Where does Santa live? The Finns (and many other Europeans) say Lapland, which has profited greatly from the exposure.
A visit with Santa, Lapland, Finland

  The business of Santa is alive and well in Lapland, which seems to have cornered the market on all things St. Nick, at least for Europeans. On my recent trip to Finland, I found that Rovaniemi’s campaign, more than 50 years in the making, to serve as Santa’s hometown has paid off handsomely for […]


Fascinating Finland: My new Finnish glasses

by Chris on November 21, 2011

How a stern Finnish counter clerk named Anna found me glasses that I finally love.

My hatred of glasses goes back more than 30 years, when an optometrist  put a pair on me and said, “Does that seem better?” He had no idea. Until that day, I had always seen the world in shady outlines, a beautiful blur that fueled my imagination (even if it did cause me to trip […]


Fascinating Finland: Finnish food

by Chris on November 1, 2011

Finnish food: If you don’t eat fish or reindeer, you may be out of luck. But for those who do, the simple ingredients and clever preparations will win you over.
Finnish cuisine, salmon

I grew up in Minnesota, so I knew a bit about the good – and bad – aspects of Scandinavian cuisine (lutefisk, never again!). But I was surprised to discover that the simple flavors and natural ingredients of Finnish food suited me, and we ate well on our visit, particularly in Helsinki and Lapland. I […]


Finnish design: It’s a way of life in Helsinki, where the architecture and shops reflect the country’s innate quirkiness.
Finnish design, Helsinki

What surprised me the most about my visit to Finland is that Finnish design is not just something that you see in the shops of Helsinki. It’s a way of life, and one that reflects their history and innate quirkiness. When babies are born, the Finnish government gives the family a box full of goodies, […]


Fascinating Finland: The Cult of the Sauna

by Chris on October 24, 2011

No one loves a sauna like the Finns. A look at Finnish sauna culture.
Finnish sauna

In September, I made my first trip to Scandinavia when I took the train throughout Finland, hitting Helsinki, Lapland and a few other towns. In a way, though, it seemed quite familiar; the result of growing up in Minnesota. All throughout my trip, people kept mistaking me for a native Finn, even though I never […]