Written by Paula Jones Last updated: September 7, 2006
We booked it together.
We got married on the 30 December 2003. We celebrated New Year the next evening and left for Helsinki on January 1 2004.
We went to Lapland, a little place called Saariselkä (the closest airport is Ivalo), just over 100 km north of the polar circle.
It was an extremely expensive holiday but we had decided for our honeymoon that we should do what we really wanted. We booked through a travel agency – altering and combining existing packages to come up with the perfect holiday!
We started in a little holiday village called Kakslauttanen where we had two special nights planned. For the first we had booked the honeymoon-iglo, but as they had an extraordinarily warm winter it wasn’t finished yet. We got the honeymoon-cabin instead – a beautiful turf-hut with an open fire in the bedroom, a bathroom the size of a ballroom with a freestanding bathtub in the middle, and a sauna. The next night we stayed in a glass iglo – a little glass dome in the middle of the forest with a bed under it and a mini-bathroom. It was like sleeping in the open air but with a nice warm temperature. Then we moved to a hotel in Saariselkä for the remainder of the holiday. There we had a normal hotel room, but with a private sauna.
We had a few activities planned. The first was a snowscooter trip through the three surrounding valleys. It was a wonderful experience to drive through those virginal snow-covered forests. Everything you saw was white. My husband enjoyed driving that thing so much, so I just let him do all the driving (normally you switched halfway) so I could take in all that beauty.
The next was a nocturnal reindeer-sleighride. It was the evening of our one-week-anniversary and it turned out that we were the only ones who had booked this trip so we had the guide, the reindeer and the forest all to ourselves!
It is strange how light it is in a completely white forest, even at night. And a reindeer is much quieter than a snowscooter, so the silence was a new aspect. We stopped halfway at a Lappish tent for a warm-up by the fire and a cup of warm wine, and when the guide heard we were honeymooning, he went for a walk and left us to be alone in the silence of the forest for half an hour.
Then we made the journey even more expensive by booking another snowscooter trip, this time to visit a husky-farm. It was very interesting and so much fun to talk to the people who take care of 150 dogs. Each one knew them all by name! We also had a husky-safari planned, so it was fun to know a bit more about the dogs before we went on that.
The husky-safari was great: we got our own husky-sled with a pack of six dogs in front, and learned how to ‘drive’ it, and then we took off into the wild again. We stopped at a typical Lappish hut for warm soup at noon, and then took off again. Standing on your sled behind a pack of speeding dogs feels like flying.
My husband went skiing one day. I didn’t feel like it, especially as it wasn’t light enough to really have a good vision, but he just had to be able to say he skied on the northernmost slope of Europe. I just watched him from the skibar with a ‘Mintti Kaakao’ – a hot chocolate with a splash of Mint liquor. The rest of the time, we walked in the snow or relaxed in our room.
Dark and cold. It was still night all day: there were a couple of hours of dawn (in which we did most of the activities), but the sun never rose above the horizon. This made us stay in bed for a long time in the morning and go to bed quite early (for us anyway…).
The day we arrived it was -39°C, and I assure you that’s a strange experience! But then it got warmer because it was cloudy, by the time we left it was ‘only’ -6°C. The temperatures meant we spent a lot of time dressing and undressing. For every excursion we got special thermal suits, so that meant getting dressed in the hotel, going to the office where the excursions started, undressing and dressing again, etc. At the end of the second excursion they gave us a bag to take our own clothes home so we could put on the thermal suits in the hotel the next time.
Great! We were both completely relaxed, and after the wedding, completely newly-in-love again. People often stared at us because we would start a snowball fight in the middle of the street…
I found putting your story on the web almost a year afterwards is a great way to refresh all those wonderful memories.