Santa’s Lapland (Finland Adventure)

Well… I am now back from my Finland adventure!

My plan to blog every week failed as I just didn’t realise how tired/busy I would be so I thought I would do one big post and try and blog weekly at my next adventure (Austria) as I am there longer and it isn’t as full on as Finland.

So, many of you know I recently quit my full time job, give up my flat to start working in Santa’s Lapland for the Christmas Season and planned to carry on finding jobs aboard so I could travel and have fun before I was ‘too’ old or had kids, a mortgage etc.

My Lapland adventure wasn’t without its up or downs and definitely a few tears but looking back I had an amazing time and I was sad to be coming home, if I had a choice I would have stayed out a little longer before I headed to Austria.

My last blog post was about my time in London before I went to Finland and how much I hated it! If you haven’t already you can read this here. But, I was out in Levi, Finland for six weeks, the first two weeks were training weeks and the last four were when guests were actually in Lapland.

After the horrendous time in London I was glad to be leaving the hotel and hopping onto the free bus just outside to Heathrow Airport. I had weighed the suitcases and knew they were over, I also knew I actually had two carry on bags and yet I still hoped the airport didn’t noticed and I didn’t get charged a fortune to take them. (This is the first time I had repped, I had massively over packed!) However, the lady behind the counter was lovely. After I had messed up online check in and told the machine I had no suitcases (when I clearly did) she sorted that out for me, she let me off with my 5kg over suitcase and even checked in my little suitcase that was my hand luggage for free so I didn’t have to wheel it around with me everywhere and she didn’t even mention my second backpack! Going through security was a breeze and soon we (Kieron and I) found ourselves round through to the gates waiting to board.

I had actually spoken to a few of the other reps on social media so we all planned to meet upon the other side so we weren’t alone as most of the other reps were actually travelling alone, I was lucky enough to have this job with Kieron so I wasn’t alone (thankfully, I mean I can barely get on the local bus without getting lost never mind to another country with a stop in between). Just as I was queuing to board the plane, I realised I had left my winter coat (the only coat I had took for minus temperatures) at the security desks. I started to panic as I thought it had been over an hour, surely it has been destroyed/moved by now, luckily the airport staff were very helpful and found it for me. I then had to sprint round to the other side of the airport for boarding – the plane had been delayed 15 minutes gaining me extra time

I was flying from London to Helsinki, Helsinki to Ivalo, Ivalo to Kittila, and then bus ride from Kittila to Levi. We flew with Finnair and it was so good! Everyone received complimentary headphones, tea & coffee and berry juice (the locals fav) as well as everyone having their own screens and plenty of films/to series to watch. The underside as well as the tail of plane were fitted with webcams which could be watched on the screens – I am a nervous flyer and this actually helped me ‘calm’ down a little.

Once we had landed I realised there was something missing – SNOW! I decided this must be normal and it was on it’s way – I couldn’t of been more wrong. So many locals were saying they hadn’t see Levi without snow in 80 years at that time and it was so much warmer than I thought it would be (one day it hit 8 degrees!) and we were inside of the Arctic circle! Global warming is killing the planet.

During training we spent the first three days doing ‘classroom’ based training, watching presentations and listening to different people talk about what they expected of us, how we should behave and how to deal with customers etc. Then we were split into our resort teams (as well as 7 night and Santa Break teams) which are smaller than the big training group and made it was easier to get to know everyone, little did I know at the start of the season we had a MINT team and we smashed it, if I do say so myself.

The Skiing World Cup was also in Levi our first week there, I had the day off and I was definitely going. I also went to the opening ceremony/event, here I saw my first reindeer and Santa. They had an amazing band called Steve n Seagulls which played guitars and banjo’s covering other artists songs and wore amazing check shirts. I love watching skiing, pro skiers have to be insane the speed they were going down the run and some of them crashing out. The winner, a guy from Austria, named his reindeer (in Levi if they win they get a reindeer to name) Mr Snow and also gets a gondola with his name on.

Due to the lack of snow we were unable to actually do any of the activities that we have to offer i.e Husky and Reindeer Safari, Snowmobiles, Lainio Snow Village and Ice Karting.

I did go to Laser Quest which was great fun, it was in an old abandoned mining complex with sauna buildings and tree houses for the snippers. I had great fun running through the buildings and the trees round the complex. When it wasn’t our teams turn we sat around the open fire and drank berry juice.

I also went to Santa’s Workshop/Elves Hideaway/Tontulla where I met SANTA. There was so much to do; Elves School, Wise Elf House, making gingerbread with Mrs Claus, Elves Football, Northern Lights Kota (where you can cook sausages and get married!), Toboggan Slides (when the snow arrived) and of course the best bit meeting SANTA.

By the time the snow did start to arrive the guests were arriving too so we didn’t really have the time to do the activities unless it was our day off. But I did manage to get to do all the activities while I was there;

Husky and Reindeer Safari: It took a while, but I finally managed to do both the Husky and Reindeer rides! When we take guests to this excursion we don’t join in as our job is to talk/entertain the guests who are not on the ride. The last time I went to the farms before coming home to the UK I managed to get a ride on both and they are such good excursions. The reindeer ride was so cute and very chilled; my reindeer was called Whiskey and he was so lovely and didn’t run round the track – he took it very mellow so we could take some lovely photo’s. The husky ride was a completely different experience, it was amazing to see all the dogs work as a team and pull us through the forest and over a frozen lake (the lake that was unfrozen when I first got there, 6 weeks earlier).

Snowmobile Safari: I was actually unable to drive the snowmobile as I don’t have a driving licence (this was also the same for guests) but I had a wonderful driver called Lilly, who was another rep I worked with. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get many pictures as we were told not to take any while driving as it was against the law. The safari lasted about 2.5 hours, the route was absolutely stunning! We went over frozen lakes, through the trees and half way there we stopped off at a reindeer farm (a different farm to the one mentioned above) this time I managed to feed a reindeer as well.

Lainio Snow Village: On one of my days off we went to Lainio Snow village, this is made completely from snow and ice. It is handmade/sculpted every year, this year due to the super late snow as well as the warm temperatures they were also late in making the village. They are also working on the village and add new buildings throughout the season, each year it also has a theme and this year it was Game of Thrones themed. I have never actually seen an episode of Game of Thrones but I could totally appreciate how much effort went into everything and the sculptures were incredible.

Ice Karting: It finally got cold enough so that the ice machines worked so they could make the ice karting track. It was a fairly small track but it was so much fun, I don’t know if you ever have full control of the kart over the ice, if you accelerate too much round the bends/corners you went off skidding in circles. We didn’t have a full race, with 19 reps that would have taken forever so we just did some laps of the track and took plenty of photos at the end in front of the podium. But usually the guests would do practice laps, two heats as well as the final race and place on the podium with medals if they managed to get onto the podium.

I am now super sad to be home, and I have meet an amazing bunch of people who I’m going to miss very much and hopefully in the future I do see them again. But for now here is a bunch of photos of us having a good time! And plenty of other photos just to look at!

I now (writing this) only have a week left before I am off on my next adventure which is in Austria! This time my travels are for a little longer than 6 weeks it is for 4 months! So, I will have plenty of time to explore and already have some trips planned for while I am there!

I am going to make such a better effort to blog more regularly out there and I am also going to take nail things, I actually want to keep on top of my nails this time and make time to keep up with blogging.

Thank you for reading,
Katie, xox.

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