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To the Roof of Europe

At this point, my brother turns up at the station entrance with the hire car – not exactly a large one; more like something marginally larger than a Mini. I explained to my brother the predicament of the lonesome Danish backpacker and somewhat reluctantly he agreed and she squashed into the back of the car like a sardine in a tin. We headed north out of Rovaniemi, my brother gleefully pointing out in the suburbs the World’s most northerly McDonalds restaurant. 5 miles (8km) later, here we were at our first stop, the Arctic Circle. I had been north of it before on a flight from London to Los Angeles, but this was completely different. It wasn’t in a flying metal tin box 40,000 feet up in the sky concentrating on the most practical way of arranging the cups and plastic containers during an on-flight meal oblivious to what lay below, but rather on terra firma. We had a wander around the Santa Claus village, but didn’t meet the great man himself, being there in the middle of summer. So, if you are ever sunning yourself on a beach one July in Spain or Greece and you see 7 reindeer wandering around, you’ll know where he is. The souvenir shop was full of the usual tacky crap; I didn’t know elves worked in China, but it was interesting to see the post boxes containing 1000’s of letters from countless countries, all of which get replied to if you send a letter from anywhere in the World addressed “Santa Claus, Lapland”. Now I don’t know the statistics, but Santa must spend a shit load on postage stamps, envelopes, paper and printer cartridges. I could not imagine who pays for this, but looking at the souvenir shop prices, can take a guess.

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