Easter holiday part. 2

Last time my story ended at our visit to Turku center. Our next destination was the town of Naantali. I have wanted to visit there for a long time because it´s the place know from the Moomin world. Well that wasn´t the target this time since it is not open before the summer but I got nice suprise there anyway.. But first to Naantali. It was really beautiful small city by the sea and the old part of it and the harbour area was so nice. We bought some ice cream and walked along the seaside in the warm evening. The lane next the little harbour was full of little restaurants, it would be great to sit there in the summer, eat and enjoy the sea air. We walked up the hill where the church of Naantali is located. Since I have never visited there before I had no idea where the Moomin world was located. But from the top of the hill we saw a bridge and gates that led to the Moomin world. And people where going in..

So we went to check it out and the gates were open and we could walk around the Moomin park. And for free.. It is quite expensive in the summer which is one reason I have never visited there. Of course all the buildings were locked and the Moomin characteres weren´t there but seeing the place was just enough for me. So we and other tourists, most of them foreigners, circled around the island of Moomin world which isn’t huge. If I was a kid, I would probably want to come again in the summer when Moomins are home but now this was enough for me. Location on the island is great, very Tove Jansson kind of location, otherwise it´s mostly  an attraction for kids, althought many adults are huge Moomin fans too. So Naantali has a home for Moomins and in summer time for Finlands president as well. Presidents summer house Kultaranta is located close to Naantali center too. Summertime they also have some visitor days but not at spring.

 

From Naantali we continued our trip along the coast towards north. We found a little nature path which was more remoted so we could walk there in peace with our dog and have a break from are the city stop. The path went up to this rocky hill top where the village have had a dancing place long long time ago. Dancing place is actually a wrong word since it is just a smooth flat rock where the young people gathered to have fun.  Sun was shining and there was no wind. Our dog and son run around the rocks and fallen trees.

From there we drove to the area of Louhisaari manor. The manor is open for visitors only at summer but I wanted to see the places and fields. It´s a birthplace of one of our presidents, Mannerheim. Now it belongs to the Finnish Heritage Agency. The house itself is a lot different that most of manor houses in Finland. It’s white, square shaped, high building made of bricks. A tree lane leads to the yard like in the most of manors. We saw lots of deer on the fields of the manor, if I’m not mistaken, some manor owners brought deer to their grounds even from abroad to hunt them. And those deer have spread from there.

We found a parking place for the night next to a small bird watching tower by the sea. I sat in the darkening night at the tower with a glass of wine in my hand listening to seagulls yell. Northern harrier circled around and everytime it came close to the gulls they all rise to the air and tried to shoo it away.  My kind of night!

In the morning we turned our car back towards Turku partially because we needed to use some gas station services for our camper van and partially because we wanted to visit few locations in that direction. Next stop was a spare of the moment thing, I was watching the map and saw the Kuusisto piispanlinna (Kuusisto castle) at Kaarina quite close to our location. So we desided to drove there. I did´t even exactly know what it was before I googled it.. The castle was used by the bishop until the reformation when it was distroyed. There´s also the manor house of Kuusisto which nowadays is an art gallery. We walked the nature path going around the area. It was more popular place than I thought and people had come to spend the Easter day there. The path went up to the hill through an old spruce forest and continued by the side of a field to the ruins.

There are only some walls left from the structure but at its’ own time it was a very modern building. The signs informed that it had probably the first indoor toilet in Finland. The ruins are also at seaside and people had come to have a picnic on the tables that were in common use. At summer time there is also  a cafe.

 

I really liked these places, it was one of my favorite sites on our trip. We walked back to our car from the other side of the nature path which was more quiet since most of people came back the same way. Spring flowers were blossoming at the grounds already and the day was sunny and beautiful but on the seaside it´s not that hot with the constant wind. But it surely felt like spring!

 

Easter holiday part 1.

I know I many times start my blogs by writing a little bit about the weather and the season, but now it is kind of hard to write since the weather changes daily (or every hour). Temperature has been changing from over +20 degrees Celsius to minus five and snow fall. We have only had couple of snow flakes today and nothing on the ground but last weekend everything was white again.  However now it should change back to warm weather. So it is better not to take all our winter clothes to storage yet even though the summer clothes have been taken from the closet. All the trees are starting to be green again and the first garden flowers have appered. At the north some skiing centers are still open but here most of the snow disappeared around Easter time.

So to the real story part. We didn´t have strict plan when we started our caravan car for the first time this year. But we had a little direction since we wanted to go to a place where was no more snow. So we headed towards Turku and decided to stop where we would feel like it.  We ended up visiting four national parks, one strict nature reserve and many other fun places.

Our first real stop was in Puurijärvi-Isosuo national park. It is located in the municipalities of Kokemäki, Huittinen and Sastamala. It´s a real bird park since wetlands and lakes cover huge part of the area. It´s a small park with 27 km2. It was founded 1993.

And there would have been lots of migrating birds to see but it was hard to recognize the species since I forgot my binoculars home. But swans, common coots and osprey we saw atleast. Snow was already gone and the paths were pretty dry. We visited a big bird watching tower and also walked a little nature path through the wetland. Easter had really got people on the move since the parking lot was filled with cars. They had promised warmer weather than normally in April so I guess that was one reason.  And it was nice weather if you don´t count the fact that sun only peaked behind the clouds every once in a while.

In the evening we went for a nice evening walk in the Vaskijärvi strict nature reserve in Pöytyä. Sun was just setting down and birds were singing in the old spruce forest. And it was nice to walk in the forest without any other people.

It was really silent and peacefull and it´s definately a place which I want to get a better look sometime.

 

In the morning we headed to Kurjenrahka national park which was really close to the place we had stayed the night. Kurjenrahka is also really small park like most of the southern national parks.It´s 29 km2 and it´s founded 1998. It was also really crowded. Lots of families had came for a picnic and a walk in the nature.  We decided to walk only the closest and shortest path and be on our way.

We walked by the border rock of Kuhankuono which is still on the border of seven municipalities. We also met this little green fellow on our path.

Kurjenrahka also has a nature center where this funny crane pictures are from, since Kurki means crane, so it´s kind of the name bird of Kurjenrahka.

From Kurjenrahka we drove to Turku since my son wanted to visit the city also. And walking by the Aura river is always nice. Below are some pictures from Turku and I will continue our Easter story in another post.

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to everyone! We are taking advantage of the Easter holidays and starting our camper van after the winter. Temperature has gone over 15 degrees Celsius even in the shadows and southern Finland is already free from snow. We still have some of it left so the gardening work still has to wait. I will add few photos from last weeks winter views while it snowed more than 20 centimeters in one day. As you can see spring time is changing the view fast.

The melting new snow made our little river a lot bigger although this year we didn´t have real flood. But now that´s over and the sun is here again. And the butterflies and bumblebees are flying around. Cranes and swans are waking us up with their morning greetings on the field right next to our house, natures own alarm clock.

So hopefully next week we will have some new stories to tell about our Easter holiday….

Luosto fell

Days are getting longer really fast although the winter seems to be back and the sun is hiding again. (You can see the latest changes of the scenery on our Instagram.) Ten plus degrees limit was broken during few days and it felt so warm after the winter. Our yard turned into a giant pond and there´s still lot of snow left.. It´s so hard to stay at home these days, travelling bug comes out with the sun.. So I dug up these photos from a really sunny day we spend on Luosto fell, to help to ease the travelling pain.

Luosto area belongs to the Pyhä-Luosto national park and it´s located in the central Lapland in the municipality of Sodankylä. The oldest national park in Finland (Pyhätunturi national park) enlarged when connected with the area of Luosto in 2005. The fell top we climbed to is called Ukko-Luosto and it´s one of the twelve peaks of the national park. Ukko-Luosto only belongs to it partially since there are also few skiing slopes on its side. We have driven past Luosto fell so many times when it has been covered in fog so when the sun was shining from a clear sky we decided to stop and climb up. I was travelling with my son and my parents.

There is a path leading up to the rocky fell with a lot of stairs for you. The 3,6 kilometers long path is worth the climb since up there is a great view to surrounding forest and wetlands. The fell is 514 meters high, second highest peak in the national park. That is probably one reason why they have built a weather radar ball up there.

Luosto also has some hotels, cottages and even a little spa. There´s also an ametisth mine you can visit with a guide. In the summer time Luosto is quite quiet place although with a lot of reindeer.  All the cottages built in the Luosto area are from this grey KELO log which makes the small village look really pretty.  IMG_6333

Now I really have to concentrate waiting the good parts of spring, sun, warmth and the return of the migrating birds. Well, easter is nearly here so hopefully we have couple of days for a little trip…

Aavasaksa

Spring is coming fast now. Last week I was enjoying the hard snow on the fields and skied in the sun shine. My dog really loves it when she can run on the fields and forest without sinking into the snow. Our little river is also waking up after winter and it has nearly lost its ice cover. Now we are enjoying really warm weather, around ten degrees Celsius. So that´s probably end of the snow.  We have also tried to hurry with our yearly firewood project in our forest so we could get everything done fast and the logs can dry in the spring sun. That also means some bonfire to burn the branches, so lots of marshmallow roasting for us .

Last week I wrote about a trip we made when my son was little. I have been looking at photos of that time more and I found pictures from the same trip at Aavasaksa in Ylitornio municipality. It´s one of the Finnish national landscapes and there´s a beautiful view to the Tornioriver valley both finnish and swedish side.  It´s also a part of Struve Geodetic Arc which was named to the world heritage sites by UNESCO. Aavasaksa is known as the southest place to enjoy the midnight sun during Midsummer night.

On the hill-top a 4 kilometer nature path is circling on rocky hills and in pine forest. There you can see the view on every side of the Aavasaksa hill. We have walked it through few times and these pictures are from year 2010. It´s a really great place but there is lot to watch out while walking on the cliffs and rocky places with a super energetic five-year old. There are duckboards in the hardest places to help walking at the rocks.

Up on the hill there´s also a sightseeing tower and a summer coffee, but the most well-known is the Emperor´s “cottage”. Emperor of Russia, Alexander II visited there and the cottage was built for him in 1882. IMG_4498

Aavasaksa has also a little skiing center in the winter and some rental cottages to stay in. I add a picture of Aavasaksa taken from a car window during one of our winter trips so you can see how up the hill is from the surroundings even thought the hill is only 242 meters high. With this winter picture I wish nice spring days for everyone! Can´t wait the next season in the nature!IMG_9835

 

“I´m a wanderer”

I´ve been watching few clips of the new Moomin series which was just released. When my son was small we used to watch the older version, made in the 1990´s all the time.  One day in June 2010 while traveling in Lapland with my parents, we had already had a fun day hiking on Pallas fells. My son was nearly five years old. We started driving the road circling the other side of the Pallas fells. At that time, if my son saw a sign of a walking path or a national park or anything similar, an immediate scream came from his car seat. Stop, I want to go walking! We had already walked many kilometres that day so all the adults were a little sceptic when the scream came. But my son was still looking really energetic so we stopped. We were changing our shoes before starting and my mom asked for the last time from my son. -Are you sure you are not too tired to walk? We have all ready walked so much today? He gave my mom this look like she just doesn’t get it, turned on his heels, started walking the path and yell in a very calm voice to us: “I’m a wanderer”. It´s a line that Snufkin says in one of the episode when Moomin mamma asked him is he all right hiking that long.

The path was a short, 3,5 kilometres long, circle road called Pyhäjoen luontopolku. Little river flows next to the path. We soon came to this really beautiful place filled with ferns just about to open for the summer. The pale green colour surrounded the forest was really beautiful and I still remember very well my little fellow walking in the middle of it way a head of us. Bird cherries were blossoming and some of them bent over the path.

Tha path also run by a little lake. We had some rain drops on our jackets on the shore but it didn´t start to rain. All the spring flowers which had all ready blossomed at home were now blooming in Lapland like kingcups and cloudberry. A little swamp we walked by was full of the delicate white cloudberry flowers.  When we got closer to road again the path walked through this little meadow area where junipers grew together with meadow flowers. The area is taken care by the Metsähallitus, otherwise it would be growing bushes and trees after some years. The field was used by the Pallasjärvi forest keeper long time ago.

Afterwards we have driven past this place so many times and never stopped but next time we will! It´s such a pretty place. Spring is not so popular time to visiti Lapland because the weather can be unpredictable but I love the season when nature starts to wake up after the long winter.  Soon that time will be here again…

 

Holiday time at last!

Last week of February was finally our winter holiday. We spent it again in Enontekiö in northern Lapland, near the Swedish border in village of Kuttanen. This time the weather was really different from last year and there was half of the amount of snow also, about 50 centimeters. Most days were really warm, between +3 and -7 degrees Celsius, so it was perfect weather for spending lot of time outside.

My family was there together with my parents. The village maintains it´s own skiing tracks for cross-country so we skied everyday. The circle track was 5 kilometers long, just enough ups and downs, by which I mean no too deep hills for a not so good skier like me..

My son spent most of his days outside with his snowboard, since the cottage was up on a hill-top and he could make his own slopes in the sparse forest. Our dog would have been outside all the time too, especially at this little hut where we made fire in some evenings and had some sausage to eat..

We also visited swedish side at Karesuando,since there was the nearest shop and at Hetta few times which is the “city-center” of Enontekiö. We also went skiing there. The road we used every time we left the cottage, finally leading to Kilpisjärvi and all the way to Oulu, has a lot of truck traffic, especially foreign trucks which get stuff from Norway. The road is very narrow. We could see many places where had been trucks on the ditch and had to be pulled up. There is even a website where the fallen trucks are posted since it happens so often.

During the last two nights we also got to enjoy some amazing northern lights, I haven´t seen so beautiful ones for years. Here are some pictures but I still don´t have a stand for my camera so they are really bad.. But I hope you get some idea. They are so beautiful when they spread like a flame through the sky. And there are no lights there to bother the colours. In the last morning the temperature also got back to normal and we said goodbye to Enontekiö in -20 degrees Celsius and sun. When we had driven about three hundred kilometers it started to snow and rest of the drive went quite slowly. There were also few accidents, nothing serious but it slowed down the traffic. The skiing holidays are divided to three weeks in Finland depending where you live and those weekends the traffic on the roads to north is the busiest. And not everyone remembers to drive safely!

Now it´s time to wait for the spring and enjoy the last winter days at home and hopefully make little trips closer to home. Atleast until the summer comes…

Winter holiday 2018

It´s again time for our winter holiday in Lapland. We are going to the same destination like last year, again to Enontekiö. Winter this year has been really different from last year. Snow came late here and also to Lapland and for a long time southern Finland had more snow than Lapland. Then the snowy weather moved to Lapland and we got the rain and plus degrees. Now it´s been changing every five minutes. Couple of days ago we had plus degrees and rain, then a snow storm and yesterday -25 degrees Celsius cold and sunny. Today it is warm again, plus 7 degrees and the plus degrees should reach all the way to Lapland. So it seems we are taking the warm weather with us to north.  I just really hope it won´t last there very long. Keeping my fingers crossed for a cold winter holiday! I will add few pictures from this week here and then repost last years story. Enjoy the snowy pics from last February!


Happy Spring days! The sun is shining and life starts to feel great again! And by again I mean that both our blog and life have been on a hold for a week since I, my son and mother got influenza as souvenir from our Lapland holiday. We had to cut down our holiday few days as well as cancel our trip to Lahti to see the World cup competitions at Nordic skiing. So not the best start for March but after some really dark days everything starts to feel ok again. I promised some more pictures from our trip to Lapland so here they are.

First photos are taken from car window on the way to north. So don’t mind if there are some flaws there. I started taking pictures from the car on our last holiday to Lapland and even thought most of them are not any good I got some really nice and funny shoots so I decided to do that again and also the journey goes faster that way. Our route went on the western side of Finland to Oulu, Tornio, Kolari and finally to Enontekiö.On the way we spent one night near Oulu in our camper van and watched northern lights over the sea. During the night the temperature went down to -28 degrees Celsius but fortunately our car heating system worked nicely and it started well in the morning. Well, we didn’t leave right away in the morning since we HAD to watch the Olympic games 50 km skiing, glad we did since Finland got the only gold medal by Iivo Niskanen who won the race.

We had rented the same cottage where we stayed last easter, the location was just so great. The amount of snow was as great as  last year and the trees had beautiful snow cover. We used most days just around the cabin spending time outside cross-country skiing, walking with snow shoes and just enjoying the view.

The morning temperatures were around -20 degrees and the dawns and sunsets were beautiful from the hill-top where the cottage stands. I really like Enontekiö area and skiing holiday time is just so much more peaceful there than in the southern Lapland.

Our dog was with us and she enjoyed a lot again, climbing to the snow piles and guarding the scenery. It was almost full moon so the evening walks with the dog were beautiful in the snowy silent forest without the need for flashlight!

 

Hepoköngäs water fall

The weather here has made quite dramatic change. The snowy January is gone and currently the days are on plus degrees. Not a typical February! Last night was warmest for 60 years (for the time of year) in some parts of Finland. The snow has melted a lot, we still have a lot but I think the amount has decreased to half.  I really hope this ain´t the end of the winter but it looks bad since warm weather is promised to last until the beginning of March.  And the southern part of Finland is now full of melting snow and water, Helsinki has had a lot of problems with that since they had even more snow than we had here in the middle Finland.

One week to school´s winter holiday left when we get to go north, hopefully there will be colder, keeping my fingers crossed!

But let´s write about something less depressive than melting snow. I chose few pictures here from a waterfall which we have visited many times. It´s called Hepoköngäs and it is one of the biggest waterfalls in natural state in Finland when measured in fall hight. Even thought it doesn’t really look big in my pictures.. Photos are taken in summer time and the water level was quite low. The dropping high is about 24 meter´s straight down.We have visited it in autumn also when more water was running but I couldn´t find those pics anywhere. Hepoköngäs is located in Puolanka municipality in Kainuu region.

A nature path (very well taken care of) goes to the area and I think the path up to the waterfall can also be reached by a wheelchair.  The path is 1,4 km in total. At the top there´s a lean-to where you can make a fire and there are also toilets. The forest around the river is mostly in natural kind of bruce forest, it´s  nature conservation area. You can walk down the hill to down side of the waterfall and when the water is running more than in this picture´s you’ll get nice mist to you face from the dropping water.

 

Last time we were in the area we also visited this nice sightseeing tower on the top of a hill between the area of Ukko-Halla skiing resort and Paljakka nature reserve. I just can´t remember the name of the hill, we just saw a sign when driving the road from Ukko-Halla towards Paljakka last summer and stopped by.  I´m not too keen on high places and this tower was pretty big for a wooden one.. But it was worth the climb, the view was beautiful to surrounding forested hills, typical for Kainuu region. And the short path to the tower went through a really pretty forest.  Another example that you can find beautiful places that you had no idea about but when you just travel with time and patience and depart from your original route.

Lake Inari

Couple of days ago I was helping my son with his geography homework because he didn’t find something from a map. When he got on with his school work I was still examining the maps. I started looking at the amount of lakes in our country. Of course it is obvious that we have lots of lakes but when you really look into it and compare to other places the amount looks even bigger.  The area from southwest Finland all the way to eastern border and from there to Lapland seems to be covered with blue colour. And that´s just the bigger lakes, the hundreds of tiny ones were not even showing in that scale of map. It´s no wonder why Finland calls itself the land of the thousand lakes. Counting all the lakes bigger than 500 m², we have 187 888 lakes. More than 10 prosent of our country is covered with lakes and rivers.

I will tell you now about one of my absolute favorite lakes. Lake Inari, our third biggest lake, covers an area of 1084 square kilometers. It´s located in northeast Lapland. There´s lots of holiday cabins on the shores but the eastern part of it is still remote and wilderness like. In the summer time you can take a little cruise from the Inari village to the island of Ukonsaari which is the most well know island in Inari. It used to be a sacred place for the Sámi people.  It has a really unique shape and you can see it from really far. We have also visited this cruise on our honeymoon twelve years ago and my son went there again with my parents a year ago. So here are some pictures from both trips.

The shores of lake Inari are mostly rocky and the water is really clear. And cold, last summer was the only one I could imagine myself swimming there.

I will also add here some pictures of the little church of Inari. Me and my husband visited there while my son was on the cruise.  It´s located by the lake in Inari village and looks like a typical Lapland church. Many of the churches in Lapland, burned during the World War II, were build again at the same time so they are quite similar with each other.

There are many kinds of lakes in Finland from rocky to sandy beaches and wetland lakes. I love them all but there is something so beautiful in the roughness of lake Inari. I am sorry I don´t have any winter pictures from there to show you, but I haven´t yet  visited there during winter. Hopefully someday I will get the chance. I have seen it frozen thought but it was in June..