Yllas, Finland

December 23rd is our Wedding Anniversary and this year it our 25th such anniversary. With the exception of 1991 we have spent every one at home, but this year we decided to do something a little different to celebrate the milestone event. The first decision was to choose between hot and cold. After choosing cold we decided to return to Finnish Lapland. We toured Finland in August 2006 and had a great time but did not manage to experience the Aurora Borealis.

Although this trip is to celebrate our Wedding Anniversary it also spans Christmas so we wanted to include our daughters. Unfortunately, the nature of Jess' work is that she has to work over Christmas which means that she is not able to join us. For now Sophie does not have this restriction and is able to join us.

We have never taken a winter holiday like this before and for the sake of simplicity we booked a package holiday with Inghams, a specialist in Winter sports holidays, that flies from Birmingham and offers holidays in Finnish Lapland.


A tedious but uneventful trip: Monarch 6138, from Birmingham to Kittilä then bus transfer to Äkäslompolo a village near the Yllas Fell.

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Log cabin
Log Cabin

still only twilight at 09:54EEST

We have no particular plans for the day, just acclimatise ourselves, find our way around and sort out arrangements for activities later in the week.

It is Monday morning and no reason to rush. There is a two hour time difference from home so we sleep in, effectively ignoring the time difference. Even so, it is still dark when we wake. We are about 120km North of the Arctic Circle and today is just one day after the Winter Solstice so the sun will not actually rise above the horizon. We should get about 4 hours of Twilight.

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It is Tuesday and our 25th wedding anniversary. Plans for the day include a snowmobile trip for Sophie and I and a celebration dinner in the evening at Poro.

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It is Christmas Eve, today Lynn and Sophie go on a reindeer safari.

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It is Christmas Day and it will be completely different to any we have ever experienced before. Today we drive a dog sled!

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Today is Boxing Day, and we have nothing preplanned. Snowshoeing and searching the sky for a glimpse of the Northern Lights are our main activities.

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Today will also be a restful day with no outings planned, we spend it skiing and continued searching the sky for a glimpse of the Northern Lights.

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I hate travel days and this is one.

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I have to admit to some disappointment that I did not get to see the Northern Light (Aurora Borealis). Natural phenomena! The probability of seeing them was reduced since we are not in the optimum part of the solar sunspot cycle. The peak of the next cycle is predicted to be in 2013, I'll try again then.

I am used to the idea that in hot climates you need to drink plenty of liquids to avoid dehydration. However, I am not used to a cold climate and had not appreciated the same need exists due to the very dry air that sucks the moisture from you!

The Good

Finland is a very civilised country and this area is beautifully maintained. There are more than 300km of trails around Yllas with about 30km being lit. The pace of life is relaxed and everyone we met was pleasant. While the scenery is not dramatic is certainly different to home.

While I did purchase the Estonian beer that I like, the local beer -- Lapin Kulta -- is very pleasant.

The Bad

Cannot think of anything bad to say. I still have no desire to ski but this area has sufficient other activities to keep me occupied.

Finland has never been a cheap place to visit but the exchange rate was the worst ever while we were there which meant that things were particularly expensive.

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