So here we are, the first blog post to feature on chrisandeve.co.uk, it’s an odd feeling to write a post that people might actually read and to try and make it interesting but I’ll give it a go! This is Chris by the way, I’m going to write this one and get Eve to check it over as it’s the first one, it seems only right that we both have an input.
So our Lapland story begins in July 2015 when I booked our trip. I had been looking at different destinations for a while to take Eve away as a surprise for her 30th birthday , and if you know Eve then you’ll know she loves the snow and even better.. she love love LOVES Christmas!
So I chose a TUI Holidays package to Levi, in Finnish Lapland as the surprise as it gave us the best of both worlds; the ski slopes and the Christmas/north pole vibes.
Fast forward to 15th December 2015; I had convinced Eve to buy ski gear “incase we go last minute” and STILL managed to keep the trip a secret from her. That evening I called her upstairs where I had an open suitcase and told her that we’re ‘going away for 4 nights, somewhere cold and it’s a long drive so we need to stay in my flat in Manchester tonight’. Fortunately, I was working at the time in Manchester so had a little flat we could stay in before our early flight the next day. Once she had packed I then added all the ski gear including helmets and goggles, locked the case and we headed off.
When the alarm went off early in the morning we excitedly got up and left the flat. Little did Eve know that our journey would only take 10 minutes to the airport and then the game was up, we walked in to the terminal towards the big ‘Santa flight’ sign and checked in! Imagine her face, like a child on Christmas morning when you see that Santa has been! Suddenly Eve had a million questions about our travel plans, but I kept shtum and said that she would find out soon enough. The flight and transfers took up most of the first day and we eventually arrived at our self-catered log cabin in the woods, it was picture perfect and suitably cosy!
Did I mention that it was -25°C outside…ridiculous! The rep came round that evening to discuss with us the options we had whilst in Levi. After that we had a little walk/sledge in to town to grab some food and have a little look around before settling in for the night.
We woke up early the next day, so filled ourselves up on eggs and bacon that came with the cabin and I gave Eve a birthday present. She was going to get something small every day because it’s such a milestone, today’s present was a Beanie. I then revealed that our first day in Lapland was going to involve Reindeer sleigh riding, ice fishing and snow shoe walking! I know.. not your average daily activities!!
The Reindeer experience was entirely magical! They are wild for half the year and then shepherded (apparently it’s called Reindeer husbandry) for the winter season and they looked just as ‘Christmassy’ as you would imagine in all the snow, the sleigh ride was so beautiful and romantic! We’ve never seen snowy scenes like it as we worked our way through the forest to the frozen lake for ice fishing. First we had to drill the hole and then lower the bait.. as expected though, we didn’t manage to catch any fish! After standing on the lake hoping to catch something we had got a little cold so went into a cabin to warm up by the fire and prepared to go for our snow shoe hike. Snow shoes are basically like sticking planks of wood on to your boots, so you don’t sink into the knee-deep powder! We trudged through the forest where the snow became so thick it was almost waist height!
By this point we were absolutely freezing so went in to a cabin to warm up with some salmon soup and hot berry juice, a local favourite and extremely tasty drink a bit like hot Ribena. Once we had thoroughly thawed out it was time to ride the reindeer sleigh back to the start location to get the transport back to Levi.
Once back in town, we checked out a ski rental shop so that we could grab and go when we had any free time. We also picked up a huge pack of hand warmers because our camera batteries weren’t dealing with the cold very well and we needed to keep them warm in our pockets.
This was by far the coolest experience of our time in Lapland, completely out in the wilderness and travelling like the locals do. Once we were back at base we went in to a cabin to cook sausages over an open fire and drink more of the incredible hot berry juice! After that we got to spend time with the dogs now they were much calmer, we even met some Husky puppies!
We then had the afternoon to ourselves, to mess around in the snow making snow angels and recuperate before a snowmobiling ‘safari’ in the evening.
We had to wear all in one snow-suits and balaclavas for the snow mobile ride as it was so cold, but it was SO cool! We both got to drive and once out of the town and forest we could speed up to around 60mph, a proper adrenaline rush and so cool to drive something so powerful through the Lapland wilderness! We were hoping to get a glimpse of the Northern Lights, but it was snowing quite heavily so the cloud cover prevented us from getting a sight.
We then headed back to our cabin where, just outside in the snow I had to give Eve one last birthday present, this time I had to be on one knee though as I was going to present her with a diamond ring and ask her to marry me. I wasn’t nervous to ask her, but in the moment I was nervous to get my words out and make it romantic and special. I didn’t need to worry, what could be more magical or perfect for Eve than outside our log cabin in the snow! She was totally surprised and hid her face in her hands in the excitement and emotion but eventually managed to get out the word ‘YES’!
The next day we spent the morning talking to our families on skype to let them know the exciting news. I think they were probably all expecting it to be honest but all very happy for us. We then headed out for a lazy morning in the snow and sledging outside our cabin. I’d read online that somebody took bubble juice with them as the bubbles freeze in the cold air so we gave it a go. In hindsight we should have done it the first day when it was seriously cold, but after maybe 30 seconds they started to freeze which was so strange!
In the afternoon we rented our skis, boots and poles. I had never been on a slope before whereas Eve is an absolutel pro, so she took me on the nursery slope and gave me a brief 2 hour lesson of the basics whilst the local children whizzed past us. Other than trying/failing to manage the travellator I only fell over twice under Eve’s instruction so I think that’s not too bad..
We had to get our skis back to the shop by 6pm as we were leaving the next day so headed back into the town and went for dinner. We ate at the King Crab restaurant in the town centre where I ate Reindeer Pastrami, ‘when in Rome’ I suppose… it was quite tasty! Eve ate Crab and Chips which were also insanely good! We then headed back to our cabin one last time to shower and pack our bags for our flight in the morning to return to the UK for non-white Christmas!
I hope you’ve enjoyed our first blog post! It turned out to be quite a long one and more of a diary but there you go! Lapland was entirely as magical as you would imagine and more, definitely recommended if you love all things Christmas and perfect to reignite little children’s imaginations that are starting to realise the truth about Santa. Thanks for taking the time to read our first blog post, if you enjoyed then please share on your socials and comment below what else you'd like to see on chrisandeve.co.uk! x