The Sword in the Stone

Well, during this rendition of the epic Sword in the Stone, it’s not actually a sword stuck in stone! Enjoy the performance and watch carefully to see what is buried in the snow.

On the last night we remembered that Antony and Lauren had been given a bottle of Champaign on the aeroplane. There were no fridges in our rooms so we decided to bury the bottle in the snow for a while to cool it. The video shows the ceremony of its removal from the snow!

Santa Park and Santa Village

Our Elf guide (Tricky Dicky) told us that Santa Park is a former Santa factory which produced toys for good children. He also said it was 50 feet under rock. I kinda doubt that’s true because for one thing I got a very good 3G signal down there, and it looked rather like a very big shed for another, but never mind. The children seemed to be excited by it!

Here are some pictures out and about Santa Park.

The ice sculptures were my favourite, but they are very hard to get good pictures of:

Lots of birds got into Santa Park at one point

There was some cute signage about:

Hm, elf camera?

See how I snuck one of me on there? Just to prove I was there!

 

They had a giant snow dome and Antony decided to do a little dance and (if you listen carefully enough in the following video you can hear him!) wish everyone a Merry Christmas in an over-exuberant fashion and simultaneously throwing around the (ironically) fake snow. After filming this I helped him remove a fake snowflake from his eye. As you can hear Helen say in the video, “well, that’s Antony!”

"But how do we get out?"

 

The place we stayed at was very close to the arctic circle. Santa Village is right on the arctic circle line:

The blue rope signifies the arctic circle line

For anyone who doesn’t know what the arctic circle signifies: Because of the positioning of the sun and the earth, if you are within the arctic circle you will experience at least one day in winter per year (depending on how far inside the circle you are) where the sun does not rise at all. Conversely, in summer, there will be at least one day where the sun won’t set. Thanks Tricky Dicky for explaining that!

 

What do you do with the biggest snowman in the world? Well, Chloe gives it a hug!

 

To finish off this round of pictures, another food shot!

Reindeer burger. Yum.

Rovaniemi – it’s a beautiful place

In case you were wondering, Rovaniemi is the area of Finnish Lapland we stayed at. It was difficult to take good photographs given we had only a few hours of ‘grey light’ each day. Nevertheless, here are some pictures and videos of us and the landscape around us:

It's Tom and Harry about to begin a snowball fight

The hotel - Winter Wonderland

Two sleigh dogs

Antony and Lauren - sleigh dog ride!

Reindeer!

Out and about

More to come!

The Reception

It was one of the most fun evenings I’ve ever had. I wasn’t going to put anything on here about the reception but I think it deserves some attention at some point. For now, here’s a lovely photo:

Maybe I'll edit out the red eye at some point. Anyone know how to use Photoshop?

 

New videos and photographs posted

If you go to ‘The Wedding’ page, there is now a video of the lovely Anu showing Antony and Lauren a Finnish cake cutting tradition. Who do you think won?!

I’ve now finally put some photographs on the wedding page too. More pictures of Lapland (including the arctic circle line and the biggest snowman in the world) to come.

There’s also a video of us sliding down a very steep hill on our backs on the ‘EXTREME Sledging’ page!

Enjoy!

More to come

I’ve not had much time to update this blog – so many things going on! But there will be more here soon, including a page dedicated to the actual wedding. The first thing to go on will be the wedding video which is uploading as I type this at just after midnight. I have to be up in seven hours to catch a flight back home! When I’m home I’ll update the wedding page with lots of pictures.

There will also be some videos of several of us sliding down snowy hills at great speed while shouting in fear! That might deserve it’s own page too…

And now I’m going to pack and go to bed! Don’t forget to leave comments on the various blog posts and pages!

Snowmobiling! [updated with photographs]

We all (except Val, Ian, Ann and Helen) decided to go on a night snowmobile ride! It started at about 8.00pm and finished shortly after 11.pm

In Antony’s words, it was cool dude!

We went in pairs and took turns. I was with Chloe and thankfully I was good enough to not scare her to death! The machines felt very powerful and I probably only used a small fraction of the power available, but it felt pretty fast!

We had a couple of false starts. One of the snowmobiles broke down immediately. Then a moment later one of us got a bit stuck. But soon we were well on the way.

After we’d been on the go for a while, our guide stopped us and took us into a little area in the woods with a shelter and he built a fire. Not only did he make tea and coffee on the fire, he cooked us a sausage each too!

I’ll update this post with photographs soon. Right now it’s time to get some sleep!

Update: Pictures!

 

Ant and Lauren up ahead

Me and Chloe. I forgot to smile! Oh, and it's snowing.

Huddled in the little shelter

The tea and coffee is made and the sausages are cooked.

It was really hard to get decent pictures of the fire. I should have read my camera's manual! But I like this photo.

Flight out

The flight was very different to how I remembered them being. I remembered them for the very formal “seat belts on” signs and safety briefings and general monotony on board. On this flight one of the cabin crew kept asking everyone to shout out loud whether or not they were excited about going to meet Santa, and she pretended she couldn’t hear us unless we all shouted “YES”! The whole way she kept updating us with the latest news from Santa’s elves regarding the weather and about how excited the elves were to be meeting us at the airport. LOL. (in this context LOL= laugh out loud)

Here’s some pictures:

Ant and Lauren sporting Christmas accessories on the plane

Even Ian wore a funny hat at some point!

Couldn't see much other than the wing from my seat, but that's snow on the ground shortly before landing!

When we got the the airport, the bit in the middle of the conveyer belt where all the suitcases eventually appear was decorated:

Never seen that in an airport before!

Closeup on part of the display

Despite the roads being very snowy and icy, the bus had no problem taking us up to the hotel. Winter tyres apparently. It seems amazing that when we get any snow at all in England, everything stops working!