It would be crazy to live in Finland and not visit Lapland. Known for its snow castles, reindeer rides, and aurora sightings, Lapland is a magical winter wonderland. I could not resist. Micah and I debated whether we would be able to swing it on our budget, but in the end, we decided it was a must see. We lucked out and split the costs of a rental car and an Airbnb between some friends from the Czech Republic and the Netherlands.
It was a seven hour drive from our town of Seinäjoki to Rovaniemi. We arrived at a beautiful Airbnb in a magical forest about 25 km outside of town. The house was situated on snowed over lake in a magical white forest. The word cozy does not even begin to describe this place.
Because we arrived so late in the evening, there was not much exploring to do. We dropped off Micah and the baby and my friends and I drove into town to get groceries. When we returned, we ate tacos, got in the sauna, and tucked away into the snuggest of beds. It was the most successful first day in my book.
In the morning, we woke up and were astounded by the beauty surrounding the house. We ate crepes and did some exploring outside. We hopped in the car and headed to town. We found wifi at a cute little cafe to do some research. By the end of our lattes, we were headed to Santa Clause Village to meet the big man himself.
At Santa Village, we saw reindeer, huskies, snow buildings, the arctic circle border, and of course, Santa Clause. It felt like Christmas in February. It was a total tourist trap, but the perfect destination for a one year old and a Christmas enthusiast such as myself!
After the Santa Village, we stopped and had a bite to eat at a Finnish Mexican restaurant that served Reindeer tacos. I stuck to regular tacos and Micah tried his luck with a reindeer burger. We went home and got in the sauna again and prepared for our aurora hunting adventure.
We let Wilder stay up late so he would sleep in the car while we drove around in search of the Northern Lights. He slept and we drove all over. We stopped to ask locals for the best spots to see the lights. They laughed and told us we probably would not see them. My friend Tereza was determined though and I am so thankful for that. After driving around for what seemed like forever, we stopped in the middle of no where to get out and pee before heading home. Sure enough, Tereza spotted a faint sighting of the Aurora!! Even though it was cloudy and faint, it was still sensational. We headed home happy and sleepy.
** Sorry about the quality of the photos. They were taken on a phone.**
In the morning, we ate breakfast and said goodbye to our cozy cabin. On the way home, we took Wilder to the Ranua Wildlife Park. He enjoyed being pulled around on a sled to see all the animals. It was the perfect way to cap off our perfect weekend, and if I haven’t said it enough, magical weekend in Lapland.