TWO West Cork sisters had the trip of a lifetime last week when they went to Lapland to meet Santa!
The jolly man himself found time in his very busy schedule to welcome a group of children and their parents from Cork, at his workshop and village near the Northern tip of Finland.
‘It was a big surprise,’ Abby Kelleher (10) from Union Hall told The Southern Star. ‘Mom and Dad told us on Friday.’
‘We could hardly sleep at all,’ said her sister Kara, adding ‘I’m 7, but almost 8.’
The girls had to get up at 2am on Saturday December 10th for a 6am flight from Cork Airport.
‘It was a three-and-a-half-hour flight, on Aer Lingus,’ explained Abby. ‘We were singing and telling jokes on the plane.’
She added that there was a Katy Perry-type singer on the plane who got them all in the mood for their once-in-a-lifetime trip.
And when they arrived in Finland they were instantly brought over to get their snowsuits for the day. Then it was in to a ‘little hut’ where there was hot chocolate, and hot drinks for everyone, following by a choice of curry or chicken nuggets.
‘They told us it had been -23 degrees the weekend before,’ said Abby. ‘It was about -12 when we were there.’
‘It was my first time seeing snow. It was lovely!’ said Kara, who apparently was a spectacular snowmobile driver.
After a great amount of fun, which also included skiing, sleighs being led by both reindeer and huskies, and some amount of snowball throwing, the girls were then brought to meet the big man himself.
‘He wasn’t scary at all,’ said Abby. ‘He was lovely.’
‘He had a white beard,’ pointed out Kara. ‘And a red dressing gown,’ said Abby.
‘The elves weren’t there – they were making food,’ she added.
She also pointed out that it gets dark in Finland at 2-3pm, so it was dark when they left Santa.
After their big interview with Mr Claus, which they remained pretty tight-lipped about, the two girls did some more sled-ing, and tobogganing and they visited Santa’s village and post office.
There was a ‘giant’ snowman – ‘Half as big as the Star office,’ said Kara – that the girls felt was made with special Finland snow, as it was very soft and fluffy, compared to what we get at home.
Then it was off to their hotel, which included plenty of food.
Chocolate cake was a big part of the trip, as Abby pointed out they had it in Finland AND on the plane home.
‘Everything was great,’ said Abby, adding: ‘I would like to go back to Lapland.’
‘Yeah, me too,’ said Kara, who admitted they were both celebrities now in their school, St Brigid’s in Union Hall.