One of Dermott's more exotic assignments took place a snowflake south of the Arctic Circle. A one-and-a-half-hour flight north from Finland's capital, Helsinki, and he was in the little town of Kemi on the Gulf of Bothnia.
Each year it becomes magical with the opening of LumiLinna SnowCastle. It is wonderful for children and adults and has visitors from around the world.
Children love snow-tube sliding and performances by clowns, magicians and musicians. The SnowCastle has a constant temperature of -5 degrees celsius.
Building begins in December and it takes around five weeks to complete. It's a source of great pride to locals and is an excellent example of architectonic snow-work. The first castle went up in 1996 and there's a new one built each year from nothing but ice and with a different theme.
The first one was a gift from UNICEF and the City of Kemi to the children of the world. It made the Guinness World Records for the world's first SnowCastle with the longest ever snow walls.
Great light effects add to the charm of the snow and ice-sculpting. There's also a hotel, restaurant, lounge and chapel.
The SnowHotel has 18 double rooms, two group rooms and a honeymoon suite. All are equipped with special sleeping bags. Beds are covered in lambskin. Pure fresh air promotes a wonderful night's sleep, and thick ice walls ensure total quiet.
Breakfast is served in the CastleLounge and guests are taken to a nearby hotel in the morning to shower and spa, so don't worry, there is no polar plunging.
SnowRestaurant is open every day and is so popular, reservations are necessary. The menu is in keeping with local cuisine and has dishes such as reindeer soup, salmon soup, chicken fillets with smoked reindeer-cheese sauce. As you can see, reindeer is a staple of the Finnish diet. It is fine-textured and tender and has a low fat content.
SnowChapel is popular for weddings and christenings, as well as traditional Sunday service. Around fifteen couples tie the knot there every year.
SnowCastle 2012 will open on January 28, 2012.
Kemi, a half hour flight from Helsinki in Finland.
Bentours has double rooms available at SnowCastle from $271 per person. Breakfast and morning shower are included.
Emirates has flights to Copenhagen and 28 other European destinations via Dubai, departing Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. Connections to Helsinki are available. For an exclusive Getaway viewers' discount, log on to www.emirates.com/getaway.
LumiLinni SnowCastle entry is $12.95 for adults and $6.50 for children. SnowRestaurant three course meals start at $50.50. It's open from January to early April.
Prices correct at November 19, 2011.
For further information
Ph: 1300 303 777
1/7-9 Kent Road
Ph: 1800 221 712
Fax: 02 9700 7447
Lumi Linna Snowcastle
Ph: 358 16 258 878
Visa: Australians must have a valid passport. No visa is required for a stay of up to three months in any six-month period.
Electricity: 220V 50Hz European 2-pin plugs.
Time zone: GMT +2 hours.
Currency: The Euro.
Telephone code: +358.
It is recommended travellers see their doctor at least six weeks before departure as there may be specific vaccinations recommended for areas you will be visiting. Other health precautions and preventions may also be recommended. For further information, visit www.smartraveller.gov.au and www.welltogo.com.au.