Friday, December 21, 2012

Penner's Spotlight - Terri Wangard - Finland

Pens on a World Map
Penner's Spotlight

Penner: Terri Wangard of Wisconsin

Location: Rovaniemi, Finland
Arctic Circle
During my globe-trotting days, I enjoyed participating in activities I don’t do at home: parasailing in Hawaii, helicoptering onto glaciers in Alaska, bridge climbing in Australia, swimming with dolphins in Tahiti. When Helsinki, Finland, appeared on my itinerary, one option jumped out in front of all others. Visit Santa.
Meeting Santa Claus at his office
A flight to Rovaniemi brought us to the heart of Lapland and the Arctic Circle, as far north as I’ve ever been. The sun illuminates summertime days and nights with continual light. As we passed villages in the far north, I wondered how the inhabitants coped with the continuous darkness and cold of winter.

Terri standing on the Arctic Circle line
We journeyed in long, narrow boats from Rovaniemi to a reindeer farm. The gentle creatures ate from our hands. After experiencing a Lapland sauna, we sat down to lunch. Reindeer stew over mashed potatoes. First you pet them, and then you eat them.

One of Santa's Reindeer
Santa’s village features a year-round Christmas shop filled with all manner of ornaments and knickknacks. Most anticipated, though, was the appearance of the jolly old man himself. He wore the longest curly white beard I’ve seen on a Santa Claus. Our group gathered around for a photo with Santa before he disappeared back into his office. No, we didn’t get to sit on his knee.

Before we boarded our Finnair flight back to Helsinki, we each received a certificate documenting our visit to the Arctic Circle, 66° 33’ 07”/25° 50’ 51.”
Do you have an interesting Christmas travel story? Have you perhaps traveled to Finland as well? We'd love to hear about it. Please join the travel discussion below in the comment section.
Terri Wangard

My first Girl Scout badge was for writing. I guess that says something. I wrote my first novel in the early 2000s. A publisher had the manuscript for a year before saying, "No thanks." Not until I read Debbie Macomber's Twenty Wishes in 2008 did I decide to write again. My full-time job is with my family business, publishing Classic Boating magazine since 1984. For twenty years, from 1989 to 2009, I traveled all over the world. My photo book A World to See can be viewed here with more about my travels.
For more information about Santa Claus Village in Finland, visit their website here.

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  1. Replies
    1. I thought so too, Kiersti! :) I'm glad Terri sent it to me. Merry Christmas!