October 31, 2014

The hockey season thus far!

Everyone tells me to write more about hockey, so here I go!

 We started the season very strongly and were bouncing between first and second for a while! Then we started to tie in a lot of games (and loosing some too... shhhh) and that didn't really help. So now we are in eighth place, but it is a pretty tight league. We are only two regulation wins, and an overtime win away from first place.  I have no doubt that SaiPa Will finish the season very well!  

Sam's team did well in the CHL hockey tournament that they have advanced to the next round.  They were randomly paired with a team in Geneva, Switzerland.  They will be playing that game next week! They will then be playing the Geneva team in Lappeenranta the following week.  

Go SaiPa!!! 

I will do my best to keep you updated on how the rest of the tournament goes!  

SaiPa just posted this interview of Sam from last week.  I don't know what the Finnish words mean, but its fairly easy to follow along.  Please ignore that hat... I don't know why it exists. 

Here is a link to watch.

&& if that wasn't enough, here is a link to an August interview. 

Happy Halloween!! 

My Dad, Boton, and Klaus all set for trick-or-treat'ing last Halloween.  Boton was always so great at dressing up! Miss him every day!  
xoxo Cacilie

October 29, 2014


Karl and I spent a night in Rovaniemi and had a nice little visit with Santa.  

Rovaniemi is the official hometown of Santa Claus.  It is a huge tourist destination in Finland.  Here is a link to the Rovaniemi tourist page --> link.  The town is also located on/near the Arctic Circle, and acts as a capital to Finland's northernmost providence, Lapland. 

In Rovaniemi there are many hotels and restaurants from which to choose and the city itself seems quite normal.  I was reading in one of my travel books that once the city was destroyed and had to be rebuilt.  When rebuilding it someone decided to lay out the streets in the city to resemble reindeer antlers.  I kept looking at the city map and just couldn't see the antlers... but I do not doubt that they are there.   Just a quick drive outside of town and you will get to 'Santa Claus Village', basically one big tourist shop &&& SANTA!  

We drove around the 'Village' a couple times, just trying to find 'it'.  There was no way that people made such a big deal about a couple of gift shops, vacant cabins, reindeer pulling a sled propped up on wheels, and a post office. Sadly that was it, so we got out our wallets and went shopping.  Then we found Santa!  We sat next to him and then some man took two pictures with little to no warning.  We came all this way to go to Rovaniemi, so we needed the evidence so we bought the less bad picture for a ridiculous price and went on our way, to the post office.  

The post office was actually quite a lot more interesting.  I found it interesting because it has received 16.5 million letters from 198 different countries.  Around Christmas time Santa gets about 32,000 letters a day!! Can you imagine Santa getting that many letters and still being ready for Christmas on time? If you or someone you know wants to send him a letter, below is his address.  

Santa Claus
Santa Claus Main Post Office
FI-96930 Arctic Circle

We didn't spend much more time in 'the village' we came, we saw, we got bored and headed home (11 hours).  Not before taking this fabulous picture with Raylan. 

In Love in Finland, same as our Sweden mugs my mom accidentally bought us.  I wrote a blog post about that funny story last year --> link to post.
The post office! 
Standing on the Arctic Circle!
Acting mature. 

Irregardless of how disappointing 'Santa Claus Village' was, I am so happy we went!  After we got back to Lappeenranta I told Karl how I actually spent quite a lot of time farther north than he had ever been during the trip.  You see when we were driving there we were driving west, and Karl was driving.  This is especially funny to me, because he was begging the whole time to drive all the way to Hammerfest, Norway. 

56 days until Christmas! 

xoxo Cacilie 

October 10, 2014

Road Trip To The Arctic Circle & Beyond

My brother Karl came to see us in Finland.  He arrived last Saturday and we have been busy ever since!  Sam and his team were going to be away in the Czech Republic for a couple of days, so we decided to plan a trip!

A rough idea of our route. 
In our planning process it seemed like everything was ridiculously far away, and it was.  We wanted to see Finland, to go north to the Arctic Circle, see the official hometown of Santa Claus, take in the beauty of the nature, go to a Lapland national park, and hike.  Karl also wanted to eat and drink as many strange things as possible.  Success, we did it all!  

We headed out on Monday morning and drove from Lappeenranta to Ruka (approximately 9.5 hours of driving).  Ruka is a beautiful ski town just south of the national park we were going to in the morning.  We found a beautiful log cabin with a sauna and fireplace and enough beds to sleep a small hockey team for the three of us the first night (Karl, Raylan and I).  For dinner we went to a nice restaurant in the ski resort part of town and ate some traditional dishes.  For me reindeer, and for Karl Vendace, here is a blog I found about this traditional Finnish dish.  

The first days drive had a few unique experiences.  We saw snow and purple trees.  While driving in the middle of nowhere we saw over 1,000 'quiet people/scarecrows' just on the side of the road.  Totally creepy, naturally Karl pulled into the parking lot.  Raylan was TERRIFIED at first barking and being tough... then she saw they were just pretend people and went back to being normal.  You have to look at the link here to see how strange these 'quiet people' are.  Even the name scares me.  We also ran into a few unusual roadblocks... reindeer.  Reindeer everywhere, just standing in the road and slightly off to the side.  We saw this three or four times during our drive. 

More Reindeer.

The beautiful log cabin in Ruka.  

Our awesome car, team logos INCLUDED! 

Tuesday, we left our cabin pretty early and headed up to Oulanka National Park to go hiking.  The longest day hike they had at the centrally located place in the park was 8 kilometers, we quickly did that.  Then to get to the more northern part of the park for another 8 kilometer hike we had to drive about 45 more minutes, on quite small roads.  Both hikes were STUNNING!  I will be creating a post all about that park in the coming weeks.  After our hiking we drove to Rovaniemi.  Rovaniemi is all I have heard about to go see in Finland ever since I arrived, so we HAD to go there.  It is the official hometown of Santa, and I love everything about Christmas so I was very excited to get there.  We took a route that went further north than we had to, just to spend more time north of the Arctic Circle. We rented a cabin for the night and arrived just in time to watch the last period of Sam's game online. We then drove into town for some of the best Tex-Mex I have eaten in my life.. we were hungry hikers! 

Our Cabin in Rovaniemi
Wednesday we got to Christmas Village right away... we found a lot of gift shops... and eventually Santa!  We also got to sit by him awkwardly and get our picture taken!  He must have been the real santa, because he didn't even ask me what I wanted.  I think he just knew.  Twenty five euro later, we walked out with our picture with Santa.  I will be creating a post on Rovaniemi in the coming weeks. The coolest part of the little village was the official arctic circle line.  Wall Drug to the midwest, is what Rovaniemi is to Finland.  At least that is my opinion.  Great place to get a souvenir or five.   From there we drove to Oulu.  We spent a couple of hours walking around the town and had lunch. We went into a market down by the harbor and bought a few more souvenirs.  After that it all went south, for about ten hours.  We arrived back home in Lappeenranta around midnight, it felt good to be 'home'.

Raylan 'chilling' on the Arctic Circle.

Harbor in Oulu

Market in Oulu 

Its not every day you get to road trip with your brother through lapland, we had so much fun together and a wonderful experience.  We love Finland!