Lapland is the northern area of Finland.  Randy and I met Santa Claus while we were there.  We had to cross into the Arctic Circle to do so.  Santa’s hometown is Rovaniemi, which is where some of these pictures are from. And if you ever wondered why Santa is always surrounded by reindeer, you need to see Rovaniemi to understand. They are everywhere!

Olavinlinna Castle

Olavinlinna Castle, or St. Olaf’s castle, is a Medieval castle located on a picturesque island, linked to the mainland in the area of Savonlinna which is located in the southeast of Finland.  The city was founded in 1639 around the castle St. Olaf, but the castle itself was built in 1475 by Erik Axelsson Tott, to protect the area Savonlinna and monitor the border between Finland and Russia. Yes, the Finnish people grew up fearing the Russians just like the people of my generation!  The castle is supposed to repel the Russian attacks from the east to secure the Savonlinna region and the Swedish crown.

I got to spend my 39th birthday at this castle and I thought it was a really neat memory.


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