourists on the ‘sleigh.’We watched from the bridge. The husky park is pretty big to walk round and they each have their own name and their own story about their personality! Take some time to casually stroll round and meet all the gang 😊The ‘husky keepers’ (named by Nathan as we don’t know the official names for them) were padded out in thick outerwear and kept a list of which dogs they’d taken out to have a run so each of them got a turn. Each dog had their own space too be it a lead dog, wheel dog or somewhere in between. Then they were off. And it was deathly silent except for their paws on the ground. This gorgeous dog was waiting to greet visitors as they entered the park. I mean he’s no Baylou, but he was still beautiful. But then, we turned round to see these stunners!Baby huskies!! Who doesn’t want one! They were adorable the whole time including when they snuggled into each other to sleep! We watched them for a bit until we could tell they were actually asleep and then we left the huskies to go about their day! Entry did give us two free days also as we could come back the Tuesday for free!From the husky park we walked up the hill towards the igloos. These are the beautiful icy looking photos that get plastered all over Instagram and Facebook that look amazing but cost a fortune. We didn’t even get a look in as a) they weren’t open yet and b) if you weren’t staying in the area you couldn’t go in. So we walked back down the hill, past the petting zoo full of rabbits and goats until we got back to the main road.There was a rental house for all things snow related, which obviously we didn’t need as there was zero snow 😢. They even had a reindeer pizzeria which we did contemplate eating in, however their speciality is reindeer on most meals from what we could gather and we didn’t fancy eating any of Santa’s reindeer, especially Rudolph!We’d gone full circle back to Santa’s office which was lined by lit up Christmas trees! No matter which angle you look at it from, it is wonderful. Clearly it brought out the inner child in me!We decided to go in…the rain had started to get a bit heavier and after all, if the man himself was truly in there, it would be rude not to wouldn’t it?…They had elves in the office wrapping up gifts and advising on what you could buy as well as memorabilia with ‘Santa’s Official Office’ on! It was AWESOME! Santa was also in the vicinity, however he was camera shy to those except operated by his own elves. Understandable obviously, I mean he is probably the most famous person in the world right?They even had mailboxes which would have the special stamp on letters/postcards once posted and they could arrive soon or at Christmas! These were dotted all over the village and were one of my favourite features! Who doesn’t love receiving a postcard/letter? As I mentioned before, trying to get a photo of us crossing into the Arctic Circle proved difficult so we settled for the ones above. Nathan has crossed, I hadn’t. I have completely fallen in love with this place. I would love to come back when Christmas is in full swing and it’s covered in snow. The word magic springs to mind!We then found our way to ‘Santa’s Main Post Office,’ a souvenir shop and also somewhere you can buy THE most postcards I have ever seen and send them and parcels to wherever in the world you wish, now or at Christmas. It is also the place where children’s letters to Santa come and get sorted into countries! It was actually pretty magical.It was amazing and definitely one of my favourite places in the village! You can even request ‘letters of niceness’ from Santa himself to receive in time for Christmas! Magic, magic, magic! As you can probably gather, this place really is amazing! Full of all the magic Christmas should be about (just minus the snow 😢 and a mulled wine stand)!Everywhere you looked there were lights, be it on the buildings or shooting it the tree trunks.We passed the Three Elves Restaurant and went to the Christmas House. There, another camera shy Santa resides along with an exhibition about Christmas round the world, a cafe/restaurant and a souvenir shop.This is the only photo of the main guy himself that I could post on here…Still pretty cool though. I can tell you he looks exactly like that, just slightly bigger and less rigid! The exhibition portrayed how people celebrate Christmas all around the world.It is a place that truly gets you into the Christmas spirit and it does feel magical, even though I’m a grown adult at the ripe old age of 29, you can still feel/believe in the magic of Christmas no matter what age you are.Outside the post office is a little hut, called ‘The Roosevelt Cottage.’ Rovaniemi and Lapland were completely destroyed during World War 2 and were also the first to receive aid from UNRRA (the predecessor to UNICEF). Eleanor Roosevelt visited here in 1950 and this cabin was designed and used as the reception ceremony for her. We waited for bus 8 to pick us up from right outside the village and take us back to the city centre. Another 40 minutes later and we had arrived. First thing on the menu? FOOD! Through all the Santa excitement, we had forgotten to eat so found a nice Italian called Rosso, which had a nice interior and great pizza!The wine wasn’t bad either. Nor was Nathan’s ‘Happy Joe’ cider. We sat deliberating the rest of our trip here as most places were again closed on the Monday evening. With the sun rising at 9 and setting at 3, it doesn’t give much time for business and from what we’d seen so far, the city rises with the sun and sets with the sun.That didn’t stop us locating as much Christmas as we could find, in shop windows or down the Main Street. Even in the shopping mall where we had to get Nathan a belt.

Until next time…

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