Sometimes about time spent in another country there are so many sensitive memories, that you choose not to express them in a written way, which simply cannot do that. Seems that doesn’t matter which word you are choosing, it is incapable to tell exactly what you feel. In my case – this is Rovaniemi, the absolutely lovely city in Lapland, in The North of Finland, just some kilometers away from the Arctic Circle. This is a place where Santa Claus is living. By the way, I met this guy four times in my life in various seasons, because due to my studies in Lapland I spent almost a year. Somewhere in my secret drawer I still have video of the moment when I was having a chat with a real Santa. His office, where masses of tourists are flowing, is opened whole year. Even in summer Christmas songs are being played there what creates that fabulous atmosphere. And once you are in this Santa’s world – don’t forget to send for your most important ones or even yourself a letter from this big man. Postal Elves in Santa Claus Main Post office work exactly for this motive. They will write a greeting for you and will take care to send this letter for Christmas even if you ordered it on summer.
But let’s start from the beginning. All this story started when I came to Rovaniemi for my studies and spent there almost a year. Instead of telling long stories, which I have simply too much, I will try to make the brief overview why this place is so particular. Mr. Santa was already mentioned so what’s going next?
Some facts. Can you believe that Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland, is one of the largest cities in the world with a size of 8.017 km². Need comparison? 1.213 km² is New York, 1.570 km² is London. Sounds surprising? And we were explained that Rovaniemi’s size by area is really huge, but populated part is very small. Everywhere else within the territory – just a green untouched nature.
During the Second World War in Rovaniemi nearly all the buildings were destroyed. Later on city was rebuilt by Alvar Aalto architectural plan. This is the reason why Rovaniemi is so new and doesn’t have anything like Old town.
My first impression. Stuffed animals in Rovaniemi airport’s baggage reclaim area and beautiful lightened statues of reindeers outside the airport terminal. Oh, my fairy tale was just beginning.
Read more: Rovaniemi II: nature and its magic