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Old 1 Jan 08, 07:13 PM  
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Taggie
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Christmas in Lapland Day 1 Sunday 23rd Dec

Hubby - Richard 34 (the one with the credit card)
Me - Teresa 37 (chief planner and organiser)
DS1 - Daniel 10 (Santa's Little Helper)
DS2 - Joshua 9 (Santa's Little Helper)

This trip was a complete surprise for the boys, they knew absolutely nothing about this, packing was done whilst they were at school and any talking/checking of web cameras was done when they had gone to bed Suitcases were stashed in the garden room Saturday night and Richard and I were very excited.

The flight was at 12.20pm and we had to be at Bristol airport at 10.20am for check-in. We had told the boys in advance that we would be going Christmas Shopping in Bristol on the Sunday, so nothing was unusual about going out in the morning.

What was different was asking them to put on their thermal long johns and vests. Daniel couldn't understand why he would need them shopping, so that was a bit of a battle, then asking him to take a teddy, he couldn't understand why he would take a teddy shopping

Whilst the boys were in the playroom, we packed the suitcases in the boot and then all got in the car to head for Bristol airport, which is about 50 minutes according to Tom Tom. Tom Tom, took us through some very country roads and then suddenly we were in a very heavy duty batch of fog, luckily it cleared quite quickly, or we may have had to turn around especially as we couldn't see the bonnet of the car!

The boys were on their Gameboy's so didn't really pay attention to where we were going, until we pulled into Bristol Airport car park, we did try to convince them, that the park and ride was also in here. We had pre-booked the Premier Car Park, which was the closest and meant we wouldn't have to wait for the bus. As we took all the cases out of the car, Daniel didn't say much, just turned his back on them, Joshua did ask why we needed all these bags

We headed into the airport and joined the relatively short check in queue as it hadn't long opened. Whilst in the queue we played a 'Guess where we are going?' game, until Daniel finally worked it out. They seemed excited and were interested in seeing the 'Real' Father Christmas and the Artic Circle.

Bristol Airport seems very small after using Gatwick for Florida for the past three years. Having checked in and gone through security, we headed up to the restaurant for a bite to eat and drink, just as we had finished and been to the toilets, our boarding gate was shown and we headed over and obtained our boarding cards. At Bristol, you have to go outside and climb up the stairs to the plane.

Our First Choice Plane

The plane was quite small and the seating was 3 by 3. We had paid extra to have group seating and so had a row of 3 and 1 just across the aisle, so that was good, we could all still talk to each other. What would have been better is if we had sat in the right set of three row instead of the wrong one!

The flight was only just over 3 hours but was late leaving due to luggage still being boarded. As the boys boarded the plane, they were given a First Choice rucksack each and inside was some colouring pages, a letter they could write for Santa, a Christmas Carol song sheet and a Santa's Little Helper Christmas hat.

We received dinner quite early, which was a chicken & cheese pasta dish with a roll/cheese and a yoghurt. We also received one cup of tea/coffee/squash and no offer of a refill.

After everything was cleared away, a couple of the stewardesses went to the centre of the plane, which was a couple of rows behind us and invited all the kids to join them for Christmas Carols. Daniel and Joshua didn't want to go with them, so stayed in their seats colouring the sheets and singing along.

The Captain of the plane gave us some worrying news, he said that the airport in Rovaniemi was foggy and he would attempt to land, but may have to rise up again and try and land again, if that didn't work, then we would have to go down to Helsinki. Luckily, there were no problems and when the plane landed, everyone gave a huge cheer and clapped.

As we were right near the exit door we were nearly the first off the plane and so went straight through passport control, meaning we could get a frontal space for luggage collection.


Lapland are two hours ahead and so it was now 6.30pm. We found the First Choice Rep and she told us, our coach was called Fergus and this would be our coach throughout the duration. We went outside and located Fergus, the driver showed us the Official Airport of Santa Claus Clock and the Rovaniemi sign made out of Reindeer Antlers.


Once everyone had boarded the coach, we set off to an outbuilding to obtain our Winter Gear of Snowsuit, boots, balaclava, socks, gloves, mittens etc, then back on the coach to go on to the Hotel Santa Claus. As we were late coming in due to the luggage problems at Bristol, we had our Welcome Meeting on the coach and met our Elf Frosty, who would remain our Elf throughout the whole stay. He also explained about the additional rides that you could do and pay for and you would need to book them at the hotel tonight if you wanted to do one the next day. We decided that we would do the Reindeer Sleigh Ride. We arrived at the hotel at 7.20pm, there was no queue at reception, so we were seen to straight away and given all our room details. We went over to the First Choice Rep to enquite about the Reindeer Ride and she put our names in the queue and told us to go and settle in, she had our place marked and to come back and see her later. We were in room 336 on the 3rd floor, so entered the lift, but it was refusing to go up, it just kept opening the door. It took us a couple of minutes to realise that we needed to use the keycard to make the lift work!

Our room was lovely, it was classed as a superior room, had a gorgeous bathroom, very wide beds and a huge ceiling. We didn't unpack, but went straight outside. Our room looked out onto Lordi Square (named after Lordi when they won the Eurovision Song Contest)
We were sideways to the giant snowman and Christmas tree.
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Old 1 Jan 08, 07:14 PM  
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Taggie
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It was very quiet out and we were feeling a bit peckish, we ended up making our way down to McDonald's, the most Northest one, so now we can say we have been to the World's largest and the World's Northest McDonald's!

It was Snowing

We went back to the hotel at 9pm

We paid for our Reindeer Ride which was about Euro350! and then we picked up the sledges. Frosty had told us, there was an ice park just down the road and we could use the hotel's sledges there. It was quite quiet when we got there and we had a look at the igloo's first, inside they have lit up ice sculptures and were very pretty.


Sledging was great fun down the slope and we all had a few go's, well the boys had loads of go's and loved crashing into the mounds at the end.


We stayed there for about 1/2 an hour before heading back to the hotel to unpack and try on our Snow Suits.


We went to bed about 11pm, wondering what Christmas Eve would bring.

Christmas Eve Day 2
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Edited at 11:10 PM.
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Old 1 Jan 08, 07:20 PM  
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tiggersbestmate
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A fantastic start, I can't wait to read the rest!
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Edited at 07:33 PM.
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Old 1 Jan 08, 07:22 PM  
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Bob_and_Dawn
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What a great trip. Looking forward to hearing more about this.

Thanks,

Dawn
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Old 1 Jan 08, 07:30 PM  
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D15NEY
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Wow, looks fantastic .


Looking forward to the rest
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Old 1 Jan 08, 07:34 PM  
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Clare
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Looks amazing - makes me want to be a child again believing in Father Christmas.
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Old 1 Jan 08, 08:04 PM  
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Oh It brings back lovely memories of last xmas.Cant wait to see if you came and visited the hotel we stayed at Winter wonderland on your taster day.
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Old 1 Jan 08, 08:09 PM  
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Oh wow, what a fantastic, magical read! It must have been amazing.

Can't wait to read the rest
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Old 1 Jan 08, 08:18 PM  
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Your trip sounds great. Cant wait to read the rest.
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Old 1 Jan 08, 08:20 PM  
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It all sounds and looks wonderful, look forward ro reading more
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