Thursday, 30 December 2010

New Nordic Experience Website

The new Nordic Experience website has finally been launched in time for the New Year. It's still a work in progress and we would be delighted to hear feedback from you. Over the coming weeks we will be adding more information.

We are also hoping to add a dedicated Travel Agents section where you will be able to find additional comprehensive information that will help you promote our tailor made tours.

Take a look and let us know what you think.


Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Knock on effect of the snow situation

Sitting here at Harriniva in Lapland, you realise that this current snow situation is not confined to the UK.
I'm watching the poor receptionist, taking phone call after phone call, cancelling reservations over Christmas. France seems to have been affected quite badly, with a whole charter flight cancelled here. The knock on effect, can be felt here, as the place is eerily quiet. To be honest, it's rather nice.

However, it does show our total reliance on air travel, and how something so underestimated can cause so much havoc, for so many people. Christmas has been spoilt for so many families.

Other effects are not so obvious. A family are here without any luggage, which presumably got caught up in the backlog from the weekend. Luckily, it was found and is heading here by train, bus and taxi from Helsinki (for some reason the airline thought it safer not to fly it !)
I suppose the moral of the story is to make sure you have enough contingency clothes in your hand luggage!


Monday, 20 December 2010

UK Snowfall causes havoc with Father Christmas

The closure of London Heathrow by the extreme snowfall over the past few days, has disappointed many children who were hoping to travel to Lapland to see Father Christmas, my own 3 year old daughter included.

They were sitting on the tarmac at Heathrow for 4 hours, before finally being shepherded off the plane and left on their own. We, as Nordic Experience, arranged overnight accomodation for all our guests at Heathrow as soon as we found out information from Finnair, which was not exactly forthcoming.
However, despite our best endeavours, the flights could not go ahead, and we were forced to abandon plans to take our customers to Lapland.

The ironic thing is, that two families managed to join me in Harriniva, and have enjoyed a full personalised programme. Where did one of them come from? New Zealand!


Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Motor Cycle touring in Sweden

Polaris Victory Vision Tourer
The Nordic Experience summer brochure is now well under way, but we're always on the lookout for new and exciting products to feature.  During our visit to World Travel Market 2010 yesterday, we sourced a number of new ideas that we feel might appeal to those people who are looking for something slightly out of the ordinary.
This idea was so good that I had to tell you all about it, even before we've got anything down on paper.
The Polaris Victory Vision touring motorcycle, is one of America's newest motorcycle exports, described in the Polaris brochure as "..... the most progressive luxury touring bike out there, loaded with state-of-the-art features designed specifically to make you feel guilty when you're not running up the odometer.  Every inch of this touring machine is designed to keep you out doing what you love the most".

Essentially this is a 5-7 day, 1600-2000km tour around Northern Sweden, taking in the beautiful scenery and fresh air whilst enjoying the power and comfort of this luxury motorcycle.
(more details posted, as they become available)

Why is it so Cold Santa?

The farther north you go, the colder, more authentic it is
(says Jane Knight)

THE TIMES Saturday 6 November 2010)

Santa's Log cabin in the woods at Harriniva
It's minus 29C, and I've never been so cold. My finger are burning with the cold and I'm wearing so many layers, topped by special overalls supplied by the hotel, that I make the Michelin man look anorexic.
"I don't like Lapland any more, it's too cold," moans my four-year-old son as we set off husky mushing in the weird half light that prevails here. The mass of howling, barking, biting dogs are so keen that I forget about the cold and concentrate instead on stamping as hard as I can on the brake to stop us toppling over.

This is off the wall, yells a 13-year-old in our group. It also makes a great follow-up to a morning of skidoo-riding, in which we zoom in a convoy of snarling mechanical beasts down forest tracks where the tree are bent with snow.

We're in Harriniva, way north of the Arctic Circle, because it seems that the farther north you go in Finnish Lapland, the more authentic the experience. When I started researching a trip to see Santa, I was shocked at the number of companies based in large ski resorts or where you were bussed to the different activities.
There's none of that here because, although we're in the middle of nowhere, all the activities are on the hotel's doorstep. So too is Sweden, just over the frozen river.

But there are disadvantages. Getting here has pretty much taken a day, with a mad run from one end of the airport at Helsinki to the other to catch a connecting flight to Kittila, followed by a 45-minute bus ride to the hotel. The rooms are simple, with only a shower in the en suite when what you need is a bath. And it is always a huge bun fight to get to the buffet for food that makes school dinners seem tasty.

But we've come to see Santa, which is what we do via a visit to a shaman, who tells us how the first reindeer learnt to fly, and a turn on the reindeer sleigh-(the non-flying variety). Each family has an appointment, and we are bundled up in a sleigh and head off in the gloaming, following a row of twinkling lanterns in the woods. As we draw up at a log cabin, where Santa is waving at the window and "elves" are running between the tree ,I'm as excited as a toddler.

Inside, the cabin is just as you'd imagine: crackling fire huge double bed and an elf taking notes in the corner. Santa, who looks like the real deal with paunch and a proper beard beckons us towards his chair. He answers all my son's questions. "Where is Mrs Claus?" "Buying presents; the elves can't make them all." 'What do you do in January?" "Sleep for a month." "How do you give presents to all the children in the world on one night?" "With a lot of help from the elves. '

We have one last question before we leave to get ready for a gala supper, in which Santa will give presents to everyone. "Why do you live where it's so cold?" asks my son. "Because my reindeer like it," says Santa. You can't argue with that.

What more do I need to add?  This is an independent ringing endorsement of our Father Christmas tours to Harriniva.  If you like what you see, why not  get in touch on 01206 708888

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Secrets of Enjoying your encounter with Father Christmas in Lapland

Father Christmas in Lapland
I was just indulging and enjoying enjoying my cup of coffee in Cafe Nero this morning with the Sunday newspapers, and came across an article in the Mail on Sunday (Page 56 October 31st 2010) where Fred Mawer (The Craft Traveller) wrote an interesting article on enjoying a visit to see Santa in Lapland at Christmas.
Imagine how pleased I was to see Nordic Experience mentioned, and listed as one of the suppliers of trips to Lapland. (I would link to the article, but currently it's not showing on their website)

Anyway, as Fred quite rightly points out, "Analyse carefully what's included in your package", all of the various competing products offers variants on a theme, and it can be quite difficult to decipher which ones offer the best content, as opposed to the best price.

Nordic Experience were mentioned as "a good bet for uncommercial Lapland trips", which shows that Fred has done his homework.  We don't offer the cheapest trips to Lapland, but we do offer an experience that is different to that of the other holidays on offer.

We have two main locations that we offer the chance to visit Santa in Lapland (Harriniva & Nellim).  Both of these are small scale family run hotels, which pride themselves on a warm welcoming experience, rather than a bland no-nonsense approach that you might receive from a larger hotel chain.

After all - a visit to see Santa in Lapland at Christmas is a once in a lifetime opportunity for you to see the joy and wonder on your children's faces as they meet father Christmas at his home in Lapland.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

New Years Eve in Rekyjavik Iceland

Christmas and New Year in Iceland
New Year’s Eve in Reykjavik is a unique Nordic Experience, with many large bonfires around Reykjavik city and spectacular firework displays that rival the best in the world.  Virtually every house sets off a dazzling display    at midnight to toast the New Year, and you will be treated to warm hospitality at all the fantastic night spots that the city is legendary for.

Iceland at Christmas is a wonderful experience, with festive decoration and entertainment.  Fine cuisine and gourmet dining is on the agenda throughout the year, and none so much as during the Christmas period.

What are you waiting for ?  Iceland is only a few hours away, yet so far from anything you have experienced.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Ice Driving at the Swedish Icehotel

Ice driving in Sweden
Further to my earlier about the Sorrisniva Snow Hotel, it suddenly occurred to me that some of you might like to visit the ICEHOTEL in Sweden.
Most ICEHOTEL holidays encompass an overnight stay in a "cold room" and another night or two in one of the various types of "warm" accommodation, with guided snowmobile tours and husky sledging rides and general fun in the snow, but how often will you get the chance to drive a high performance SAAB at speeds up to 100km/hr on a specially built ice track.  Test your driving skills to the maximum before trying out the king of the "quad bikes" - the Polaris Ranger ATV, with tilt steering, ultra low centre of gravity and extreme power to weight ratio for an positive adrenaline rush.

If this sounds like fun, then take a look at the brochure and give Nordic Experience a call.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

71 Degrees North - The Icehotel Experience

Did anyone watch last nights episode of 71 Degrees North where the winning team of Joe and Andrew were given the luxury of staying at the "Celebrated Ice hotel".
Two things struck me as odd when I saw this.  Firstly, they are filming in Norway and the world famous ICEHOTEL is actually located in Sweden, and secondly they were doing a dis-service to the snow hotel they were actually staying in.  (If you're wondering why I've used the phrase snow hotel rather than ICEHOTEL, it's because the Swedish ICEHOTEL have a registered trademark and prohibit the use of the word ICEHOTEL by other similar properties.  Oh, and it has to be written in CAPITALS)

Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel
The actual property that the celebrities were given the opportunity was the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel in Alta (as shown briefly above the doorway in the 71 Degrees North episode).  This is a fantastic alternative to the ICEHOTEL in Sweden, and has all the glamour associated with staying overnight in an Igloo, drinking from glasses made of ice, and the knowledge that warm accomodation is available should it be needed.

There are many activities on offer around Sorrisniva, with snowmobiling, husky dog sledging, snowshoe walking and just about anything that you've seen on the television can be arranged - though it's not for the faint hearted.

If you're looking for somewhere different to visit, or are looking for an alternative wedding venue then this can all be arranged for you.  Definitely worth a visit, but don't leave it too late or it might melt.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Arctic Experience 2010 Brochure launch

The Nordic Experience Arctic Adventures brochure 2010 has gone to print and should be ready for distribution on 1st October.  If you can't wait, you can download an electronic copy of the brochure (6mb) from our website.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

ICEHOTEL with Nordic Experience

It's 100 days until Christmas 2010, which means that it won't be long before Swedens ICEHOTEL will start to rise from the frozen ground. All things being well, the ICEHOTEL will be built in mid December, just in time for Christmas.

We'll keep you posted, but you can keep and eye on on the ICEHOTEL webcam.

(BTW, if you're wondering why I've capitalised the word ICEHOTEL, it's because it's a registered trademark)

Nordic Experience Winter Brochure to Launch soon

Our Winter 2010 Nordic Experience brochure is going to print next week, and will be hot off the press in just under two weeks.

We've many exciting new tours, in addition to the former Scantours programme that we have included and revitalised. If you would like a copy of the brochure, please register at the Nordic Experience website, and we'll send you a copy as soon as we have it.