Sunday, February 17, 2013


Dear Santa....

Rovaniemi Finlands most notorious, or in this case, well known resident is of course, Santa Claus. But the real story and meaning of how Santa Claus came to be was only brought to my attention recently by the president of Karu MC, Hekki. He prefaced his email with a warning that came along with the information he enclosed and the accompanying videos. If possible, I will include them at the end of the post rather than spoil it right from the very beginning.

Meanwhile, back in Rovaniemi and the road to Santa's place at the Arctic Circle.

At first I thought it was just a mere sign support, but the "A" shape does signify that you're at the Arctic Circle. A clever piece of design indeed.

Santa Claus Holiday Village, Rovaniemi, Finland.

When I arrived in Alta, Norway back on Dec 13th last year my original "plan"
( I hate making plans) was to spend a few days there, head up to Nordkapp, turn around and head down to Rovaniemi in Finland for Dec 24th-ish. 
Well, none of those "plans" went according to "plan". Which is why I hate making "Plans", and now I never do. And I never say never.

In reality what transpired was completely different. 

I ended up staying in Alta until Dec 29th when I left for Nordkapp, so I missed seeing Santa in Rovaniemi before Christmas so I could get my wish list to him. All I really wanted to do was see if I could make a little video of me and Santa for some of the children with cancer that my friend John Nikas and DriveAwayCancer visit and see if I could put a smile on their face for the holidays. So, since that didn't happen I had heard that when Santa's done with his Christmas delivery schedule, he comes back to Rovaniemi where he makes himself available to everyone and starts to make his list for the upcoming Christmas. I never knew it took him that long. You learn something every day, even at 51.

Hekki, the president of KARU MC had already pre-arranged a special meeting for me with the jolly bearded one, so we got there ahead of time to have a little lunch in the restaurant at the Santa Claus Holiday Village. They have a really great lunch buffet there that had me going up for a third plate, but since it was fish I was ok on the weekly calorie count...........yea, right !!. The only time I ever watch calories is when they're on the way in to my mouth !!. 

 After being treated to lunch by Hekki (thank you again Hekki-san) we stopped by the Official Mail Room where Santa gets all his mail. If you mail Santa a card or letter to the above address in the first photo, this is where it get's delivered, sorted and opened by Santa's elves. Really.

Did you know?. Neither did I.

413.80 meters is 1357.61 feet and was the longest letter. But in December of 2011 a group of secondary school students in Finland (where else !) wrote a letter that was 657 meters (2155.51 feet) long. 
That's a lot of feet.

The entrance to Santa's workshop. 
There's a No Camera's sign on the door to the workshop so I only managed to get a few sneaky shots of inside. I do have a video they presented me with of my meeting with Santa and as soon as I get it uploaded I will post it.

After visiting with Santa he wanted to come down and see my "Toy", my 2 WD sidecar.

I would like to extend my gratitude Hekki M for arranging this meeting for me and also a big thank you to Santa Claus for taking the time to come down for some photo's. 
In all honesty I had a great time with Santa and thought it super cool to meet him and have him come down to see my outfit. I guess it's the kid in me, the part that just doesn't want to grow up. If I did, I wouldn't be able to enjoy these moments as much, as "Responsibility" would kick in and overshadow my whole "Irresponsible" journey to begin with.

In the off-season, Rudolph get's to rest. This is Randolph, Rudolph's cousin twice removed who pulls Santa sleigh duty.

I'm told that this is Santa's Sleigh.

Snow, snow and more snow.

As an interesting aside, to visit Santa Claus is free. Yes, free. No charge to go up and see the Jolly Bearded one. If you're a family considering a vacation here, I would highly recommend it here for Christmas, or even after Christmas if it's winter festive you like. The whole Santa Village is really well laid out and extremely kid and adult friendly, and the best part is that it's open all year round. If I were a kid (!) and was brought here for Christmas to meet Santa, I would never think of anything else for decades, or at least until I was 11 anyway. It really is a Winter Wonderland here, a snow covered Wonderland.
Bear in mind I do love winter, this type of winter. It's my favorite season. 

I hope you all enjoyed this post as much as I did in making it. A winter traveler I am first and foremost I guess. Wherever there's snow, that seems to be where I am happiest. Snow covered landscapes are unusually quiet as fresh snow absorbs sound, lowering ambient noise over a landscape. Camping out in Sinetta for a few days in a snow covered and frozen riverbed, it was deathly quiet. No noise whatsoever except for the crackling of the logs burning on the fire.

That story and images are part of next weeks post, along with my Igloo building experience with Jukka of Snowbrick, where I got to find out how to build an Igloo and stay overnight in one on a floor covered with reindeer skins.

Meanwhile, as promised, here is the real story of how Santa Claus came to be:



Eric Albright said...

What a grand experience that had to have been. Thanks for sharing!

Emelie Lundgren said...

I am NOT a huge winter fan and this gets me longing for Christmas already... love the pics, want to pet Rudolfs cousin, scratch Santa in the beard and watch the "elfs" work as busy bees. Great post as always Murph.

Anonymous said...

Winter wonderland
Rudolphs nose aint red
Murph you have almost as mutch hair now that Santa has
You look happy in your side car whit Santa on your side - thats good
Take care


Charlie6 said...

Great pictures, strange video....

IRISH Murph said...

Emelie, thanks again for following along.

IRISH Murph said...

Hej Lars,

Yea Lars, I forgot to shave yesterday !!.

I am happy Lars, everything is really god, appreciate you following along my friend.

Hope all is good with you,


IRISH Murph said...

Dom, I know, right?.

The Finns know how to make some twisted stuff.


Roger Chambers said...

Great photos as always......I often keep track of your travels over the years. I too love winter, but here in Oz it's pretty mild! I thought the video was hilarious, love it......but them I'm a huge fan of Aki Kaurismaki!

Antti said...

I just found Your site few days ago... superb pics and nice writing. And ofcourse its always fine to see someone writing kind text about home country :)

Enjoy Your time here at Finland!

IRISH Murph said...

Hi Roger,

Thanks for writing.

Winter in Oz ??!!. Thats like saying winter in Florida :-)



IRISH Murph said...


Thanks. It's not difficult to write nice about Finland, you have a wonderful country filled with great and hospitable people.

Thanks for having me as your guest,


Rod said...

As usual Murph, your blog, to me is so impressive! I'm envious yet glad that you are doing this for me!! Best regards, Rod

Matti Mills said...

It is great that you are in Finland, it is a beautiful country with great people! I just moved here from the states about a month and a half ago. I live in the Kuopio area now and can't wait for spring to get my Buell chop and Shovelhead out of storage to ride. I think I may have spotted you on the motorway one day riding in the snow! I was jealous. It seems like an epic adventure you are undertaking. Good luck good Sir!