International Committee

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    Romain Decoster
    Romain Decoster
    Project Leader

    Posts : 113


    Post  Romain Decoster Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:30 pm

    Hellu everybody!

    Here is all the information you need about our trip to Finnish Lapland!
    I'm sure you're looking forward to the darkness and coldness of the North, the snow, the huskies and maybe the Northern Lights.

    It's hard to say in advance what kind of weather we will get, but we can hope for lots of snow and a clear sky.

    First of all, here is an approximative and preliminary schedule: LINK
    This is no accurate timetable; it's only to give you an idea of what you'll be doing and when.
    For example, the train arrives in Luleå arround 8.00, not 7.00. Also, the Reindeer sleigh is propably rescheduled to the 5th day instead.

    And now, some more detailed information:
    - The Meeting Point / On the Train
    - Korvala
    - Pyhä
    - Santa Claus Village
    - Food & Alcohol
    - Clothes
    - A note about Northern Lights

    Also, here are separated posts where you can discuss and find friends to share the cottages and the sleeping cabin on the train.
    Cottage and Cabin List

    If you have any further question, don't hesitate to open a new thread.
    Romain Decoster
    Romain Decoster
    Project Leader

    Posts : 113

    INFORMATION THREAD Empty The Meeting Point / On the Train

    Post  Romain Decoster Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:31 pm

    We meet at Västerås Train Station.

    Thursday, 1st of March, 15.30

    The train leaves at 16.22 to Stockholm where we have about 25 min to catch the night train to Luleå. On the way back, we have a change in Uppsala and Sala instead.

    We meet at the train station a little bit earlier because:
    - I need to check you off my list and give you the train tickets.
    - We don't want to miss the train. That's definitely not a good option...

    On the train, there is a restaurant wagon, but best (cheapest) would be to take a sandwich or a lunchbox with you.
    There are bed linen and blankets in the beds.
    Don't stay up making noise all night, some of you probably want to get some sleep and so do the other passengers.

    Especially this time of year, it's vacation for swedish schools, meaning there might be lots of families on the train.

    Don't open the windows or make sure to close them, otherwise, they might just freeze during the night, you won't be able to close them and the whole wagon is gonna freeze.

    No smoking is allowed on the train.
    Romain Decoster
    Romain Decoster
    Project Leader

    Posts : 113


    Post  Romain Decoster Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:31 pm

    Korvala in summer, more and snowy pictures on their website:

    Korvala is a family run location in the village of Tiainen in Finnish Lapland that has been welcoming international students for over 10 years. Your welcoming hosts, Jaana, Seppo and their family will help you to enjoy your stay in Lapland and even answer any questions you may have about the way of life in Finland's north. On site you will also find huskies including husky puppies and the reindeers will come to visit you during your stay.


    In Korvala, you will sleep in small cottages (from 2 to 7 beds). At the end of your stay, you're in charge of the cleaning of the cottage you've been using. Hopefully, you won't have made a big mess in only three days.
    I would strongly suggest to take off your shoes in the entrance, but you're the one cleaning afterwards anyway...

    Bring your own bed linen (you can borrow blankets) or take your sleeping bag.

    In Finland, like in Sweden, you have to sort the garbages. It's especially true when you're living in the middle of nowhere and that you get a bunch of international students coming every week. The family running Korvala pays for the pickup of the garbage, so it's very important to sort separately: paper stuff, metal stuff, colored glass, white glass and the waste.
    The good news is that you only need to take the waste to the big garbage disposal on the parking. The rest, you should sort it out and leave in bags on the porch.

    Tips concerning the cottages: since it's very cold up there, the doors are build in very tight so no cold air comes in. You might realize it's not easy to lock the doors, if you just turn the key it will probably not work: you have to push in (gently) the door first.

    Also, when you walk on the door step, snow might drop from your shoes and be stuck there, then because the cottages are warm, it becomes water, which freeze because of the outside temperature. It really doesn't help close the doors correctly, so please, watch where you're steping!


    Is opened from 09.00 to 10.00 for breakfast and from 19.00 to 20.00 for diner. Both are buffet.
    You're not allowed to bring your own alcohol in the restaurant but you can buy some there if you want to.
    If you signed up as a vegetarian, Seppo (the cook) will have prepared some food for you; you just have to go and knock on the kitchen door and ask him nicely. :-)


    In Korvala, you have free access to winter equipment including Cross Country Skis, Sledges, Snow Shoes and Kick Sledges and also fishing gear.
    There is a number on every piece of equipment, and a list in the cottage where you put your name and the number of the equipment you borrow.
    Please take good care of it, don't forget that there are many students that will come to Korvala after you.


    Well, you probably know what to do in the sauna. Take a short shower to wet your skin, then go in and cook for a little while, then cold shower, then in again and cold shower again...
    Here, you will also have the option to switch the cold shower for a dip in the frozen lake; there is a hole in the lake 10m from the sauna cottage. Just be careful when going there: no jumping in cold water or you might get a heart attack! Just take it easy and enjoy! :-)
    You can also roll in the snow. (the water however is "warmer" than the snow)

    The sauna cottage is separated in three: two entrances (left for girls and right for guys) with separate changing rooms, separate shower rooms and separate saunas. Both lead to the common room in the middle.

    You can decide to enjoy your sauna in the Finnish way (naked), or use a towel or a swimming suit. Depending from which country you're from and what kind of person you are, nudity might be a "taboo". I personally don't like swimming suits in saunas and use a towel. :-)
    Anyway, it's up to you. And whatever happens in Korvala, stays in Korvala...

    The same rules applies in the sauna cottage than in your own cottages. You have to sort the garbage.
    No shoes allowed inside! Bring your flip-flaps or walk barefoot, in socks, whatever suits you best, but no shoes! Also, it's up to you if you want to come half-naked in the common room and show off, but please, don't come soaking wet, directly from the shower.
    When you spring from the sauna to the ice hole, please take the time to close the front doors, because if you don't, it's gonna get cold very quickly...
    Also, it's no idea to spring on ice and snow, so don't rush.

    So, I hope we agree on this one: dry and warm is cosy, wet and cold isn't...

    And finally: The sauna cottage closes at midnight! No exception.
    The party can continue in your cottages.

    Last edited by Romain Decoster on Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
    Romain Decoster
    Romain Decoster
    Project Leader

    Posts : 113


    Post  Romain Decoster Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:32 pm

    It's up to you how you manage your day in Pyhä.

    More information about the National Park and the Ski Resort here:
    Pyhä-Luosto National Park
    Pyhä Ski Resort (information about Ski Rental and Ski Passes

    Some people want to go skiing/ snowboarding the whole day. Some don't want at all.

    We usually suggest you to go for a short hike to the Frozen Waterfall. (7km in total I think) and then go skiing.
    You can also decided to go hiking furthermore but I would like to warn you that the rest of the tracks are summer tracks, meaning it can even be dangerous to hike on them during winter, if it's possible at all.

    I'll be leading the "tourist group" (the one that makes a stop every 2 minutes to take pictures). From Pyhä National Park Info Center, to the Frozen Waterfall, then back to the Info Center for the toilet break (yes, I have to think about everything...), then we have lunch break at a closed fireplace, bring sandwiches? (who said marshmallows?) and finally, back to a coffee place to play cards and enjoy a hot chocolate with a piece of cake.

    If you're interesting in skiing, you should open a new thread and gather the information about the equipment you wanna rent so it goes quicker if we send it to the shop beforehand.
    You'll probably need to be a group renting the same equipment to get a group discount.
    Romain Decoster
    Romain Decoster
    Project Leader

    Posts : 113

    INFORMATION THREAD Empty Santa Claus Village

    Post  Romain Decoster Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:33 pm

    Once more, a good link will do the trick:

    It's basically a commercial area with lots of small shops, the Post Office where all the letters sent to "Santa Claus, Arctic Circle" end up and are read by little helpers.
    You can have lunch there as well.

    We have an appointment with Santa! That's probably the first thing we do when stepping out of the bus. So please, stay in group and follow me to Santa!

    Cameras are not allowed in Santa Claus House. They will take a group picture which you can then buy: You can buy a copy or you can buy the original and the copyrights.

    You're not supposed to make copies but usually, someone buy a picture, ask everybody to contribute with 0,50€, scan it and sent to everyone.
    Once, the group decided to make a tournament of Rock-paper-scissors and the winner got the original. :-)
    Romain Decoster
    Romain Decoster
    Project Leader

    Posts : 113

    INFORMATION THREAD Empty Food & Alcohol

    Post  Romain Decoster Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:34 pm

    In Korvala you will get 3 breakfasts and 3 Evening meals, soft drinks are provided with the food.

    Outside of the restaurant you can drink your own alcohol but if you really want to drink alcohol in the restaurant you should buy it from the restaurant. It is not allowed to drink your own alcohol in the restaurant!

    At other times you should have your own food and drinks e.g. snacks and lunch. There are small kitchens in the cottages. Note that there is an oven in the sauna cottage but in most of the other cottages there are two hotplates. There is a microwave in most cottages. There is a refrigerator in every place.

    There is no need to bring lots of food and drink with you, just bring what you need for the train journey. When we arrive in Rovaniemi there will be a stop at the Citymarket/Lidl and Alko and you can do your shopping there.

    If you forget something at Citymarket or you run out of beer, there is a Kiosk at Korvala that sells a small selection of fresh, frozen and dry goods, beer and souvenirs . There is also a K-Market in Pyhä.

    When we make our stop in Rovaniemi, at Citymarket/Lidl and Alko, you need to do your food and alcohol shopping for your whole stay in Korvala.
    It's much easier that way. Also you actually don't need to buy much.

    A side note concerning the buffet.
    (It happened once with a group that we end up with a shortage of bread and ham/salami on the last breakfast because a group of students "stole" food from the buffet for their lunch.)

    Jaana and Seppo do their food shopping only once a week (since it takes like 45min to go to the nearest supermarket and 45min to come back) and buy more than enough food for a group of hungry vikings like you. They even buy some extra just in case.
    However, the breakfast buffet is not meant for you to sneak food out of the restaurant for your lunch; there just wouldn't be enough food for everybody at the end of our stay in Korvala.

    Thanks for understanding :-)
    Romain Decoster
    Romain Decoster
    Project Leader

    Posts : 113


    Post  Romain Decoster Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:34 pm

    Bring warm and sensible clothes, a good coat, scarf, hat, gloves, footwear, thick socks etc and whatever else you think you are going to need. There is a drying cupboard in most of the cottages so if your clothes and shoes get wet you can dry them in there.

    Again, you need gloves, a scarf and a hat!!

    Depending on the temperature, your brain might freeze, so yeah, you do need a hat... Sorry for your hair style !

    If it's cold, the best is to have lots of layers and different textile. Ex: cotton / wool / cotton => there will be air in between the layers and that's a good thing :-)

    Tips: take your shower in the evening and not in the morning, your body will make some natural oil during the night and that's a good protection against the cold.
    But do wash your feet in the morning as well, clean feet stay warm easier.

    The cost to hire snow boots for the whole stay is EUR 10,-
    The cost to hire a snow suit for the whole stay is also EUR 10,-
    You can pay by cash or by card at the end of your stay.
    Romain Decoster
    Romain Decoster
    Project Leader

    Posts : 113

    INFORMATION THREAD Empty A note about Northern Lights

    Post  Romain Decoster Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:35 pm

    You all know what Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) are and I'm sure you're looking forward to see one of them!

    I just want to remember you that this is a natural phenomenon, so we can't guarantee or predict them for sure.
    Basically, (I'm no scientist) you need a solar eruption, and if the solar particles reach Earth's magnetic field, bam, here you go.
    But still, you, watching from the ground, need to have a clear sky to be able to see it.

    Here are some links, if you're interested:

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