A Cornwall Holiday (4)

I am told that no holiday is complete without a boat trip, so today we decided to take the Enterprise Boat Trip from Trelissick to Falmouth. From the cottage there is a woodland walk which takes you to the landing at Trelissick, where the boats run to Falmouth. We set off in plenty of time, as we did not know how long it would take us and we also intended to have some lunch at the café at the National Trust Gardens at Trelissick.

We arrived at the gardens at around 11-30, but they were closed. Online it showed that they were open and that you had to pre book online, but it was all locked up. Pretty disappointing really, especially as we had just missed a boat at 11-15am and the next one was at 1pm.

We walked down to where the car ferry was running and watched that for a little while. Luckily we had a few snacks and a flask with us so we passed the time until the next boat was due.

The boat trip itself is run by Enterprise Boats. There were only a few passengers, but we chose to sit outside as we wanted to see the scenery. It was very bracing! There was a small amount of commentary at the beginning and the end, but for the rest of the journey (45 minutes in all), you are left just to enjoy the scenery.

We got off the boat at Falmouth and headed straight for lunch at a tea rooms that had been recommended to us.

Dolly’s Tea Room – Falmouth

This had been recommended to us in the information that came with the house we were staying in. It is a very quirky tea room, which doubles us as a wine and gin bar on an evening.

On arrival we went up the stairs and there was a sign asking us to sanitise our hands and ring the bell so that we could be shown to a table. We sat in a window seat. the tea rooms themselves are in a big Georgian building which is decorated in an eclectic mix of wallpaper, with various wall hangings, informative and amusing blackboards.

We ordered sandwiches and I had homemade soup with a chees scone. The food came quickly and was presented in a lovely array of mismatched china crockery, all adding to the quirky atmosphere. The food was really good and the staff were really pleasant.

We then had a short walk around Falmouth, purchasing big pasties to take back to the house for tea and then boarded the boat back to Trelissick. The woodland walk was shorter on the way back (had taken a few wrong turns on the way there) and we were soon back at the cottage.

The fire pit was lit and we warmed up the pasties and peas, taking them down to the fire pit and once again enjoying a lovely relaxing evening. Afterwards we went inside and enjoyed a few drinks whilst playing cards.

Everyone’s Heading To St Ives

The following day we decided to drive to St Ives, mainly for cream teas in a café there that was described as having the best cream teas. St Ives was unbelievably busy considering it was the last week in September. We parked in the overflow car park and headed straight to the recommended tea shop.

Olives Cafe – St Ives

We arrived at the café, but it was busy both inside and out. We were told that a table would be about 20 minutes and we opted to wait as the reviews of the café had been so good. After about 15 minutes we were told that we could have a table and we ordered our cream teas. There was a choice of scones all of which were delicious and large. The tea came in a nice big pot, so you could get several cups. The food was so appealing when it came that we were so busy digging in that we forgot to take photos, but take my word for it, it was definitely worth the wait.

After our cream teas we walked through the little streets of St Ives looking in some of the shops, but it was so busy, it was hard to keep your distance from other people and because of this, not really a pleasant experience. It’s great that the area is having lots of visitors, but difficult in the small towns to make it feel safe.

We walked up the very steep hill back to the car and decided to go for a drive to find somewhere a little quieter, when we came across a little gem.

Penwith Pitch And Putt

On the drive back we spotted a sign for the pitch and putt at St Erth. What a brilliant little place this is. It has a 12 hole pitch and putt, a crazy golf and a football golf. We chose to play pitch and putt, which we haven’t done for years. It’s a lovely course, well set out, clean and well looked after. We had a really good laugh and managed to get all the way round without losing any of the balls, although we had to dig a couple out of the little streams that were running through the course.

Afterwards we went for a coffee in the little café and had just got inside when it started to pour down with rain, Luckily it was a quick but heavy shower and it had cleared up by the time we had finished our drinks, ready to head back to the cottage after another lovely day in Cornwall.

A Cornwall Holiday (3)

Another beautiful sunny day again in Cornwall. Our plans were to go and enjoy a day at the beach and hopefully for me to be able to swim in the sea.

Porth Beach

We initially intended to go to Watergate Bay, but on our way came across the very beautiful Porth Beach. The beach is fairly narrow, but the tide goes out a long way, leaving a long stretch of really flat sand. A stream runs into it from one side. There are tiny coves and bays all the way down, allowing people to sit in what appears to be their own little area. It gives protection from the breeze(not that there was much breeze today) and also allows families to contain small children in a smaller area on a large expanse of beach.

We settled on the beach with our chairs, drinks and snacks. It was really hot and sunny just like a summer’s day. I was going to wait for the tide to come in a bit before going for a swim, but having looked at the tide times, realised it was still going out and low tide wasn’t until 4pm!

I made my way down the long stretch of sand to the sea. The lifeguards were there and there was only a small area between the flags that was safe to swim in. I headed into the extremely cold water, but once you were in, it was a great feeling and your body soon adjusted to the temperature. It was hard to swim in as it was really shallow for quite a way out, however there were some enormous waves which allowed you to swim with them as they came into shore.

It was a really great feeling and I spent quite a bit of time in the sea and went back in for another dip later on, even persuading my husband to join me.

We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and soaking up the sun, before heading back to the cottage

Pizzas and an Open Fire

Ruan Dinas, where we are staying has it’s own jetty, which has a fire pit. In the evening we cooked pizzas in the cottage, made up gin and prosecco cocktails, then made our way across to the jetty(literally 10 seconds from the house). It was dusk and it was so relaxing and enjoyable to sit by the open fire, drinking eating and laughing. We even did the obligatory toasting of marshmallows on sticks over the flames.

As it got dark and the tide was coming in we went back up to the house and played cards for the rest of the evening, whilst having a few drinks and snacks and proper belly laughs.

A Cornwall Holiday (2)

We awoke to glorious sunshine on the first full day at the cottage. Sitting in the garden with a cup of coffee we sat enjoying the calm and tranquillity. Other than the squirrels through the trees and the various birdsong, it was silent and so peaceful. The sun was shining over the river, with just a couple of boats sitting in the water, making it look like a true picture postcard.

We sat for a while before having breakfast and then set off to go to the local garden centre, as one of the locals had told us that they did fishing tackle, which you just have to have when you’re so near the water.

Carnon Downs Garden Centre was a really enjoyable place to look round. We purchased fishing gear and a very exciting windy crabbing line (a step up from winding string with a hook round a piece of wood). We had lovely sandwiches in the cafe which had a gorgeous view out of the large windows.

We then set off into Truro in search of wet suits as we were planning to swim and hopefully paddle board. Unfortunately Truro was completely devoid of wetsuits and we came back empty handed.

Back at the cottage, we sat outside for a while, as the tide was completely out and we couldn’t fish or swim until it came back in. Later fishing rods and crabbing lines in hand we went down to the quay (literally a 30 second walk from the cottage). It took about 5 seconds to catch a crab with a cheap piece of bacon on the crabbing line and a bucket full within about half an hour. The fish however, were not for catching.

I managed to get into the river and swim (I had bought a wet suit before I went). I have had open water swimming on my bucket list for some time, and I was not disappointed. After the initial entry into the water, which takes your breath away, it is really invigorating and you truly do feel alive. The only thing was, I felt quite constricted in the wet suit, so next time I will give it a go in just my swimming costume.

St Michaels Mount

The following day we made the journey to the lovely area Marazion, in order to walk across the causeway to St Michael’s Mount. Unfortunately we could only get tickets to the island and gardens and not to the castle itself. This was to limit the number of people on the island at any one time, which is understandable at the moment. You can only go to the island if you have a ticket for the castle or gardens.

It was another sunny, warm day. We parked near to the beach and the then walked over the stone causeway to St Michaels Mount. The view of the castle from the shore is breath taking. The causeway is a nice walk and the tide was still going out, leaving the rock pools at the side of the path which are always full of interesting wildlife.

Once of the island, there was a one way system in place and we walked round to the lawned area where we bought sandwiches and coffee (and cakes of course) then sat on the grass enjoying the sunshine and the spectacular views looking back towards the mainland.

We then went to the gardens at our allotted time and walked through the terraces. There were some stunning flowers and plants and some huge succulents. We really enjoyed walking around in the sunshine.

After this we had a quick stop in the gift shop before walking back across the causeway and to the car.

Still in search of wetsuits, we decided to have a drive to Penzance to see if we could find any there. We parked at the harbour and walked into the Town Centre, but again no wetsuits to be found ( unless you want to spend £500). I’m not sure what else there is in Penzance itself, but I have to say I was a little disappointed (Sorry Penzance) I think I expected something a bit more quaint and piratey and maybe a police man on the corner bemoaning his lot.

A Cornwall Holiday (1)

After all the ups and downs of the last few months and lots of “will we, won’t we” in relation to holiday bookings, we finally had our foreign holidays cancelled for this year (I thought I would be disappointed, but actually quite relieved). We were fully refunded for all of them, so a few weeks ago decided to book something in the UK.

We decided to book a week in a cottage in Cornwall. Pretty straight forward you would think, but not as easy as it seems. After lots of searching on the internet, most places being fully booked, we finally managed to find what looked like a lovely cottage in Coombe, near Truro.

An Overnight Stay In Bristol

As it is such a long drive from Yorkshire to Truro we decided that we would have an overnight stay in Bristol to break up the journey (in truth it was also because I had a voucher for a free overnight stay at any Village Hotel and Being a true Yorkshire girl, I didn’t want to waste it!).

One of the lovely things about the journey was that my husband had put some CD’s in the car just in case we got bored with listening to the radio. One of the CD’s was one that had been recorded by our daughter. It just said “The Jennings Family Favourite Music” on the front. It had so many great tracks on there that were linked to lots of events and memories over the years. We had a really good sing along and also reminisced about why each particular track was on the CD. Neither of us could remember when she had made it, but it was definitely a good way to pass some time on a long journey.

We arrived at the Hotel at about 4pm. The hotel itself is very modern and quite Hi Tech, well especially for us over 50’s. The room was clean and had a huge bed. Other than wearing masks in whilst moving about in the hotel and being unable to get in the lift with anyone else, it was very much business as usual. We had a table booked for the evening, so decided to have a quick coffee before getting changed and going for food. However, it was a lovely sunny afternoon and after sitting outside in the sun for a while, decided to order from drinks from the bar. Needless to say we never got changed before our meal, as it was just so lovely to be sat in the sun enjoying a drink and a chat.

The following morning I got up early and went for a swim in the pool before breakfast. I was in the pool on my own for the first 15 minutes or so which was lovely. A couple of other people got in soon after, but I was able to enjoy a nice peaceful swim to start the day.

We then went for breakfast, which was slightly different due to the current restrictions in place, so there was no ” help yourself”, everything was served to you. This didn’t alter the enjoyment and all in all it had been a relaxing start to the holidays (A bit like staying in the hotel at the airport the night before you fly)

An Afternoon In Polperro

As we couldn’t get into our accommodation until 5pm, we made a stop at Polperro along the way. This is somewhere I had not been before on my holidays to Cornwall. It is a picturesque fishing village, very quaint and pretty. We had a walk through the village and then stopped for lunch at the museum café. The museum itself wasn’t open, but the café was serving food outside and as it was another beautiful day, we sat overlooking the harbour eating delicious sandwiches stuffed with fresh crab.

We then had another walk through the rest of the village, then onto the beach and across the rock pools. By the time we had been to the supermarket for supplies, before going to the cottage.

Ruan Dinas

The cottage we had booked is called Ruan Dinas and is situated at Combe near Truro. We followed the directions given by the owners of the cottage, which took us down a small track. There were a few hairy moments or two along the way, but at the bottom of the track was a beautiful bungalow with an amazing view of the river.

Once inside we were impressed with the open plan layout, well equipped kitchen and comfortable seating. The bedrooms are large and lots of storage (always pack too much stuff!). We unpacked and had a coffee before walking down to the waters edge. It was high tide and there were young people swimming in the river, as well as people kayaking and fishing. It was such a beautiful evening and it really felt like I was on holiday at last.

We had a hearty home cooked tea, including a couple of glasses of wine and pudding and custard. The ginger sponge pudding had been made by my friend, who had been to the eye hospital for an examination and had to wear sunglasses whilst making it as her pupils were so dilated. As you can imagine, she got a lot of sympathy and from then on the pudding was renamed “one-eyed ginger sponge”.

A Weekend In Hawes

This weekend we were lucky enough to spend a long weekend with friends and family in a lovely little house in Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales. This was to officially celebrate my youngest brother’s 50th birthday. It was actually his birthday the week before Christmas, but chose to book a weekend in January, which is a really good idea, as it’s always nice to have something to look forward to in January as it can be quite a depressing month.

Ingleton Waterfalls Walk

On Friday morning, it was quite a grey day, but we drove up to Ingleton and walked around the Waterfalls Tral. This is a 7km walk, on a footpath, which takes you around the waterfalls and river in Ingleton. The trails are privately owned, so there is a charge for walking the paths. A ticket office and turnstile has now been built, which takes a little away from the scenery and makes it more commercialised, however once you get past this, you are on the paths and it is beautiful scenery. The paths are quite steep and slippery in places and there are quite a lot of steps.

We all kept up a steady pace and managed to get around the train before the weather closed in and it became quite cold and damp. There was of course the obligatory stop off for hot drinks and cakes in the village, before we made our way to Yarn House in Gayle, which was the cottage that we had rented for the weekend. The house is a lovely three storey cottage, which overlooks the river. The rooms were cosy and there was loads of equipment in the kitchen.

There were eight of us and on arrival it is customary for us to draw lots to decide who is having which bedrooms. Once this was done and we had got unpacked, the men went off to the pub. Allegedly they were only going to the shop to buy some lottery tickets but they were out a few hours and had a pint in each of the pubs. The ladies stayed in the house, apparently we were supposed to be making tea, but we ended up drinking prosecco instead. Once the men came back from the pub we managed to sort out food and enjoy our meal with a few more glasses of wine.

A windy walk

On Saturday morning we set off from Hawes to do a circular walk which normally includes Hardraw Force. It was quite windy and cold, but was ideal weather for walking. We had booked lunch for 2pm, so we knew that we needed to be back for then.

The walk was just over 6km and wasn’t too hilly.  Hardraw Force itself is again  privately owned and there is a charge to go and look at them. As we had limited time and the fact that the Falls themselves were not part of the route, we chose not to walk down to the Force to walk back up and complete our route instead.

It was a really nice walk with some lovely scenery. Unfortunately the mist started to come in, so the views were not quite as clear as they normally would be.

After the walk we drove to Tan Hill Inn, which is the highest pub in England. We had reserved a table and the landlord was pretty friendly when we arrived. The pub was quite busy, as it is a well known attraction. The pub itself is quite rustic, but a also a lttle run down. The furniture was well worn and the whole place looked in need of a little work. The food on the whole was good, but one of our dishes came after the others had finished eating and when it did come it was a bit of a let down.

We drove back to the cottage afterwards and had a restful evening watching films and having a few drinks.

A relaxing Sunday

On Sunday, we had a bit of a lazy morning then went down to the Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes. There is a lovely gift shop and visitors centre hers, although the creamery was not producing any cheese that day. We looked around the visitors centre and tasted lots of samples of cheese, as well as buying some to eat later.

After this we went for a short walk around the village. It was short mainly because there were hardly any shops open and also because it was very cold, windy and drizzly. We had a table booked at the Crown Pub in Hawes. This was a lovely pub, with the coal fires blazing. The food was great and the staff were really friendly.

After another couple of drinks in the pub, we made our way back to the house and spent the evening relaxing, playing cards and eating cheese and biscuits.

It has been as great weekend, with lots of laughter, great food, great company, fresh air, beautiful scenery and a chance to recharge our batteries.

 

 

 

 

A Winter Adventure in Lapland (7)

Unfortunately today is our last full day in Lapland. Luckily we still have an activity booked and there’s also something that we still haven’t tried in Muotka. There’s also still another evening so a possibility that we may see the aurora again.

Husky sledding

Today we were up and out early, in the dark as we were booked in for a visit to Husky and Co. We travelled by mini bus and it was only a short journey.

On arrival, we were introduced to the guides and given instructions on how to drive the sled. Basically the dogs will pull the sled whenever you take your foot offf the brake. Other than this the driver stands on two footrests, whilst the passenger sits in the sled.

Andrew was the driver. The dogs were keen to set off as soon as you got into the sled, so he had to keep his feet firmly on the brake until the group were ready to set off.

Once unleashed they set off on the track through the forest. They go amazingly fast on the flat, too fast down I’ll, requiring lots of braking, but on the uphills Andrew had to step off with one foot and push sling like you would with a scooter.

I really enjoyed it but it did make me a little bit nervous at times, especially on the downhills when even the strongest of braking didn’t seem to slow the dogs that much.

After the sled through the woods we were invited into the wooden building where there were a couple of roaring fires and we were given salmon soup, potato bread, hot juice, coffee, cinnamon buns and biscuits.

We were then taken to see the puppies, some of which were only 4 weeks old.  They were beautiful. All the dogs seemed well looked after and eager to meet people. They seemed happiest when they running and although I had reservations at first, I was comfortable with the set up.

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Sledging – don’t remember it being this hard as a child!

The only thing that we had not done whilst we had been here was take the sledges down the toboggan run. This afternoon we decided to give it a go.

Unfortunately neither Nick or Andrew we’re feeling very well, so Julie and I braved the slippery slope whilst Andrew took some photos.

its amazing how things that didn’t feel very scary as a child make you feel really nervous as a grown up. I was too wary to go from the top of the run so managed half way down. The hardest part was getting out of the sledge at the bottom and walking back up the hill with the sledge once you reached the bottom.

After a couple of runs, with lots of screaming on the way down and hysterical laughter at the bottom, covered in snow and very hot, we decided to give in. It’s definitely a pastime for children, but was great fun!

Aurora lights the skies again

On the way for our meal this evening, the aurora made another appearance. It was very faint at first but during our meal the sleet kept going off so we were in and out looking up to the skies.

The light display was amazing for several hours this evening and was brighter last night and was even dancing at one point. Apart from Andrew and Nick not feeling well it was a superb way to end the holiday.

So now we are on our way to the airport after an early start. As we head for home I am so glad that I had this experience. The hotel has been wonderful, the staff amazing and it’s been worth every penny.

Goodbye Muotka,  thank you for a wonderful holiday

A Winter Adventure in Lapland (5)

This morning was slightly overcast, but the snow had stopped and the temperature had raised overnight to a much warmer just below freezing. The heavy snow overnight had left another couple of inches of soft powder on the paths and it feels a little bit like the buildings are going to disappear completely if it continues. We are told by the staff that so much snow is unusual for this time of year, but it is amazing to see.

A snow mobile journey

Todays activity was a journey on the snow mobiles, to a reindeer farm. We all donned the layers, along with balaclavas and helmets. We looked a bit like the riot police in the full gear.

Being on the snow mobiles, in the dry slightly warmer weather was an amazing experience. The snowy landscape is so beautiful and a little surreal, more like a painting or a storybook. I chose to sit on the back, rather than driving as Andrew loved the driving and I was comfortable and probably safer on the back. We followed the guide along the snow mobile tracks for about 16k.

Reindeer farm

The reindeer farm we visited was a traditional Sami reindeer farm. On arrival we were introduced to the reindeer and were then taken for a short ride in a sledge pulled by one of the reindeer.

We then had a demonstration of reindeer lassoing (using reindeer horn on a block on the floor and thankfully not a real reindeer!), then people were allowed to have a go.

Afterwards we went to the hut where we were treated to hot tea and cake and one of the Sami ladies talked to us about the reindeer and the Sami way of life. She showed us reindeer antlers, which are naturally shed and passed them round for us to look at. She explained her traditional beautiful bright coloured dress and how different areas will wear different colours. The jewellery that they wear is handed down through generations. The ladies also wear a traditional hat which we were told, depending on how you wear it, indicates whether you are married or single.

The best soup in Lapland

It was then back on the snow mobiles to travel to Savottakahvila restaurant for lunch. We were told they serve the best soup in Lapland. It was definitely amazing soup. I had tomato and vegetable whilst everyone else had elk soup (it was so good we all had second helpings). There was bread, rye bread or crackers. This was then followed by hot coffee and Jaffa cakes. Absolutely lovely food and a warm and friendly atmosphere.

After lunch we were back on the snow Mobiles to make the journey back to the hotel. It was just starting to get dark as we returned and just after we got back inside it began snowing again.

It was an amazing day and an experience I will remember for a long time, made even better by the great company and the lovely guides, who kept everyone safe and laughed along with our banter.

What’s happened to the snow?

After our evening meal we stayed in the hotel for a few hours, having a few drinks and playing cards. At about 1145pm we decided to go to bed as we are getting up earlier tomorrow. When we came out the temperature had risen to +1degree. The huge piles of snow on the trees had completely gone and if you looked at the trees you would have not known it had snowed at all. There is still tonnes of snow on the ground, but it is now much wetter underfoot.0F179D56-9B3D-4E54-893D-B82729B4F056.jpeg

A Winter Adventure in Lapland (4)

New years day was another bright day, once it became light at around 10am. It’s was a freezing cold morning, at -16 degrees. We went to the hotel and had breakfast and then booked out the skis for the morning.

Skiing to Kakslauttanen

Once we had all got our skis on and the required layers of clothing, we set off on our cross country adventure to Kakslauttanen (or Klatterslappen as we keep mistakingly call it).

This is another small holiday village approximately 3km from Muotka. We managed fairly well in the tracks, but when it comes to crossing the roads, or areas where there are no tracks, it’s a little more difficult and there were a few falls along the way. The hardest part for me was going down hill as it feels like you build up a tremendous amount of speed. I resorted to coming down them sideways, to avoid quite some much speed. I did manage one hill, but screamed coming down as if I was skiing down a mountain off piste, when it was actually just a small hill.

It was so cold that ice crystals formed in any area where you were warm, or where yo were breathing. We had ice crystals on our hats, on my eye lashes and when you breathe through your nose the hairs in your nose freeze. However with all the effort of skiing you still remain warm inside all the clothes.

Once we reached the village, we called in for a hot chocolate and a look around the gift shop. We then put all the layers and skis back on and headed back for lunch. The ski home didn’t seem to take any time at all.

After lunch we had a restful afternoon and as it started to come dark around 2pm, it makes it feel really late. Afternoon naps are definitely required, especially if you are going out in the evenings.

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Aurora hunt by car

After our evening meal, we were then booked to go out aurora hunting in the mini bus. By this time it was snowing heavily and we knew that there was little chance of seeing them.

The trip out was worth it, just to see the amount of snow falling and the amazing drier, who seemed undeterred by the blizzard and carried on regardles, stopping just once to clear the ice from the wipers.

We stopped at a couple of points to get out and look at the sky, but due to the amount of snow there were no auroras to be seen. The temperature reached -21 degrees at one point.

We were provided with the customary hot chocolate and cookies and then returned home at midnight.

We have a couple more trips out to look for auroras, but as it’s a natural phenomenon there are no guarantees, but perhaps that means we have to come again if we don’t see one

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A Winter Adventure in Lapland (3)

New Years Eve day dawned (at about 10am), bright and crystal clear and a slightly chilly -14 degrees. It was so lovely so see the daylight. Although it’s light, I am told that the sun never really comes above the horizon at this time of year, but it has a beautiful twilight type glow.

We had a lovely breakfast and then made our way to Our first activity.

It has really great health benefits – honestly!

We made our way down to the smoke sauna, where the intention is to sit in the sauna and then run out in the snow and plunge into a hole that is cut in the frozen river. Apparently it has great health benefits.

Andrew was full of cold, so decided to be official photographer. The rest of us egged each other on to be brave enough to have a go.

We got changed in a draughty wooden hut and then went into the sauna. It was so dark it took a while for  your eyes to accustom, but once they did it was fine.

After sitting in the sauna, we then bravely ran to the river, wearing swimwear, hats and socks. I was first to dip in but wasn’t brave enough to go all the way in. Running back up to the sauna in wet socks was an experience as ice cubes form underneath as you run. Nick and Julie both managed a full plunge and back into the sauna. Once back in, we were grave enough to give it another go and this time I managed the full dip.

It was a really invigorating experience. You would expect that coming out of a sauna into the cold would feel horrendous, but you are so warm that it takes a while for your body to feel the cold. As you dip in the pool it numbs your body, but you feel so lively and awake once you get back in the sauna. Afterwards your skin really tingles and glows. I would definitely recommend it if you are brave enough to try.

A cosy afternoon

After a warm shower and a change of clothes we went for a short walk around the hotel grounds before going for lunch. As the sun started to set, the sky began to glow a beautiful red.  By 2pm it was almost dark again and we spent the afternoon keeping cosy by the fire.

My first experience of snow mobiling

Our late evening activity was an aurora hunt on a snow mobile. After putting on an extra couple of layers of clothing and donning the new correctly fitting snowsuit, we set off for our instructions in driving a snow mobile. Needless to say I chose not to drive and decided to sit on the back whilst Andrew drove.

It was pitch dark driving through the forest and icy cold. The guide said that it was probably about -22 degrees as the temperature in the nearest tow, Saariselka was -12 and it can be up to 10 degrees colder in muotka.

Through the headlights you could see the snow glistening on the ground and when we came to a clearing and turned the engines off, there was no sound at all. The sky was amazingly clear and the stars were vivid in the sky.

The guide lit a fire and boiled up a kettle of hot water, then made everyone a cup of hot chocolate. It was then back on the snow mobiles to the hotel, in time for the New Year celebrations.

A New Years Eve to remember

Back at the hotel, there was a glass of bubbly for everyone and a buffet of snacks. At just before midnight we all went outside, where there was a firework display. After wishing everyone a Happy New Year, it was back inside to warm up.

Just short of an hour later, one of the staff members wanted us all to share in a Spanish New Year tradition and gave us all a cup with 12 grapes in. At midnight Spanish time, we then all had to eat a grape at each chime. This is supposed to bring you look for the next year. I managed to eat the first few, but then ended up putting them in my mouth and not chewing them quickly, so looked a bit like a squirrel storing food for the winter.

At this point we decided that we could probably spend the next few hours celebrating New Year for every nationality in the hotel, but decided to call it a day at 2am, when it was New Year in England.

Definitely a different way to celebrate New Year and one to remember!

A Winter Adventure in Lapland (2)

After a good night’s sleep I awoke at 6am to the sound of the snow plough going past the cabin. It was still pitch dark and had been snowing overnight. Once the snow plough had gone past it was calm and peaceful again. After a leisurely shower and then piling on lots of clothing, we went up to the centre for breakfast. It wa a very mild morning at -2 degrees. It was still snowing and snow had been forecast for most of the day.

There was a lovely choice of food for breakfast and we then went back to the cabin to get ready for our first activity.

Cross Country Skiing

I tried on the enourmous snow suit and struggled to walk in it as the crotch was down by my knees and the legs were about 6 inches too long! I went back to the clothing centre, but they did not have any in a slightly smaller size that would still fit me, so I was provided with a belt to pull it in and hold it up around the middle. Luckily this did the job whilst I was skiing, but I still couldn’t manage to walk in it.

one of the hardest jobs of the day, was getting the skis on whilst wearing so much clothing. Once we all managed to get sorted,  our group set off following the guide along the ready made tracks in the snow.

Once I got a rhythm going I was fine, unless I lost my concentration and then I would start to wobble. Luckily I managed not to fall and the group kept up a steady pace, into the Urho Kekkonen National Park. It was snowing gently and I was absolutely melting in the snow suit. The guide did say that they are more useful for minus ten temperatures rather than the current mild weather.

My husband managed to break the strap on his skis, so had to walk the last few hundred metres to the refreshemnet stop. In the National Park we stopped by a fireplace (not lit) where we had hot juice and cookies. Most of the cookies were fed to the Siberian jays which were very people friendly and were happy to eat the crumbs out of your hand.

After this lovely rest and a change of skis for Andrew, it was back on the tracks to ski our way to the hotel. A quick change of clothing followed by a well deserved lunch and I was happy to find that my fit bit recorded 21000 steps!

A forest walk in snow shoes

After lunch, we were booked in for a lesson in snow shoes. I had learned my lesson from the morning and put on a few less layers, minus the snow suit.

The snow shoes were no easier to get on your feet, but were a little bit easier to manage once you had them on.

We set off following the guide, initially on the flattened snow track. She advised us at this point to stay on the track, as although we were walking on the frozen river, there were places where it wasn’t frozen.

Once we were in the wood she then suggested that we have a go on the crash snow off the track. This was really hard to do and it is difficult to tell how deep the snow is. At one point I stepped in snow up to my waist, tried to put my hand down to push myself up, but again disappeared into the snow. Even trying to use the poles didn’t help. Eventually after gettin over my fits of laughter I was helped up by my husband and a lovely lady in the group. I managed the rest of the walk without incident.

We stopped in the woods at one of the Kota’ s, which is a teepee style building built by the reindeer farmers for shelter. We stopped in the shelter for hot juice and cookies (there is a bit of a theme appearing here) and then we carried on walking through the woods back to the hotel

Sauna and snow

After a short rest and a warm drink and snacks, we then decided to use the sauna. Each of the cabin has its own sauna, but we all went into the one in our friend’s cabin.  I had to sit on the lower deck as I cannot bear the hottest heat at the top of the sauna. I was then challenged to run out into the snow and rub the snow on my skin as it’s really good for you. Amazingly, it isn’t quite as cold as you would think, running out intimate the snow in bare feet and a swimmingly costume! It did make me feel ver invigorated. Things are looking positive for the planned sauna adventure tomorrow then!

We had a lovely meal in the evening, followed by a couple of drinks and a game of cards. At this point I was very relaxed (possibly slightly drunk as I am a lightweight!), so it was back to the cabin, where I slept like a baby.