We are on holiday break travelling here and there in Finland. So we will we be back later to write about our trips but for now here’s some photos to give you a clue what’s coming. Happy summer to you all!
We live in a strange time in the world right now. So it´s time for everyone to stay at home and just plan for up coming trips after corona or remember the old one’s. My one plan is to organize my photos in the computer while spending time at home. Although here in the country side there is always something to do, like every springs project with firewood. But back to the photos, I still haven´t posted about most of the places we visited during our last summer holiday. So this time I will write about few not so well known place in the town of Sodankylä. Sodankylä is the second larges municipality in Finland with 12 415,40 km2, inhabited by only 8300 people. I have already written about Sodankylä in the posts from Luosto, Nattaset and some part of Urho Kekkonen national park from Sodankylä side.
We visited three places in Sodankylä last summer I haven´t been before. First one was little north from Sodankylä. We were returning from Inari and wanted a place to walk our dog in peace. We found this location from the internet and headed there. It´s called Sattasvaara. It´s an old stratovolcano which I would have never guessed. The path went up a rocky hill in a pine forest. On the top the trees changed to birches and ground even more rocky. There was a little fire watchers hut on the top and we had to spend some time there to get our dog to calm down. Up there in the sun the horseflies found us and she got paranoid with them. And our way down was pretty fast. The path was 1,5 kilometers long and you return the same way. Up there you can see the view to every direction.
The second one is visited by many tourist that stop at Sodankylä because is right at the center, the old church of Sodankylä. It´s one of the oldest churches in Finland built in 1689. It´s small wooden church, really cute one. It was the hottest day of the summer when we visited there and it was nice and cool inside.
Our next top was a place called Hirviäkuru at lake Orajärvi. Short walk in a sandy pine forest led to the west side of the lake that had beautiful rocks falling into the lake. Small but beautiful place. It was a really hot day so it was nice to sit on the rocks for a while before returning to the hot car.
We also stopped to walk our dog at Porttikoski by the river Kitinen, it´s more beautiful when there´s more water, it´s easy to visit right next to the road. There´s also an old danging place, I think they still have dances there in the summer time. Really pretty place for a summer dance.
I hope you all stay safe and have great time at home. Our schools are closed now so my son is studying at home. I never thought I had to remember eight grade math or chemistry again… Maybe this time I learn it better than the first..
We are back from our winter holiday and I miss back there already. I did´t even realize how much I missed snow until we got there. One meter was a good amount for me, locals told that there had not been that much snow in that time of winter for a hundred years. And the amount of snow normally still rises in Lapland in March. It was quite surreal to go there from rain and fog to snow and cold. We spent the week in Enontekiö again I,my son and husband and my parents. And of course our dog too.
First three nights we had northern lights to watch, my pictures are bad though. I concentrated on watching.
But the main thing was skiing, for me cross country and for my son slalom. It was amazing to ski long trips in sunshine. Enontekiö in February is a peaceful place for skiing, comparing to the big skiing centers and the tracks are easy enough for not so good skier like me. Last day me and my dad skied to Pyhäkero hut, 18 km was a good trip to end our holiday. Little up hill there and easy slow down hill back.
My son spent all day every day outside, I think he missed snow even more than me. The cabin we stayed in was on a spit and had a little downhill slide to the lake. Big enough to slide with a snowboard. There was also a fireplace by the lake to have some sausage between slides. Few days my boys also spent in the Hetta skiing center downhill skiing while rest of us were on the tracks. We also climbed up to Hetta hill called Jyppyrä, by foot while the boys got up with the lift and we all had dinner in the hut up there. I have never before seen the hut so covered in snow. Up there is a nice view to Ounasjärvi lake and Ounas fells which are part of Pallas national park.
At Hetta center they had a Nordic ice sculpture contest going on, sadly we didn´t see the ready-made results. And I also forgot to take a pictures, one I have is not so good one in the front of the hotel we went eating on our last night there. Amazing food by the way. The sculptures had been made in front of buildings in the center, so I snapped a quick photo on my phone. Big part of these photos are taken with my phone because it´s hard to carry anything else while skiing.
Now we are back home and it has been raining again but it´s not long until the spring start, swans are back here already. They fly past our house many times a day and remind of spring.
Looks like spring time is here to stay. Couple of weeks ago the weather was like normally in April, then winter had its turn for a while and now it feels like everything is back to normal after the wet, warm and crazy “winter”. We have enjoyed amazing moonlight with sky full of stars, around -10 °C night time temperatures and + 5 degrees during the beautiful sunny days. Just had great weekend for ice-fishing or skating (where the ice is strong enough), downhill skiing, sledging, skiing or just walking around outdoors.
My sister had her winter fun in Lapland during “skiing holiday” and before traveling (during the gray rainy days) wrote this short description of a place we have both visited in summer time.
These pictures are from Suomussalmi from a place called Soiva metsä. It´s a forest with a nature path you walk along and you get a change to try different large musical instruments built in the forest.
The place is located on an esker surrounded by lakes. It´s only few kilometers from Suomussalmi center. Instruments were built in 1996 and the path is around half a kilometer long. I think it´s really fun idea and the instrumental sounds blend into the forest sounds. On the day we visited there were no other walkers so we had nice time testing every instrument. Our dog didn´t like the metal boards which made this thunder-like sound. It´s a place really worth visiting especially with kids. I realized after starting to write this that I had less photos than I thought, I had made more videos. So I try to add few of them on our facebook site for you to watch and listen.
Happy Valentines Day to everyone! I thought since Valentines Day is a romantic holiday, I will write about our wedding anniversary trip we did last autumn with my husband. Althought it is more of a travelling story than a romantic one but anyway I felt it´s a good time to write about it today.
For few years now we have made a weekend trip with my husband around our wedding anniversary. Our son is not a kid anymore so we feel like it´s time to take more time for us two. So we headed to the eastern Finland with our caravan car. Our destination was in Sotkamo at Vuokatti but we left a day before to first visit Koli (read older post here). Evening was foggy and rainy so we just parked our car to sleeping mode. I woke up really early to a migraine I suffer from time to time, so I took my medication and went out for a walk, it always helps a little. And it was worth to wake up so awful way since the morning was really beautiful. Sun was shining and it was so quiet. Nobody else was awake there yet, well few black-throated divers that did´t really care about my presence, they just kept fishing on the lake. I walked a road between the Koli national park area and the lake Pielinen. I love those quiet morning moments.
When I headed back to our car my medication had work its magic and my husband had woken up too. So we moved the breakfast for later and drove up to Koli hills to see how the morning looked like up at the hill. A lot different than my morning walk but beautiful in different way. Some thin fog clouds had flown on the lake and the sun that shined through them gave everything this silverly look. The contrast to what had been half an hour before was huge.
Next we turned the car towards Vuokatti and arrived there just in time to watch some roller ski competition with most of best cross country skiers of Finland. When we booked our hotel we had no idea there´s going to be an event like that but it was a big plus since both of us had always wanted to see roller ski races. I like to ski with my rollers skis too but I would never have the courage to go so fast with them, well I could only go so fast to downhill anyway….
Next night was a little bit of luxury with spa, eating well and sleeping in a suite with our own sauna. Not that we would have really needed our own sauna when Vuokatti spa had so many different saunas from smokesauna to a sauna with walls made of salt. Great place for a tourist to test all sorts of Finnish saunas.
Morning meant that it was time to head home but we made one linger stop on the way. That was to one of Finlands national landscapes, Väisälänmäki at the town of Lapinlahti. It´s on the hill (mäki means a hill) and there´s a beautiful view to surrounding areas.
The history of the area also involves Kaski fires, kaski meaning slash-and-burn, when they burn woodland areas to make fields. A Finnish painter Eero Järnefelt painted one of his best know paintings “Under the Yoke” ( Burning the brushwood) at the area. You can see the photo of it in our blog text about Helsinki. It was the main reason to visit Ateneum art museum to see the landscape we saw in real live as a painting made in 1893. They still maintain the fields as cultural landscapes and cows work in landscaping. They keep the fields open and the landscape how it use to be. At Väisälänmäki there´s also a little cafe in the summertime, really cute place! We just had to have a cup of coffee there before heading home. We had really nice and relaxing weekend together and I can´t wait our next years trip.
The weather situation this winter has been something I haven’t experienced in my life time. Whole January was really warm, the thermometer showed more than ten degrees plus. In Lapland they have more snow than usually this time of the year and here in the south it comes and goes. Well, now we got plenty, it has been snowing a lot during this week. They have had problems organizing cross country skiing competitions and ice fishing competitions due the lack of snow and ice. Road have had their share of ice but the ice cover of lakes is still really bad. Our yard was like an ice skating arena the whole of January.
But if the bad winter has caused trouble there are something good in it too. Our little river builds beautiful ice sculptures changing daily.
I spent one morning by walking by the river and admiring the ice. And the foam flocking under the rapid places also makes funny structures when it starts to freeze. Some of them look like meringues, some build funny rafts.
So let´s all try to make the most of it what ever kind of winter you have where ever you live. Have grear winter days!
Holidays are long gone and we are back in normal routines. Weather has´t noticed it´s January though, since the combination of snow, water and ice are changing here all the time. On Boxing day we had good luck and everything looked really Christmas like with new snow and minus degrees so we finally went to Ähtäri zoo to see the pandas. And all the other animals too, of course.
When we arrived, the zoo had just opened and the parking lot was nearly empty. We went straight to the panda house where we sat alone with them for nearly half an hour before the next people arrived. Pandas were having their breakfast, bamboo of course. There are two pandas in Ähtäri; a girl and a boy. Girl panda is called Lumi in finnish (Snow) and the boy is Pyry (snow fall). We had good luck to see them actually moving because when they finished their meal, both of them went to sleep. Others arriving after us just saw them snoring. And the ticket to the panda house only allows you to visit there once.
So we left the cute couple sleeping and went to the farm. In the farm area there is an old farm house moved to the zoo and of course you can meet farm animals: sheep, cows, goats, horses and even cats. And a snow fall gave a nice Christmas feeling to the farm visit. We were the only ones at the farm also, it was nice to go around and visit the animals there in peace.
We also made a tour in the official zoo side, there we crossed other people too but the day was quiet all together there. The red pandas gave as a show also since they didn´t fit in the same tree. .
Wolfs also gave an example of their hounding skills, it was quite impressive when the pack sang together!
Animals are usually more active at Ähtäri in the winter time so we like to visit there then more than during summer. Well, the bears are asleep of course but others like the otter had fun sliding down his little slope. Fun day all together and nice feeling of winter, at this moment I really miss that little amount of snow!
It´s already new year but the winter continues as before. Now it´s +5 degrees Celsius but few days back it was -20. And the snow comes and goes.
I´m continuing our Helsinki story here. Of course our morning started with breakfast. We went to one of Helsinki most traditional cafe´s or restaurant Kappeli. At least it´s that for me because I´m a big fan of old black and white Finnish movies, that´s why I have always wanted to visit there. And it is a beautiful place. It´s easier for you to look at the picture than me to explain, but I liked very much!
Morning was sunny but colder than the day before, and without wind. Which was good since we wanted to go to Suomenlinna islands. Suomenlinna is a fortress on an island in front of Helsinki and it´s an UNESCO world heritage site. You have to take a ferry to get there but the ride is really nice when sea is calm. It doesn´t take long and ferries go between the two harbour´s all day.
Construction work of Suomenlinna started 1748 while Finland was part of Sweden. Swedish name of Suomenlinna is Sveaborg. It´s one of the most visited places in Finland.
Islands are also inhabited and there is a marine school for army officers. So some places are of limits for tourist.
On the other side of the island the weather was nice and warm but when we climbed up to the embankment on the other side you could really feel the December breeze through you. But it was really beautiful and sun was shining to the sea. I really missed my real camera…
The purpose of the fortress can be seen everywhere, meaning the military stuff. Cannons pointing to the sea and that short of stuff. I´m sure it´s a great place for boys, or anyone interested in that kind of things, to visit. I know my son as growing up would have loved it.
After circling around every island we headed back to the ferry and Helsinki. In the morning we had passed the Orthodox church, Uspenski cathedral but it was closed then so we went back there. It´s right next to Kauppatori where the ferries leave to Suomenlinna so it wasn´t a long walk. The Orthodox churches are so much more decorative than Lutheran ones we visited day before.
After the cathedral we did´t really have any plan where to go. But we wanted to do something outside since the weather was so much better than the day before. So we walked to the Sibelius monument. It´s an art piece or a statue made to honour our national composer Jean Sibelius.
We wandered back to city and spent rest of the night eating and hanging around Oodi, the center library. Our car was covered in snow when we arrived back to railway station where we started our journey. It felt way more December like than in Helsinki.
I have visited Helsinki many times but I haven´t seen the most popular sights of the city. Last spring I visited travelling fair and took part in a competition there. I was lucky and won one night stay in a hostel in Helsinki. So last weekend I used the price with my husband, stayed in Helsinki and walk around the city for two days. Almost 60 000 steps during that weekend.. By the way I´m sorry if some pics are bad, I only had my phone camera with me.
We travelled by train to Helsinki on a grey Saturday morning. We arrived early and had plenty of time to see the places during day time. It was raining every once in a while. Every time clothes started to feel dry, the rain started again and made everything wet again. But it was really warm for a day in December. Our first visit was to the Temppeliaukio church which is excavated and built inside rock. It´s a really unique church and very popular place for tourists to visit. It seemed we were the only Finnish tourists there.
Talvipuutarha, winter garden, was our next target. On our walk there and back we passed many of the famous buildings in Helsinki, including the parlament house, modern art museum Kiasma and Finlandia house.
Talvipuutarha itself is basically a greenhouse, a really pretty one. There is no entrance fee so it´s a good place for a budget traveller.
On our way back to the city we visited the new Helsinki city library Oodi, where we also spent some time on Sunday waiting for the train back home.
Ateneum art museum wasn´t first on our list to visit but the rainy weather helped the decision to go indoors for a while. I have to say I don´t understand anything about art but the old Finnish classic paintings were really beautiful. And it was nice to see the painting of Eero Järnefelt called “Under the Yoke” because in the summer me and my husband visited the place where it was painted called Väisälänmäki. There was also few paintings from my home town Virrat since there was an exhibition about artist visiting this area.
Our last place to visit for that day was Tuomikirkko, the church which is one of the landmarks of Helsinki. In front of it at Senaatti square there was also a Christmas market opened just few days before and we also took a turn in there and had some warming up with glögi.
After all that we were so exhausted we spent the evening just in our room at the hostel watching tv and chilling. The hostel was really close to the center in Katajanokka, really clean and nice. Good for budget travelling too since Helsinki is quite expensive. But I had to admit I prefer a room with a private toilet. But for one night it was ok. I will continue about Helsinki on my next post and those photos are more sunny. There will be pics at least from Suomenlinna, Sibelius monument and Uspenski cathedral.