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From reindeer to huskies – a stay in Finnish Lapland

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When the good people at Three UK offered one of the chance to head to Lapland to test their devices and amazing new Feel at Home service, we felt we couldn’t say no. Our writer Emma Clair Kelly went to explore the pristine snowy landscapes and all the activities Finnish Lapland had to offer…

We flew from Heathrow to Helsinki and then from Helsinki to Kittila which is roughly 200 kilometres inside the Artic Circle, the flights were short and Finnair are super comfortable. As we arrived late into the Torrassieppi resort and were provided with snacks in our cabins before tackling the days activities ahead. We stayed in small, basic but comfortable two bed cabins which epitomised what I had envisioned about Lapland.

Snow scene

In the clear light of day, I was overwhelmed by the stunning natural beauty in which, the resort was situated. The sparkling snow, delicately frosted pine trees and clear blue sky made me think that I had just stepped from reality into an animated movie.

Snow

Reindeer

After our helpful guide got us suited up into the most amazing snow-suits and boots, which made us feel like we were joining Amundsen or Scott on an intrepid journey but as we made our way out across the frozen lake to try our hand at ice-fishing, I realised the sheer intensity of the snow. There are clearly delineated tracks for amateur snow-bunnies like us but a step off these will find you knee deep in soft snow. Trust me on that one!

Finland huts

Forest

Our first activity of the trip was ice fishing which involved using a giant corkscrew to drill a hole in the ice about a foot in diameter, don’t worry the ice won’t crack and you won’t find yourself sinking into the frozen lake, our Viking descendant guide Emilia promised us, as she neatly drilled the hole in about 3 minutes that it was all perfectly safe. Obviously, this is something you need to practice at because try as we might, none of us could manage it as effectively as she did. The next part is simple, take your baited rod and wait. At first I found this relentlessly boring, itching to explore my new environment but then I was seduced by the scenery and silence that surrounded me.

Aurora Hunting

Finland Northern Lights

Naturally, the highlight of every trip that far north is a chance to see the northern lights and the resort offers night safaris through the eerie woodland in the hope of catching a glimpse of the famous phenomenon. There are certain criteria which must be met in order to see Aurora, the most important being a clear sky and with weather conditions changing rapidly, it is highly unpredictable. However, never fear. There’s an app for that! Witnessing the splendour of Aurora Borealis with the naked eye is completely awe-inspiring and once they flickered across the sky, our group was stunned into an awe struck silence. The safari involves being tucked up in a sleigh pulled by a snowmobile, the guides stop at various locations that offer spectacular views and ply you with delicious warm fruit juice and cakes. Even if you miss the opportunity to see aurora, the experience of being whisked through a deserted, silent woodland is enough to make you feel like an extra from Dr. Zhivago and is not to be missed.

A crash course in husky sledge driving

Huskies

My initial thoughts on the husky sleigh was that I would be sitting back while someone else drove but we were actually given the chance to drive our own sled instead which, was absolutely amazing. The dogs are well-trained and know the track well, so never fear but it is a totally unique, adrenaline pumping experience. After a brief crash course (definitely the wrong choice of words!) you are let loose to follow a trail and have the dogs whisk you through the ultimate in winter wonderland. The trek apparently lasts over an hour but to me, if flew by in a matter of minutes. Definitely a highlight.

Finland

All in all, my flying visit to Finnish Lapland was exceptional but made even better by the opportunity to send envy-evoking pictures of stunning hinterland, snowy landscapes, cute huskies and the stunning aurora back home to make everyone jealous. However, it would be remiss of me not to mention the wonderfully talented and knowledgeable guides and staff at Torrasseippi which, made our stay completely out of this world!

Our trip as sponsored by Three to showcase their Feel at Home package, where you can use your phone in 16 destinations as you would at home with no extra charges, from the US to Sri Lanka to Australia, and of course, Finland. Images were all taken on a Samsung Galaxy S5

With itchy feet, an inquisitive nature and an ardent wanderlust, Emma Clair has always been a traveller at heart. Hailing from the Emerald Isle she calls a tiny coastal town near Dublin home, but has lived in a few countries including Saigon, Vietnam where she resided for over a year. She counts supping on Bloody Marys on a rooftop in Manhattan, downing Singapore slings at the Raffles Hotel, daring a paraglide on the Grand Cayman, spending an exotic Christmas in Malaysia and exploring the Angkor Wat Tomb Raider-style as her all time favourite travel moments. Although, she’ll always have a special place in her heart for the city where she makes her annual pilgrimages – Paris, her true city of lights.

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