Few things peak at the grand old age of 99, I certainly will not. Even fewer things pack a punch at 99. Finnish Lapland however is looking pretty marvellous and with temperatures of -20 over the winter it is only for the punchy.
During the winter Rovaniemi, Lapland's capital, becomes a winter wonderland with pine forests decked in snow lining the roads and reindeers halting traffic as they search for berries. Visiting before Christmas is sure to melt any Grinch's heart, transform adults into children and have you all scrambling for Santa's lap or the best seat in Rudolph's sled. Better still, visit after Christmas to extend the season of all things merry and bright, Father Christmas is there taking personal wishes throughout the year.
Christmas spirit is not the only thing in the air, in this part of the world you have got to remain on high alert as the sun sets for the Aurora Borealis. So special are these lights in the night sky that the Japanese believe seeing them brings great wisdom to their next born child whereas the British believe them to be excellent bragging tool. Beware though, the Northern Lights are never guaranteed, people can spend their whole lives hunting these magical and unexplained lights of the night sky. In Finnish Lapland you will have opportunities to see them from your hotel window or even better, during an evening safari - dog sledding, snowmobiling, reindeer sleigh, the choice is yours.
Lapland is riddled with traditions and Christmas folk tales, only adding to the magic of the place. Did you know that Rudolph is a white reindeer, but not entirely? He has a small brown patch on his fur to remind himself and others that no one is entirely perfect no matter how famous you are. Equally, the Finnish who choose to live in the forests must first ask the permission of the forest elves by leaving their building tools in the area they wish to build overnight. By morning if the tools remain the forest elves have given them permission to build, if the tools are gone they have not.
Arctic TreeHouse Hotel
With dramatic scenery and characterful locals comes eccentric accommodation and Rovaniemi offers just that. The Arctic TreeHouse Hotel houses guests in their own private cabins on stilts; spacious, warm and clad with fur, your nests highlight is its north facing wall of glass looking out over the forests and up into the nights sky.
Staying in an igloo
Take children for a night in a glass igloo at the Arctic Snow Hotel for 360 views of the stars from the comfort of your bed. With their own 'aurora alarm' to ease the pressure of staying awake just in case the sky lights up… For the barking mad, spend a night in the Ice Hotel, part of a complex including an ice restaurant, bar, saunas and chapel. Safe in a provided thermal sleeping bag on top of your ice mattress brave the cold for a night in a real snow igloo, rebuilt every year.
Finland celebrates 100 years
So next year as Finland reaches her 100th birthday and with rumours that Norway will gift the country its first mountain peak, if you are up for an adventure across frozen lakes, through snowy forests and the potential for it to be lit up by the Northern Lights, you best get to Finnish Lapland.
Even better still, reaching Lapland and the Arctic Circle just got a lot easier thanks to Norwegian Airlines direct flights twice a week from London Gatwick.