It was a bit hard to tell who was most excited, Nicole or the boys! After a couple of long flights, we landed in the evening in Rovaniemi, Lapland, which lies on the Arctic Circle in the far north of Finland. As a comparison, this is well above the level of Scotland on the map (and one hour's flight north of Helsinki). Have a look at the link, which connects you to some webcams of the town. (Click on the heading)
Whilst we were connecting from Helsinki and we were waiting to board our flight, we ran into another family of Aussies (although with 5 kids plus granny, they sure were outnumbered!) who were also heading to Santa. They are ex-pats in France, and thought that the only people who make this trip are 'mad Aussies like us!'. Turns out they were staying in a cabin, one hour out of town, and that they had chosen the 'optional extras' of running water and power... With 5 kids!
When we arrived it was dark. The question was - would it always be dark?? There is only supposed to be one hour of sunlight a day in December, and in mid-November, it probably wouldn't be a great deal more. It was not too cold, either. Although we had bought enough stuff to dress for the top of Everest, it was only -3 when we arrived, stuff we are used to in Berlin.
Rovaniemi is famous for two things, do you know what they are?
The first is Santa (of course, why we are here)
The second is a heavy metal band called Lordi, who recently won the Eurovision song contest and dress up as Monsters.
These guys are so popular, they are in the local paper every week, and they have even named the town square after them. All Santa has is a village!
We settled into our hotel - we had adjoining rooms with the kids excited to have their own (me too!) and then went out for a late pizza for dinner. The real action would begin on Friday morning..