we'll be spending four days at these two cottages over new year... it will be like staying at the babel tower, namely filled with three italians, an english man, two austrians, three french guys and a lithuanian young lady.
however, we still have no clue what to do for the other four days. rovaniemi was a preferred destination, but since we have been told that father xmas doesn't exist and that it is a touristy trap, our disappointment has been so overwhelming that we have been short of alternatives since. thanks god, the practical girl of the group, ary ary, has come up with a couple of ideas which i am posting here in the hope that someone, knowledgeable of these places, will come ahead for advise:
Kuopio is a modern regional centre of eastern Finland boasting excellence in various fields including science and technology. The modern, forward-looking city is also proud of its past, cherishing its heritage and keeping its traditions alive. The people of Kuopio today are active, well-informed inhabitants of an international city who have yet preserved their traditional joviality and delightful dialect. Kuopio was originally founded as a trading town in 1653, while the present city was founded in 1775. A century later, the completion of the Saimaa Canal, which opened a waterway from the Baltic Sea to Kuopio, and the building of a railway to Kuopio were turning points in the city’s history. Thanks to the improved connections, Kuopio began to prosper as a lively industrial and trading centre.
Kuopio is a city of scenic beauty. Besides being an attractive environment for living in, the natural surroundings provide a basis for various livelihoods and an excellent setting for a wide range of leisure pursuits. And last but not least, they are a definite asset to tourism. Kuopio is characterised by its abundance of lakes dotted with numerous islands, varied hilly landscapes, lush vegetation and favourable climate. The famous landmark of Kuopio is Puijo Hill, rising 150 metres above the surface of the adjacent Lake Kallavesi which flanks the city. Kuopio plays host to a number of annual international events, ranging from dance and wine festivals to various winter sports events, including Nordic skiing, ski-jumping and ice-skating.
In winter, ice forms on the River Aura running through the heart of the city and snow gathers in the woodlands and across the nearby archipelago, forming an excellent natural playground for winter sports enthusiasts. Christmas is the pivotal highpoint of the winter in Turku and the surrounding area. Finland’s former capital is the country’s official ‘Christmas city’, and the ‘Declaration of Christmas Peace’ is read from the balcony of the Brinkkala mansion in the city square to a crowd of thousands at noon on Christmas Eve. According to tradition, Christmas has only ‘officially’ begun when this declaration has been made.