Finland Travelogue – (Part 4): Ice Fishing with Arctic Circle Snowmobile Park in Lapland

Fishing takes place all year round, even in winter. Ice fishing is actually a lot of fun, because we can move freely on the surface of rivers and lakes when they are frozen.

After the exhilarating reindeer and husky sleigh rides, our guide brought us to experience ice fishing.

We were pretty relaxed and did not hold much hope in catching any fish. Just for the experience of walking in a frozen lake and trying our hands in ice fishing for the first time.

The lake was covered with really thick snow. Our boots almost sank into the snow while walking which gave us discomfort of having ‘ice’ inside our boots and wetting the socks.

But we had our fun playing with the snow, which was pure white and soft!

To fish successfully, our guide used an ice drill with sharp blades to make a hole in the ice.

Our guide was experienced. Though it looked difficult to us, he made the drilling process looked so simple.

It just less than 3 minutes, water splashed out of the hole!

Attaching the bait on our mini-rod, we tried our hand at ice fishing for the first time. We did not bare too much hope as timing is important to increase your chances to catch fishes. It was nearing to evening time. The best timing for fishing is usually early in the morning when the fishes are active, alert and hungry.

The water surface started to freeze after a while.

We had no idea why it was so much colder over here at the frozen lake. Big and Small M dropped the fishing rod and took refuge at our van. The last thing we wanted was for them to experience any frostbite 😦

A point to note when visiting Lapland during the winter, do not try to save and buy cheap winter clothings. Visitors are often up against the harshest weather conditions in the Arctic Circle. So, do your research and get quality winter clothings at reasonable prices.

We completed the ice fishing and our guide brought us to the log cottage to warm ourselves up and also…

Smoked some delicious hotdogs for us!

Up next, we will be experiencing more Christmas magic at the SantaPark – Santa’s own Home Cavern that is located just underneath the Arctic Circle. The jolly and cheerful elves guide you through a fun day with our whole family!

Read our adventures in Stockholm and Iceland before hitting Finland!

Arctic Circle Snowmobile Park Oy is located in Santa Claus Village at the Arctic Circle in Finland.

Address:
Arctic Circle Snowmobile Park
Santa Claus Village
Joulumaantie 5
96930 Arctic Circle
Finland

Email:
Bookings and safari information
: info@snowmobilepark.com

Instagram: Arctic Circle Snowmobile Park
Facebook page: Arctic Circle Snowmobile Park
TripAdvisor: Arctic Circle Snowmobile Park

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All photos, information and opinions, unless otherwise stated, in this post belong to Katong Kids Inc. Reproducing or copying them for use on third party sites without our written permission are strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

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Finland Travelogue – (Part 1): Rovaniemi, Santa Claus Village, Santa Claus Office and Snowman World

The unique charm of Lapland spills over to us. We spoke and dreamt that one day, we would have the chance to step our feet into Finland and explore Rovaniemi, the official hometown of Santa Claus, to experience how the locals celebrate Christmas. We arrived at Helsinki airport early in the morning and switched into another domestic flight to Rovaniemi.

Self service check-in.

Stockholm and Iceland were really cold but they paled in comparison to Finland, where the weather was expected to be as low as under 30 degrees celsius!

Well, this travelogue on Scandinavia took longer than usual to publish as we had a hard time sorting out the pictures we took. All but thanks to the harsh weather conditions, we returned to Singapore only to realize that one of the SD cards was spoilt which resulted in almost 30% of the precious pictures we took, literally gone.

Here we were, at Rovaniemi airport. The entire town was coated with snow.

Santa Claus Village

Rovaniemi is a true land of Christmas, as the town has a fine white Christmas and a magnificent wilderness which is home to Santa’s velvet-nosed, antler-headed reindeer. The main theme of visiting the Lapland is to meet Santa Claus. There is only one Santa Claus, but he can be met in 3 different places in the town, namely the Santa Claus Office, Christmas House and SantaPark.

Santa Claus’ Main Post Office

The Santa Claus Village was pretty touristy. One of the attractions was Santa Claus’ Main Post Office where you could write postcards and send it to your loved ones.

Pick a postcard of your choice, head over to pay at the counter and start penning down your Christmas greetings.

The collections of greeting cards awaiting to be mailed throughout the world.

We thought this is an inexpensive and must-try experience. Imagine the excitement on our girls when they returned to school after the holidays to hear from their friends about receiving the greeting cards, all the way from Finland.

Santa Claus Main Post Office

Tähtikuja 1, FI-96930 Napapiiri
Tel. 020 4523 120
Fax. 016 3481 418
joulupukinpaaposti(at)posti.fi
http://kampanja.posti.fi/joulupukinpaaposti

The Santa Claus Village is an amusement park that was opened in 1985. There are accommodations available and open playgrounds for children to indulge in. It did look fun playing in freezing weather but the grounds were pretty slippery due to lack of friction underneath the boots.

They had fun sliding down the slope.

We didn’t dwell too long outside as it was freezing cold.

Santa Claus’ Office

Next, we had the opportunity to get up close and personal with Mr Santa. Each day Santa Claus arrives at his office at the Santa Claus Village on the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi. Here he greets visitors from all over the world, replies to letters and listens to the Christmas wishes of the children he meets.

It was a surreal experience in Santa Claus’ Office. Visitors were reminded to wait quietly before stepping into Santa Claus’ room. It heightened our awe and excitement of meeting that “special” someone.

Mr Santa was friendly and warm when we entered the room. He greeted us and carried himself well, sending lovely Christmas greetings and blessings to us. It was a short encounter with Santa but this experience would surely etch in our memories. We guess our only gripe was not able to use our camera to take photos with Santa Claus. As expected, visitors have to pay to get a copy of the photograph.

 Snowman World

Welcome to the Snowman World! This snow and ice world is situated right next door to Santa Claus in Santa Claus Village. We highly recommend exploring this attraction as you get a once in a lifetime experience to see Ice Restaurant, Ice Bar & Gallery, Igloo Hotel and Snow Fun activities such as ice skating, ice sliding and extreme bag jumping.

This is the Ice Bar where we can admire the animals and fairy-tale characters in an ice galley atmosphere. Surprisingly it was not as cold inside here as compared to outside.

Try sipping over a cup of hot chocolate. You can also try their special beverages served from ice glasses!

Visitors can enjoy the ice restaurant dining experience here. The dinner service includes entrée, main course and dessert.

It is not a good idea to try this with kids around. For the adventurous, it would be very special to spend a night at the Snowman World Igloo Hotel where  you get to sleep in a room built entirely of snow and ice. You will be given a sleeping bag, designed for extreme conditions to keep your mind and body warm throughout the night.

Every room has a different theme.

A constant temperature of just below zero degree Celsius will remain inside the igloo, while outside temperatures may be extreme.

All igloos are individually themed with ice and snow sculptures, and include a thermal sleeping bag. Shared bathroom facilities and a breakfast room are found in the main building.

Would you like to try out this unforgettable experience at the Arctic Circle?

Step out of Snowman World and kids get to try out extreme bag jump tubing.

It was really fun sliding down the hills but the challenging part was pulling the tube back to the hilltop. The kids were exhausted after 3 rounds and we decided to call it a day.

Snowman World
Joulumaantie 5, 96930 Rovaniemi, Finland

The Santa Claus fairytale is alive everyday at the village on Arctic Circle. It has been a trip of rich learning experiences where we will get to discover more of the spirit of Christmas in Lapland.

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All photos, information and opinions, unless otherwise stated, in this post belong to Katong Kids Inc. Reproducing or copying them for use on third party sites without our written permission are strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

 

 

Stockholm Travelogue – (Part 1): Finnair Airbus A350, The Old Town Christmas Market and Ice Skating in Kungstradgarden

This is our first trip traveling all the way to Sweden and Stockholm, being near to Helsinki (Finland) by just an hour flight, became a part of our itinerary during the school holidays.

It is no secret that Sweden is famously known for being the “Land of Ikea”. However, we know in our hearts that Stockholm has so much more for us to discover. We were first whisked off from Changi Airport to Helsinki (Finland) in a 12-hour flight.

Thanks to the new spacious, calming and eco-smart Airbus A350 aircraft by Finnair, our journey was made very much smoother and enjoyable.

Needless to say, on-board entertainment is sure to bring smiles to the kids.

We were surprised that Big and Small M did not complain on the long journey. After landing at Helsinki Airport, we hopped onto Norwegian in a flight to Stockholm Arlanda Airport.

All in all, after counting the total flight hours and waiting for transit, it took us about 17-hours to reach Stockholm, finally!

Stockholm Arlanda Airport

It was -7 degrees when we reached and freezing cold. What to do in Stockholm? At the Stockholm Arlanda Airport, feel free to pick up travel guides, brochures and maps. They will come in handy in any last-minute itinerary planning. Hey, not to forget buying a SIM card at the convenience store before leaving the airport. It cost $95 Krona (SGD $15) for our SIM card.

You have few options to travel to Stockholm city – either by bus, train or taxi.

Stockholm-Arlanda Airport is located 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Stockholm City.

The Arlanda express train takes you from Arlanda Airport to the city center. The platform is easily accessible, underneath the arrival terminals. Departure: every 15 minutes (for most of the day). Travel time: 20 minutes.

Flygbussarna Airport Coaches departs every 10-15 minutes between Arlanda Airport and the City Terminal (located next to the Central Station). Travel time to Arlanda: 35-45 minutes. Buses also run to Liljeholmen via Karolinska, Fridhemsplan and Södermalm (50 min). To Bromma airport via Kista and Sundbyberg. (54 min).

We eventually settled on taking a taxi which cost $450 Krona (SGD $76). It is actually more expensive to travel by train after factoring the 4 of us. Before hopping onto the taxi, do ask the driver on the fare. Stockholm is quite a cashless society. Everywhere you go, credit card is widely accepted for purchase.

Our accommodation was at Freys Hotel, which was a short walking distance from City Terminale. The hotel rate were rather pricey which was a big thumbs down. A maximum of 2 adults are allowed for a normal room booking. If you are travelling with kids, the hotel would need to impose additional charges and upgrade you to a bigger room.

In our hotel room’s balcony.

The Old Town Christmas Market

Merry Christmas! How can we not explore Christmas Markets on a trip to Europe? We dropped our luggages and headed straight for the market. Along our way, we met a kind Swedish who walked with us over a kilometre to the market.

At the Old Town Christmas Market, you will find a lot of Swedish Christmas and other specialities such as Swedish Christmas sweets, smoked sausages, smoked reindeer, elk meat, handmade knitted caps, candy floss, glögg (mulled wine), a range of Swedish handicrafts and decorative arts of workmanship and much much more.

The Old Town Christmas Market is the oldest Christmas market in Stockholm and Sweden. With the exception of the years 1907 – 1914, it has been a ongoing tradition until present time.

Crowds, from the young to the old, gather at Old Town Christmas Market during this season to soak into the Christmas atmosphere.

We did not really shop here but indulging in the food is a definite must for us.

Sipping over a cup of hot chocolate was heavenly in such a freezing weather 🙂

Exploring Christmas Market is a bonus when you visit Stockholm. You can check out which Christmas Markets will be opened over here.

Exploring Stockholm

We do not think it is a must to hit every attractions during our travel. Sometimes, even by leisure walking is very much a part of our itinerary. And it does bring great family bonding as well.

Ice skating in Kungsträdgården

It is common to ice skating indoors but it was our first time experiencing ice-skating rink in the middle of the city and to top it all – at outdoor. This is a surreal moment for winter visitors to Stockholm.

For once, we were a tad surprise that it only cost $60 Krona ($10) for 2 kids to skate including the skating gears. We were kindly advised by the ice skating staff to watch out of our belongings.

She is very happy!

The skating rink is self-maintained since this is winter season.

Kids had so much fun over here and never mind about falling down, they got up and continue to glide round the rink.

What a treat for everyone! Children gathered and sing christmas carols. We really felt like experiencing the true spirit of Christmas. Night comes early during the winter season. By 3:30pm, night beckons. We are dreaming of a white Christmas. Our first trip to Stockholm; a dreamy Christmas 🙂

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tos, information and opinions, unless otherwise stated, in this post belong to Katong Kids Inc. Reproducing or copying them for use on third party sites without our written permission are strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.