9 pm and the bus departures from Helsinki. We have more than 500 km in front of us. Seats are not so comfortable as we hoped. I sit next to Alex and we do not have almost no space for out legs. But for Alex it is not a problem. He sleeps in few minutes. Seems like only me and Roman will not sleep this night.
Helsinki – Kemi
First stop is in Kemi Snow Castle. What happened during last night? Nothing much actually. I saw few cars on high-speed road, a lot of snow all around and that is it. We stopped for longer break in one city / I am sorry but I really do not remember the name / I went out with Roman to buy something to eat. Actually, I found there very typical Finnish snack. It is called Karjalanpiirakka and it is made from rice and they put a bit of butter on the top. The taste is not very specific actually, but I really loved it. But back to Kemi. This is first official stop on our journey to Lapland.
Kemi snow castle
This snow castle is well-known by everybody who visit Finland between January and April. Only during these months you can visit Kemi snow castle. At the entrance welcome us a giant mammoth. No many tourist is here today. Or maybe we just arrived in the right time. We are moving deeper into the castle. First place which we visit is a restaurant. On walls you can see many animals. They were created by some artists. The one I like the most is moose, animal which I wish to see during this trip in wild nature. Lets hope, I will be lucky enough to see it! Next room is dedicated for kids – or it looked like that. You can slide here in small ice toboggan and if you go outside you can take a rubber wheel and slide in bigger toboggan made from snow. Some of us tried this one and some just went up to the start point and checked the view from there. The view was not really breathtaking as we were able to see just frozen lake and some trees. We are ready to go back to the bus. But before that we have to try some berries juice drink which people from Kemi Snow Castle prepared for us. It is tasty and gives us a reason to sit down and talk a bit. We are getting to know each other better and better, with every next minute which we spend together. Last this which we want to see are the rooms, which you can order in this castle, hotel or restaurant – call it as you wish. Rooms are quite big with some snow drawing on walls. Bus is waiting, so we have to go. Next stop – Santa in Rovaniemi.
Rovaniemi – polar circle – Santa village
First of all. I want to say, if I was a kid who believe in Santa I will love this place. But as I am 28 years old guy, who is not really interested in places like this, I did not enjoy this place that much. There are few reasons why but I want to be positive here so I will just not mention what I did not like about Santa Claus village.
In Santa village you can visit Santa in his office. As I heard he is really nice and kind and when you tell him where you are from, he will say hi in your language. You can also see here a lot of souvenir stores. One recommendation, if you want to buy something, try some stores away from Santa place. Prices are still high even there but little bit cheaper. But one thing you should definitely do here. Send a postcard from Santa office. It cost about 1 euro or so and you have 2 options. There are two mail boxes. One is for postcards and letter which you want to be delivered in a week and second one is ready for postcard which should be delivered right on Christmas. You can also see in this area some reindeer but if you are not a fan of ZOOs, I recommend not to go see them. I felt a bit sad as I saw these animals there. Oh and do not forget to take a photo on Arctic circle! As this place is located right on this magical ring.
Saarisalka – finally
I am not sure if we are more happy because we will have finally a chance to lay down into beds, clean our smelly bodies or that we will already arrive after 2 days of traveling. So or so, we are finally in Saarisalka. We have the last cottage which is about 20 minutes walking from city center. Our cabin is quite big. It has 2 floors and a lot of space inside. Every 2 people have their own room, sauna is included and kitchen is very well equipped. We put our clothes and other things into our rooms and so finally we can sit for a while and have some talk in comfortable positions – sitting in living room has never been so good as now! It is time to eat something, drink something, talk a bit and place some games and go to sleep. It were hard 2 days on train, ferry and bus from Krakow to Saarisalka. We did about 2 300 km in 2 days. Goodnight Saarisalka, we are looking forward what you will show us tomorrow. Some of us have some activities tomorrow some will have too prepare their own program.