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