At the home of Santa Claus, the last wilderness in Europe and the Sámi homeland – Day 1 and 2.
Day 1. We arrived Rovaniemi at 11.15 am by Finnish Train network VR’s overnight train from Helsinki. The sleeping compartment was super comfy- nice hard bed/quilt/pillow/ towel/water bottle/in-built wash; toilets and showers were at both ends of the compartment. The train had a nice pantry- actually a mini restaurant with seating and tables- we had some hot breakfast before arriving Rovaniemi.
Checked in to Helppo Hotelli Apartments –centrally located (reviewed separately at Tripadvisor).
After some rest walked up to Shopping Centre Revontuli – hardly 200 mtrs from our apartment and bought some groceries/bread/butter etc and walked up to Arktikum Science Centre – another 200 meters past our apartment to check out their open garden area so that we can return during night to try our luck with seeing Northern lights. But the weather was not favourable- cloudy and windy and also the garden area was completely covered by snow.
Day 2: Took the Santa Express bus opposite Shopping Centre Revontuli and reached Santa Claus village and spent good part of the day walking around the village, meeting of course, Uncle Santa, checking out various souvenir shops, the mandatory(!) crossing of Arctic circle and getting the certificate, etc. We also did the customary Reindeer ride but to be honest, it wasn’t exciting at all.
Had lunch at Reindeer Sirmakko Pizzeria restaurant in the main building – a glass of Finnish wine made from Arctic berries, a large pizza generously topped with Lapland’s Lingonberry and hot chocolate with rum.
Retuned to our apartment to rest and get ready for our Northern Lights tour later that night. The best part of out trip.