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Winter Christmas for Aussies

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Feb 3rd, 2008, 09:13 PM
  #1
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Winter Christmas for Aussies

My wife and I are going to take our family [kids and grandkids] to Finland, Norway and Sweden for a "white" Christmas and New Year. [This will be a far cry from the 40 degree celsius we have at home]
I have researched the net and have lots of good ideas. I would welcome some thoughts on family friendly accommodation, things that ere great for kids to do and the like.
We are going to start in Helsinki around the 20th December and I thoought we would travel from there to Rovaniema, then to Stockholm, Oslo and Bergen. We have about three weeks.
We would like to see Santa, travel on the Icebreaker out of Kemi and do that sort of stuff.
Are we crazy??? or what???
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Feb 6th, 2008, 11:43 AM
  #2
 
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How are you planning on travelling through Finland, Sweden, and Norway? Trains, buses, planes? Some possible resources:
flights:
www.harefares.com
trains:
www.vr.fi/heo/eng/index.html
www.scanrail.com
buses:
www.eurolines.com
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Feb 7th, 2008, 12:22 AM
  #3
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Thanks for those sites. I will certainly use them as I have been using the Bahn german rail site and am unable to get prices.
We intend to travel by rail as much as possible. Air from Helsinki to Stockholm.
The problem there is we will be in Rovaniema and think I have to exit via helsinki for Stockholm. Does that sound like the best option?
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Feb 7th, 2008, 03:11 AM
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It sounds like the only option. At least it is the fastest one.

But why stop at Rovaniemi. Go further north, that is where the real Lapland is. Rovaniemi is just the gateway. For example this: http://www.levi.fi/pagesindex.php?id=1&language=eng_win
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Feb 7th, 2008, 03:42 AM
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Don't miss the Ice Hotel in Sweden. We stayed there in January with our 11 year old and 14 year old in a family room for one night and a cabin for the other night. SAS and Nordicair fly to Kiruna from Stockholm. You can also catch the train.

We didn't have the time to do any of the overnight safari activities but we did get a dogsled from the airport, Snowmobile/northern lights excursion and Reindeer farm/Sami culture excursion. We also did ice fishing on our own.

When we weren't doing excursions we had a lot of fun on the sleds the hotel provides.

It wasn't anywhere near as cold as we had expected and the hotel provides all the outerwear and we wore jeans thermals and parkas most of the time and wore all the warm gear only when we knew we would be out for several hours.
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Feb 7th, 2008, 04:54 AM
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You might think about a couple of snow days in Yllas, Salla or Levi that could include X country ski, huskie safari, raindeer petting and Santa visit.

Middle of nowhere but majority of population are Laps (Suomi) (time for a lap dancing joke) and unique.

Also possible to something similar on route between Oslo and Bergen try stopping at Geilo or Voss though no Laps. Oslo has 3 viking ships and a dragon church. Bergen is smaller and the dragon church was rebuilt in about 2002
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Feb 8th, 2008, 10:26 PM
  #7
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This is an awesome site to get really good information about planned holidays.
Thanks to all for the responses. I will certainly be following them through and will surely be back with more questions
Francesw I thought that the Ice Hotel was frightfully expensive as well as being freezing! Seems like I will,have to delve further
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Feb 8th, 2008, 10:42 PM
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Elina the web address you gave me I am not able to access. Can you please check it. Thanks
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Feb 9th, 2008, 03:59 AM
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OK, just type

www.levi.fi

You find language options at the right hand corner.
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Feb 9th, 2008, 04:03 AM
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There are also others like bilboburger suggested:

www.yllas.fi

www.ruka.fi

www.saariselka.fi
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Feb 11th, 2008, 04:01 PM
  #11
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Thanks Elina. I have looked at Levi and it seems like it could really be an option where we could stay in one place for a week and fit most things in.
None of the kids or grandkids have been in snow so it is something we are really looking forward to. Now for some advice please.
Have you stayed there? Can you recommend any accommodation? any activities? any specific location within the complex?
Also we were looking at the week 20th December on. Do you see a problem with obtaining accommodation at that time. Will things be closed?
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Feb 12th, 2008, 03:09 AM
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Hotels or log cabin?
Do you need a pool?
You must have easy access to a Sauna (welcome to the core cultural thing for Finland)
I think the lEVITUNTURI HOTEL HAS ABOUT THE best facilities (has some linked cabins) or there is a thing called something like K5 which I've seen but not been in.

The place will be dark (limited daylight hours) and B****y cold say 20-C.

It looks like a complex but basically it is a small village in the middle of nowhere (I dont think they have ATM) but they will have russians and Japanese there.

Booking just before christmas? oh yes

Husky sledging is a high point of a life (looks expensive) but go for half or whole day.

Do try cross country as well as down hill (most shops will take your money for down hill and swap for cross country)

Ice fishing no.
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Feb 12th, 2008, 04:26 AM
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I have been to Saariselkä and Ruka, but not Levi. But Levi is the biggest of its kind, and really has all the possible services (including ATMs) and still is "in the middle of nowhere".

For accomodatin I would rent a cabin (house) that is big enough to all of you. And has a private sauna, and a fireplace. And is close enough to shops and restaurants, so you can easily walk there.

And NOTHING will be closed for Chritmas, Christmas is high season and sells out quickly. So you should really contact reservation center already now. They can also advice you further. And if it does not have to be Christmas ? just winter: Mid-January to End-February the prices are lower. High season is Christmas and around New Year (Russian Orthodox Christmas is beginning of January --> Russians fill the places), and then again March-May when Finns have winter holidays.

There is a lovely site "Texan in Lapland", great pictures and good tips particularly for Levi. It is called "Kittilä Journal". Kittilä is the municipality where Levi is. Here, take a look:

http://www.kittilajournal.com/
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Feb 12th, 2008, 04:41 AM
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Hi Elena

Off to Sella in 2 weeks time can hardly wait

Macca Finland produces 13 different wines north of the artic circle (most of them disgusting) but not a bad place to try high alcohol fruit wines. Also save some money to buy local knitwear.
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Feb 12th, 2008, 05:02 AM
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Eh, they are actually berry wines, some more disgusting than others

But no worries, French/Italian/Spanish/South-African/Chilean, heck, also Aussie wines are sold both in wine shops and restaurants. But if one wants to try some berry wine, the best that I have come across are the ones made in Valamo orthodox monastery in eastern Finland.
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Feb 13th, 2008, 03:57 AM
  #16
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Elina please tell me more about the facilities and the advantages of Saarislka and Ruka
Sounds interesting
Bit worried about all the Russians being there as we have had a New Year in the High Tatras where the predominant guests were russians
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Feb 13th, 2008, 04:17 AM
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Ooh, do look into seeking out the Northern Lights. I've recently been looking at short pacakages from Scotland to Norway to (hopefully) see them. Some are on land & some on a boat sailing up the coast & in & out of fjords - not sure if out at sea is supposed to give better visibility. You will stand a much better chance of seeing them in 3 weeks than the 4 or 5 days I was looking at !!
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Feb 13th, 2008, 11:20 PM
  #18
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Interested in the comments on wines. I actually make wine and am currently bottling 900 bottles of a merlot/shiraz blend. We always make a point of visiting vineyards wherever we travel, so thanks for the comments on wines
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Feb 13th, 2008, 11:50 PM
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Hi all
Have you ever been to Denmark ?
The food there is fantastic and the island Fune (FYN) is everybody's dream vacation destination. The people is very friendly. We stayed at Skrobelev Gods (manor house) for 3 nights. We were invited to a wedding. And you should have seen the bridalsuite - it was the best I have ever seen. Well, well - I didn't spend me time there but in the nice vincellar or at the fireplace in the cousy lounge.

Slot
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Feb 14th, 2008, 01:39 AM
  #20
 
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Well welcome to snow berry and rhubarb. Not bad if you had to ski-doo to the "winery"
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