After a really relaxing afternoon/evening spent in the pools and spas at our hotel we woke up feeling quite well rested.
Today our final destination was Kemi, a town in Finnish Lapland at the northernmost tip of the Gulf of Bothnia.
First though, we had a date with Santa!
We saw lots of reindeer on this part of the trip but none with antlers quite as impressive as these guys.
About an hour into our trip we stopped at the Rest Stop known as Molkoköngäs. Only a short walk from the carpark (about 100m) we found ourselves on the banks of the Ounasjoki River, home to the Molkoköngäs rapids. This is quite a popular canoeing and camping spot in the summer.
Whilst it was a lovely spot Bec was pretty excited about getting to Rovaniemi and the Santa Claus Village so we decided not to have morning tea and instead wait until we got there.
Only an hour away from the rest stop we arrived at Rovaniemi and Santa’s Village. Our first priority was meeting the great man himself! As you can see from the picture in the banner he was a lovely man and we enjoyed meeting him and talking to him all about our niece and nephews back home.
The Arctic Circle is a circle of latitude that runs 66°33′45.9″ north of the Equator. It marks the southernmost latitude where the sun can stay continuously below or above the horizon for 24 hours – these phenomena are known as the Midnight Sun in the summer and the Polar Night (“Kaamos”) in the winter.
In Rovaniemi, the Arctic Circle runs through Santa Claus Village, located eight kilometres north of the city centre, where it is clearly marked. We were able to purchase a certificate which states we’d crossed the Arctic Circle.
After enjoying some lunch and having a good look around Santa’s Village we made our way to Kemi.
The weather was perfect and after checking in to our hotel we walked around the bay and eventually through the town.
Hahtisaari Park is home to the sculpture named StoneAge, inspired by Stonehenge and made out of red granite.
The beautiful Hahtisaari Marina leading out to the Bay of Bothnia and the Baltic Sea.
Further along the bay we came across the Seaside Glass Villas which would provide amazing views of the northern lights during the peak of winter.
The Kemi Church found in the centre of the town was built in 1902 in a gothic revival style.
It had been a great day. Visiting Santa in Lapland is something we’ll remember for a very long time.