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FINLAND, ESTONIA, SWEDEN

The Lapland Series reflection post. Its always good to get home after such an intense trip, unpack and sit down to reflect on the trip, as its usually the first chance I get.

“LAPLAND HAS TO BE ONE OF THE MOST MAGICAL PLACES I HAVE EVER VISITED”

Theres plenty of ups and only a few downs but there weren’t suppose to be any. I take the odd ball ache when I am travelling through the Congo but in Lapland I expected everything to go as smooth as it could!

WHERE IS LAPLAND?

Lapland, CREDIT – BRITANNICA KIDS

CITY VISITS

I often end up going a few days earlier to do my own thing and tick off a few more items from the list but as it more often the case the rents were happy to join.

We started the trip with a few chill days in Helsinki including a bike tour and the world cup final, easily the best game I have ever watched. With there being not much else to see in the city we used the last day to explore Tallinn, Estonia’s capital city and thoroughly enjoyed working our way through the Christmas market.

DISAPPOINTMENT OF KAKSLAUTTANEN

This was really the start of the trip and my first time in Lapland. Here we are almost as far north as is possible and well within the arctic circle. An area at the north of the globe which for any time of the year can go without daylight for anytime from 1 day to 6 months.

Straight off, the accommodation and activities were a complete disappointment. I wont go into details because I’ve ranted enough about it but you can find the issues on my post here (Click to read).

A highlight would be experiencing the ice karting (even though it didn’t end well) and the ice lake, something I am incredibly proud of my mum and dad for doing…even though they didn’t have an option!

Besides the obvious ice pool, It was bitterly cold in the north, however I did enjoy the experience of such cool temperatures, its hard to really imagine how cold minus -19 actually feels like but it gets within your layers in no time!

The Lapland Series reflection post

TRIP STATS…

  • DAYS – 17
  • COUNTRIES – 3
  • NEW COUNTRIES – 1
  • REVISITS – 2
  • FLIGHTS – 5
  • STEPS – 164,879
  • MILES TRAVELLED – 5834.6 miles

CHRISTMAS IN ROVANIEMI

From here we jumped in the car and drove the 4 hours to Rovaniemi, the home of Santa Claus. Here we were joined by the rest of the family and checked into the amazing Glass Resort. If you want to visit Rovaniemi and stay somewhere special this is your only option!

Over the next few days we enjoyed plenty of activities, visited Santa, had a reindeer ride, ate plenty of the same and tried to take advantage of the great accommodation. This included a challenge on how long you could stand outside of the jacuzzi for and rolling in the snow. (Click to read.)

The Lapland Series reflection post

NEW YEAR SKIING IN RUKA

After a quick trip to Kemi and over to Swedish Lapland for a day on the Polar Explorer Icebreaker (incredible) we stayed in Ruka, a ski resort in Eastern Lapland for the final few days to see in the New Year. The skiing was everything we needed if it lacked some Apres Ski like the Austrian Alps but enough for us without being too busy at this time of year. And of course I have to mention Dad’s birthday and the ice karting where the 4 most competitive people went head to head on the ice! (Click to read.)

The Lapland Series reflection post

CHANGING MY TRAVEL STYLE

Anyone who knows me will know how intense my travel style is. I don’t want to miss a thing and often pile the itinerary full to the brim, and this trip was no different. I enjoy the challenge of setting up an itinerary with an almost infinite number of activities to attend to and always keen to try as many things as possible. But over the last few trips I thought about this approach and considered slowing my travels down, for a number of reasons;

WORK

I still need to be available to work while I travel, responding to emails on a daily basis. I cannot stand the thought of holding up a project because someone is waiting for my input.

RESEARCH

I find myself constantly researching new destinations and learning about the places and activities I plan on attending. Doing this for a trip that is 3 or 4 weeks long is both stressful and time consuming as I also have other priorities going on.

BLOG

Writing my blog while I am away is something I am finding it more and more difficult to do. It is probably lowest down the order in terms of priorities, and suffers because of it. I want to be able to post articles that I enjoy reading in years to come, thats why I started it.

YOUTUBE

This takes further time and it has become more difficult for me to create ideas & arrange and help with the editing and production. Most of these are several full time jobs.

David Simpson and sleeping roommate on Red Arrow in Russia. St Petersburg & The Red Arrow to Moscow

RATINGS….

  • PEOPLE – 7.5/10
  • BACKPACKING – 4/10
  • WEATHER – 6/10
  • THINGS TO DO – 9/10. Some places were better than others
  • FOOD – 7.5/10
  • VALUE – 5/10
  • PHOTOGRAPHY – 8/10
  • GETTING ABOUT – 3/10
  • SKIING – 7/10, perfect for a few days
  • SAFETY – 9/10

TIME TO REFLECT

I never get a moment when I travel to sit and reflect, to take it in or simply have a G&T without worrying about the endless list of things I have to do. I might be able to have a G&T but wont be able to fully relax knowing I have things to do. But I think its important to be where your feet are, especially when travelling with my parents and to fully enjoy their company.

SUMMED UP….

  • HIGHLIGHT – Ice dip and the karting! (Click to read)
  • LOWLIGHT – Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort
  • BEST SURPRISE – How cold it was
  • VISIT AGAIN – Yes!
  • TRIP RATING – 8/10

NEW STYLE

This doesn’t mean I will reduce the number of trips but rather the number of countries I visit each trip so I can spend longer in each destination and have those odd days or afternoons doing the things that allow me to do so much travelling. Of course this might include the odd additional beer rather than worrying about having to be up at the crack of dawn in the morning for another bus.

FINAL THOUGHTS

That finishes off another year of travelling but what for 2023? Apart from cancelling my trip to the Horn of Africa in January I don’t have much confirmed. But I will say there will be a few revisits to the middle east, to a country I wouldn’t have thought would have been possible this time last year… I’ll leave it with you.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for reading!

NEXT UP

TBC…

SAFE TRAVELS, DS x
160/229

This post was part of The Lapland Series. To view my Instagram highlights click here.
If you would rather read the rest of the series from the blog just click here.

Question Time

  • Have you been to Lapland?
  • Do you like to spend Xmas at home or away?
  • Do you enjoy having a chaotic and intense itinerary or more chilled out?

Let me know in the comments below . . .

Send this to someone who might like it
REINDEER YOGA, VENGEANCE & NYE
RIVER FLOATING & A SAUNA BUS, RUKA

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