Finland: Part 2 (Huskies and Reindeer)

My inability to toboggan with any style, decorum or safety meant we were unable to ski and disappointing solar flare activity meant the Northern Lights did not appear for us.  But despite not fulfilling two of our holiday desires, there were so many magical experiences, we were hardly disappointed.

Included in our package was a husky and reindeer sleigh ride through the snowy countryside. The huskies were such a wonderful experience for us all.

Mush, mush!

We were greeted at their kennels by extraordinary yapping and yelping – as you would expect from 126 eager dogs.

Twelve dogs were harnessed up and ready to pull our sleigh, barking and champing at the proverbial bit to get moving.  But once the dogs are given purpose and direction, their noise ceases.  This happens as soon as they start to pull.

Racing through the trees

Our journey was just over 2km and as exhilarating as it was, it was enough in the sub-zero temperatures.  The wind racing over your skin while being pulled at speed through the trees, was the only time on the holiday that felt particularly cold.

The reindeer sleigh ride was a much more sedate affair.   Snuggling up under a woollen blanket, Connie and I took the lead sleigh with the others tethered to us, hence our constant companion by our right.

We squeaked along in the snow, absorbed in the wonderful experience, aware of just how special this time was.

Between each of the sleigh rides, we warmed up with a hot berry juice and gingerbread by an open fire, once in a cozy wooden hut and another in a tee-pee.

Warming up, tee-pee style

But as anatomy would have it, warm drink + cold weather = need for a pee, and we twice had to hastily strip two of our children out of their suits and mittens in order for them to relieve themselves in a small outhouse.

We had the opportunity to feed reindeer later in a corral at the back of one of the large hotels in Levi.  €5 bought you a bag of lichen to feed to some ever-hungry reindeer. Being semi-domesticated animals, we were told reindeer are quite temperamental, but these girls seemed good-natured enough when being fed. But aren’t we all?!

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