A travel agency in Finland is offering guided tours of the remote Lapland region—but for teddy bears only. No people allowed. But that’s okay. After all, it’s the bears that are coming out of hibernation, not you. Does your stuffed bruin seem a bit moody lately? Maybe what that sleepy Smokey needs is a change of pace, to be off on his own, in a land of ice and snow and pine trees and pickled herring. And Teddy Tours Lapland is standing by to help your plush Grizzly get that new perspective on life.
Teddy Tours just announced its new summer schedules this week. So for all of you who have been waiting for details, here’s how it works: You mail your pooped-out panda to Teddy Tours Lapland in the town of Rovaniemi, where he is ensconced in a local hotel. Well rested after a good night’s sleep, your once-prostrated Paddington is now raring to go. First stop: an architectural tour of the library, town hall, and theater designed by the modernist architect Alvar Aalto. One can almost hear the delighted clapping of those plantigrade paws. Afterwards, your increasingly bright-eyed Berenstain (ahh, what wonders that Lappish air can accomplish!) heads north to the Arctic Circle and a visit to Santa’s Village. Not only will Baloo send you a postcard from the Santa Claus Post Office, he’ll get to have his picture snapped with the big man himself.
Of course, this is only the Standard Journey ($117). For those who really love their Pooh-bears, there is another option: the Luxury Tour ($169). Your cuddly Kodiak gets everything in the Standard Journey plus a picnic lunch by a campfire (fresh lingonberries and toasted moose sandwiches, anyone?), a horseback ride, a riverboat cruise, a fishing trip, and the opportunity to feed Santa’s reindeer.
If you don’t already have a cotton-crammed Yogi at home, you can purchase the “Teddy + Luxury Tour” option for $195, in which your new, sight-unseen Teddy Bear will take the luxury tour even before you meet him! But how do you know that Teddy Tours will actually send Fozzie on this trip of a lunchtime? Maybe they’ll just use him to stuff up a crack in the window of some tumbledown Lapplander cabin for a few days to keep out the arctic gales! Not to worry—you will get documentary photos and, with the Luxury Tour, a DVD, so the memories will live on, long after your once-cherished Boo Boo has been consigned to the Salvation Army pile in the back of your garage, sodden with Rover stains, and missing a limb or two.
T+L's Smart Traveler, Mark Orwoll, is also the international editor at Travel + Leisure.