The Santa Village experience - Finnish Disneyland?
Trip Start Dec 10, 2012
20Trip End Jan 12, 2012
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The first thing we did when we arrived at Santa Village yesterday was go visit Santa, whose room was conveniently located through a door just next to the reception. Santa himself looked the part, but I don't think Alexandra was convinced as, she pointed out to me later, he wasn't wearing the right boots. Saskia, on the other hand, was in awe. When Santa asked them had they been good this year Alexandra nodded a 'yes' (knowing full well she's had her moments) and Saskia answered rather timidly 'a little bit good and a little bit naughty'. Precious! It took everything for Daniel and I not to burst out laughing. Santa then told them both to remember to eat their vegetables and to get a good night's sleep
The next day, in search of something a little more authentic, we took them to the highly recommended Santa Park, a few minutes down the road. Hmmm, more of the same. It wasn't too bad but it wasn't what any of us were expecting. Just a big commercial production. I think it can be best summed up by the Christmas pantomime performance given by the elves which featured a scantily clad elf (North) pole dancing and ended up with the elves dancing to 'Gangnam Style'. The Russians loved it. If Boris Yeltsin was there he would have been up giving it loads.
Returning to the Santa Village was strangely comforting (by comparison). It's more commercial than we expected but it has lots of outdoor/nature based activities as opposed to the completely indoor spectacle that was Santa Park. The girls spent the next half an hour gleefully taking turns sliding down an icy 10 metre long icy slope. It has suddenly become clear to me that kids are happiest in the elemental simplicity of nature. Tomorrow we plan to hang around the village just playing in the snow. Maybe we'll take a reindeer ride, or use the sledges to slide around the park, but I think the key is to keep it simple.
There are Aussies everywhere! And they are all wearing the same Aldi skiwear. Hilarious! We came half way around the world to meet lovely families from Brisbane, Adelaide, the Gold Coast and Sydney. Lovely to meet the Aussie warmth though.
Saskia and Alexandra are really enjoying each other's company
Alexandra is making friends left, right and centre. She makes friends very easily and Saskia is happy to follow on her coat tails. I see this changing though as Saskia is starting to initiate more contact with other kids.
Daniel is loving the -20 degrees and every afternoon between 5-7pm when the kids are in the kids club, we are both taking advantage of the sauna, which is part of our bathroom facilities. My tolerance of the cold is not as hardy as his. I am not cold as I am wearing my ski gear when out and about, but the fact that my nostrils seem to form icicles after 5 minutes walk, is a little disconcerting. I feel all too aware of the fact that we are in the Arctic, and confess that I will be relieved when we eventually arrive in the warmer climate of Geneva (which is 23 degrees warmer today, at 2 degrees).
We haven't seen the Aurora Borealis yet, but apparently there is a good chance of it tonight. Not sure we'll be able to stay up though. We've finally managed to fit into the time zone, waking up at 7am, but we're all exhausted in bed by 8pm. Particularly strange for Daniel who is usually a night owl. We're all definitely feeling relaxed and well rested.