An email came through to my inbox with the subject line of ‘Hi Luke - Invite to Lapland’ and before I had chance to read the details in full, I had already RSVP’d with YES!! The trip was to join the technology giant - Huawei, on a magical 3 day trip to Lapland to get an exclusive look ahead of their latest release. In this blog post, I will be talking about my experience of Lapland in full, and in Wednesdays blog post I will be able to reveal more details as to what Huawei’s newest release is all about, which will give you a better insight as to why I had been invited along!
From receiving the invitation on a Tuesday, to landing in Lapland the following Sunday, the build up to the trip was a bit of a whirlwind, and was a trip that had many firsts for me. I had never flown abroad by myself before, I had never been to a country covered in snow with sub zero temperatures before, nor had I ever participated in any ‘snow activities’ other than attempting to ski down the dry, fake grass ski slopes - I say attempting as I recall face-planting the floor several times much to the amusement of my old school friends! Panic started to set in with regards to clothing, as I was completely unsure on what to wear and what would be deemed as appropriate outdoor clothing to take with me. If it was up to me, I would have dressed head to toe in faux fur, but this suggestion didn’t go down too well with my family… Luckily, this was all around the time of Black Friday. Thank God for those 75% off deals!
On the morning of departure, I woke up feeling excited yet a little apprehensive about checking in and the whole airport procedure as I wasn’t really sure what I was doing. With that being said, I just followed the signs and I decided to attempt each part of the check-in process in stages, so it felt less overwhelming. There were two main things that struck me about Heathrow. Firstly, the sheer size of the airport, it was huge. Secondly, how deaf it made me feel! I know that may sound confusing and a little strange, but it was just so noisy! The noises of luggage being dragged around, the many different tannoys that seemed to be mumbled and jumbled, the general hubbub of crowds and distorted background noise. Once I had checked in and I had made my way through to the boarding gate, the feeling of nerves and confusion soon subsided to excitement for the upcoming days ahead!
The flight to Lapland was split in two, the first to Helsinki which we then had a private chartered flight from Helsinki to Lapland itself. I was unaware that the private flight was indeed private, until I began to notice the Huawei branding everywhere and we had all been given a pack which outlined the itinerary of our trip. We were also incredibly fortunate enough to have received our very own Huawei Mate20 Pro, so we could take many photographs and videos to document the duration of our stay!
I then got introduced to 5 other members in our UK team and off we set to our hotel and as we drove to our destination in the darkness, it struck me how isolated and remote Lapland was as we seemed to pass a car every 10 to 15 minutes. As we pulled up to the hotel, I was in complete awe. The hotel we stayed at was: Star Arctic which was situated on the very top of a hill overlooking the nearby town; Saariselkä which was all lit up, dazzling the night’s skyline.
Our UK team sat down for dinner and having had a glance over at the menu, I had to do a double take as I saw that our main course contained Reindeer… I ate Rudolph! (Sorry guys.) It was great to immerse myself in local Finnish culture by eating their food, which I would never have done otherwise! After a glass of wine (or 4), I then retired to my cabin and conked out straight away after a long day of travelling. The following morning we all gathered at reception and we were then shown their latest release which I will reveal all on Wednesday… Once we had been given our snowsuits ready for the days ‘snow activities’, we then began our hike up into the snow!
Prior to our hike, I had layered myself up in about 8 layers of clothing which proved to be very useful as it was -7º outside and I didn’t feel the cold at all! Further into our hike, I could see in the far distance a man covered head to toe in fur (faux I think!) and my initial thought was ‘What on earth is going on here?’ As we got closer and closer, it soon became apparent that this was part of our experience and he began to talk a little about the history of Lapland in his deep, bellowing voice. He then came around each and every one of us and gave us his ‘blessing’ with his good luck charm which involved him stroking an faux animals paw across our faces… It was a very surreal yet special moment, and one that will remain a fond memory of mine from the overall trip! We then came across some miniature bottles of Brandy and after downing 2 bottles, it sure did the good ol’ job of warming me right up again!
The sun rose at around 10am, a good hour before setting off on our hike and it then began to set at around 2.30pm which felt incredibly surreal! Once we had eaten as much bread and soup to our hearts content, we then set off in a bus to our next ‘snow activity’ which included tobogganing down a ski slope. Now, I will admit, I am a huge wuss when it comes to rides of any kind, so I opted out and instead took many photographs of the surroundings which completely took my breath away. Everything felt so serene and calm, it was a different world I had never experienced before! Once the activities were over, we then headed back to base to get ready for dinner at a traditional Finnish restaurant where for our main course this time, we had ‘Air Dried Bear’. I didn’t even know this was a thing!? I can only describe it as crackling and I hate to say it, but it was rather tasty…
The following morning arrived for our departure and it felt that it had ended as quickly as it had begun. At the time of being in Lapland we were kept so busy that for me, I didn’t have the time to soak it all in and it was only on the flight home that it dawned on me what an incredible experience and opportunity it was for me to have. Lapland was truly one of the most magical experiences and from start to finish it flowed seamlessly. Thank you Huawei for inviting me along, I am truly grateful!
As stated earlier, on Wednesday I will be sharing with you my blog post on Huawei’s latest release and the reason I had been invited, so do check back for that blog post very shortly! Also, all the photographs seen within this blog post were all taken on my new Huawei Mate20 Pro phone!
Have you visited Lapland before? Will you be going anytime soon? Have you used any of Huawei’s products before? Used the latest Mate20 Pro? What do you think? Let me know your thoughts below as I would love to hear from you, and don’t forget to click the ‘like’ button!