Hello you beauties! Welcome to part two in the Lapland instalment! Check out the Lapland tab on the blog to catch up on other escapades, including snowmobiling, national parks and a highlight on staying in the most stunning log cabin surrounded by snow and a forest! – honestly this was one of the most magical winter holidays in the world and I’m so excited to be sharing everything we got up to with you! Everything from the cabin with its sauna, log burner and super high wooden ceilings to the snow surrounding the national park we were set in, it was just perfect PERFECT. After our first couple of days eating all the food, meeting snow animals and snowmobiling through forests, we decided to head on a husky sleigh ride! The little holiday park we were staying in had a whole bunch of different activities, and husky sleigh riding was something I was instantly curious about. In my head, it was just the absolute epitome of the loveliest winter activity.
I was initially a little apprehensive about the husky ride as obviously I am obsessed with all animals, and I wasn’t sure how they were treated and all the ethics behind it, but after a chat with a couple of the people on the grounds I realised they treat those little bears amazingly. They all have their own homes away from the park, and come to the parks to run like the crazies they are through the snow. There’s no equipment or anything to make them go faster, (like horse drawn carriages in some places have whips which is obviously just not okay,) so they all go at their own pace. We just happened to get a team of huskies who were doing their first ever paid trip taking out visitors, and they were bloody little rockets speeding through the snow! There’s plenty of huskies per sled so it’s not heavy for them either, and obviously the sleds are built to easily slide through the snow. When we arrived they were soo loud, making all kinds of howls and sounds, and we were told they were impatient to set off and it’s how they always are. You see as soon as they pull off how excited they are with their job, sprinting through the snow and instantly just running along happily. Bless bless bless. Out of all the animals in Finland, they treat their huskies very well – at least here.
We spent out ride with two other sleds on the ride with us – a little family with a young girl, and the leader who showed us the way. Another staff member followed on a snowmobile so everyone was looked after. Both other husky teams were having a nice peaceful trot through the snow, skipping along happily at a fairly leisurely pace. Our team was absolutely ragging it around! It was so funny but also quite a bouncy ride and was a little hard to stay on/keep balance at times! The sled basically works with a sitting section and an area to stand at the back – they are the people in control and have a brake to press on when needed. The brake is a little metal bar that you press down into the snow. The huskies can still run through it but they’re trained to know that change in weight/pressure means they should stop. Well, when I tried to do this as the person standing they absolutely did not stop and just ran through it all excitedly haha! I didn’t like the aspect of not being able to stop them as I was nervous they’d accidentally run off the wrong way, so my dad was the one who stood the whole time after I had tried it for 5 minutes! Other husky sled rides in Lapland have an employee in control the whole time so if you’re not up for doing it, you can still book a ride. With that being said it was so special having our very own team and cart. After the best 45 minutes or so ever, we stopped to thank our huskies for the ride and headed back to the cabin. Can we just appreciate how bloody lovely and happy they are after the drive? I love them SO MUCH.
Absolutely cannot get enough of those furry little chops!
We cooked some food in our cabin’s stunning kitchen, and then set off to the nearest city to buy some Christmas presents for our family. It was about an hours drive back to the main city from our cabin, but was literally all the way on one straight snowy road. It’s kind of hard/scary to drive in Lapland as the roads are just complete ice in winter, have a look at our tips in Lapland post to decide whether it’s for you(!) but we did love the ease of being able to explore all the places surrounding us. As beautiful as the city was with Christmas lights everywhere, all there really was to do was eat. Most of the main shops were touristy or big chains, and the city is quite little. (The size definitely isn’t an issue though as it’s still worth a walk around.) I guess I would just say, if you’re staying further away from the city without a car, I wouldn’t rush to see it when you’re surrounded by such a winter wonderland. With that being said I’ve heard some great things about some of the restaurants here, and the Christmas lights everywhere are lovely. We didn’t buy a huge amount as the exchange rates make everything pretty pricey, and we were mainly looking for cute independent Finnish stores. We did get some pretty artwork as some gifts and enjoyed ticking it off though.
We drove back to the cabin and spent most of the night watching Christmas films and lounging in the sauna. We also hopped out to make snow angels – I’d literally never made one before as the snow in England is always too wet and slushy. The snow in Lapland is so cold that it is totally dry, and it made it feel much less cold and more comfortable to roll in, I loved it! The only downside to such perfect snow, is it’s not really possible to have a proper snowball fight, as as soon as you throw the ball, the snow just disperses into a million pieces everywhere! This definitely didn’t stop us from trying though!
The next day was our last full day, and as we were staying within the same land of the zoo in the national park, we got unlimited zoo entries. We decided to go there and have another play in the snow and see all the animals one more time. Have a read of the part one to this series to get a full round up of this place, but it’s such a lovely winter wonderland! The animals are all in really big enclosures and, perhaps obviously, they have a whole bunch of snow animals that we’d never seen before. I could have happily walked around this place every single day – and I can’t wait to see it again in the future and show more people it’s gorgeousness!
We spent the evening packing, enjoying the sauna, squeezing in some more walks and eating everything in sight before heading home early the next day. Lapland was honestly one of my favourite ever holidays and I would recommend everyone to go! I’m so happy I’ve now ticked another country off my list too! We stayed at Lomakyla Gulo Gulo if you’re interested in staying here yourself!