From cold to hot

 

January can sometimes be a bit boring… I mean that the holiday season is over and there is still a lot of time before the winter holidays when you are able to travel again. The snow that finally came of course makes it more fun, we try to go cross-country skiing at least twice a week now that the tracks are finally ready.

The temperature can still vary from -20 to zero and this winter we haven’t had a longer really cold period. Only few cold days here and there. Instead of freezing winter pictures I will post about one of the hottest days of the summer. One of those photos was at my favorite picks of last year post. They are taken in Sevettijärvi and Näätämö area in northeast Lapland near the Norwegian border.

We spent couple of really fun and hot days there last summer swimming in these tiny lakes that are typical for Sevettijärvi area. They are small but mostly have sandy shore lines and after the next hill there´s more and more lakes. So it is nice to swim there, when the summer has been hot enough for the water to warm up and last year it really was. It is just a big shame that in places like that, you can also find glass on the beach. We tried to collect away everything we found. Piece of glass is not a nice surprise in your or your dogs foot.

We also made a little and really fast hiking trip in Näätämö one day. We felt like walking at least a little even though it was hot. There are several paths that lead to the Näätämö river area and finally to the longer paths to Kaldoaivi wilderness area  all the way from Näätämö to Nuorgam. We chose one of them that lead up to a little hill-top. We were hoping there would be a nice breeze of wind there.

At the start of the path there was a bigger lake and we wetted our dog there so it wouldn’t be too hot for her. We had to repeat that few times during the trip! First she was just eager to go walking  but during our walk more and more horseflies and mosquitos started gathering around us. And if you have read our older post you know horseflies are the thing our dog dislikes the most.

But we reached the hill-top and the bugs left us alone for a moment. So we to stopped and enjoyed the beautiful view to both lake Sevetti and towards Näätämö river. At first there was the little breeze we were hoping for but it paused nearly right away and the bugs came back. And on that moment our break was over.. Our dog just wanted to run to the car. So we were quite fast on the way back, she calmed down a little bit when we got to the forest and the horseflies left her alone for a while. Then she could sniff and enjoy her walk again.

Comparing now these hot days to the cold days we have now it makes me appreciate our four completely different four seasons even more. I just hope all of us can take good enough care of this planet so it will not change even more in the future.

Sunny winter day in Finland

Skaidijärvi

Now the everyday routine has started again after the holidays at our home. My son is back to school as well as my husband is back to his job. Christmas tree was carried outside and decoration collected away to wait for next Christmas. And the snow has mostly fallen from the trees and temperature was close to 0 degrees once again…. Well, it is colder again, today -9 degrees Celsius, so we got some beautiful frost on our trees and of course the ground is still covered with snow.

In our last blog post I posted few pictures about our summer trips that I haven´t yet written about. So I thought this would be a good time to write about one of those places. This place is called Skaidijärvi and it´s just a bit north from the village of Nuorgam, before the Norwegian border at the most northern Lapland. I have written before about our trip to Kaldoaivi and this place is by the same road, just closer to Nuorgam. Only one deep uphill from the village.

Weather was clear and sunny but it was very windy and we could see some rain clouds at the horizon. The path wasn’t too long and circled quite close around the parking lot so we thought that rain wouldn’t trouble us much. Skaidijärvi is mostly above the treeline, only few mountain birches growing here and there. So the wind was really able to blow without any obstacles. We were happy about the colder weather since the rest of the Finland was suffering from the heat. Our dog enjoyed the cool wind after the hot days.

The circle path was totally 5,8 kilometers long and mostly really easy to walk.  At the shore of Tuulijärvi there was a hut and a fireplace, but in that wind it wouldn’t have been a really good idea to make a fire. So we spent a moment relaxing by the lake and then continued our walk. Couple of really curious reindeer followed our way, for at least one kilometer, before realizing we weren’t that interesting. Even our dog who likes to watch reindeer got bored since they kept following us so for long.

The path went to  a place where you were able to beautifully see the Teno river valley. On the other side of Teno there´s Finland and the other side is Norway. One part, where the path crossed the road, we almost lost the track because of some really confusing markings but we found the right way again after some search. Apparently the path was planned to start from another parking place and the markings were more clear if you had started there. About a hundred meters before our car the rain finally came and in that short amount of time that it took us to walk to the car we got completely wet. The wind brought the rain so horizontal that while standing on the other side of our caravan car you didn´t get wet at all. On that day we were the only ones there although every time we have drove past the place before there has been walkers and cars. So we chose the right day and had lot of peace and wind whistle.IMG_0457tuulijärvi12tuulijärvi13

Change of weather

New Year has started with a complete change in the view. Few days ago a winter storm went through Finland and brought snow. Well, lot of trees also fell down on the wires and left people without electricity.. But most of those damages were fixed quite fast.

During the last days of the year 2018 my family visited Helsinki and the Korkeasaari zoo. You can see from the pictures that there was only a thin layer of snow, plus degrees and mostly ice on the ground. Most of the animals were more active than in the summer time thought.

And below there is some pictures from the end of this week. Minus -22 degrees Celsius and sun. A lot more snow on the ground and a proper winter look. It was so much nicer to go for a walk to the forest with my son and dog when the weather is like that!

I hope this time the snow will stay for good as well as the minus degrees. But nowadayswe never now, let´s keep our fingers crossed!

My favorite travel photos 2018

Year 2018 is nearly over! It was a great year with many amazing trips around my country. I picked up some of my favorite photos from trips this year, some of them have already been on the blog, some of them are waiting for a story.

Lets start with snow,snow,snow! This freezing buss stop in Enontekiö is my own favorite. (you can find the whole story called Winter Holiday here)

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Bus stop,Hetta

The first photo below is from Sevettijärvi (story coming later), we spent few hot summer days there. Sun, beach and swimming! The photo on the right is from Kainuu area (story coming later), a nature conservation area which had a good excercise path with lots of fallen trees.

The next pair is from the same location but from a little different place from a different trip. First one is taken from Valtavaara towards Ruka ( You find this one from our story Valtavaara) and the second one is from the top of Ruka (you can read the whole text here). Both important trips for me, first one spending our wedding anniversary with my husband and the second one with my great friends whom I see only once a year.

This photo is from this October from lake Inari (story Autumn holiday part 1) Perfect silent morning, promise of the winter in the air. And the colours where amazing!

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The photo on the right below is from Tuulijärvi, Nuorgam. ( blog texts coming up). My son found a great seat by the lake. Next photo with our dog is from the same place but towards Tenoriver valley. And the third picture with this little lovely fellow doesn’t really need any explanation, so cute!

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The photo above is from a wetland area in Sodankylä called Viiankiaapa, that´s another story to be told soon, but this photo is about this beautiful creature. I was walking there on my own when a lot of these beauties were resting on the duckboards. I’m not too big fan of injects but I think dragonfly is so fragile and light with the beautiful colours, just amazing.

 

Then the last pics! First one is from Nattaset (Autumn holiday part 2), just one of my absolute favorite views in Finland. Our dog at Elimyssalo (whole text with the same name found here), loved the wild-like area. The sunset at Enontekiö on our winter holiday and a view from Inari, Otsamo (story with the same name). Winter and summer days at their best. Going through these photos again makes me just wait for a new trip next year even more!

Have a happy start to new year and let´s all make some new happy travelling memories in 2019! Hyvää Uutta Vuotta!

 

Merry holidays!

So the Christmas holidays are behind us! I hope everyone had great time! Our christmas went really traditionally; spent the Christmas eve in my parents place with all my family. Christmas Sauna, all the traditional foods and of course Santa visited us. I post here few of my photos from Christmas days.

Now my family will spend the last few days of the year at home relaxing and maybe enjoying the snow and sun that seems to try to climb up from the horizon. And of course my personal favorite entertainment will be the ski jumps Four hills tournament and cross-country skiing Tour de Ski. Enjoy the last days of the year 2018!!!

Christmas is all about family

What is your Christmas all about? Christmas tree, food, presents, Santa Claus, snow… All of those things are just the great extra, but really it is all about family. Spending time with your loved ones. We spend the Christmas eve with a big group, my parents, my sisters and brothers family and our´s. Decorating my parent´s Christmas tree, going to Christmas sauna, eating well and of course waiting for Santa Claus to come and bring the presents.  It´s all great but in the end, all I really need for Christmas is my husband and son. The family we created on our own, the one´s that has got the biggest space in my heart.

The pictures that I will add here have really nothing to do with Christmas, just with my family. The day was just a real family day, the kind of moment you can remember in Christmas day while sitting on your sofa with your loved ones and stomach full of Christmas food. We were coming down from north towards Rovaniemi last July and the day had been long and we had driven for quite a while. My son was just sitting in the back seat and I was feeling tired. We drove along smaller roads and my husband turned to this even smaller one to see a dam in river Kemijoki. We saw a little sign for a nature path few kilometres ahead and even I wasn´t very enthusiastic to go hiking at that moment, let alone my son. But my husband said that let´s just drove there and see what  it is like. So we did.  And when we stopped the car he got us also on board for a little walk. Place was called Juuvaara and it´s on the side of the town Kemijärvi. The path wasn´t long and we had to come back the same way but we ended up spending really lovely time there. Thr track took us up to this hill, first through a forest and then on the rocky field they call Rakka in Lapland.

Evening sun was shining but dark clouds made a great contrast on the other side of the hill and we could hear a distant thunder. Duck boards lead us through rakka. Weather was warm and there were no mosquitos at sight. The view to the river and surrounding hill tops was amazing. The path ended by a lean-to where it would have been possible to make a fire. We read from a quest book there that some people had also climbed to the top of the hill but there was no marked path or duck boards so we didn´t go further since we weren´t sure which way to go.

We all just sat on the benches and enjoyed the beautiful evening, not really even talking and none of us had any hurry to go anywhere.  One of those moments when you remember to be grateful to your family, those people that you can just sit with in silence and be happy. Nothing else needed.

I have one tradition in Christmas day that I haven’t really even noticed but I do every year. It´s spreading out the old photo albums and remembering the best moments with my family. And yes I still make a lot of photos on paper because when everything is just digital you never really watch the old photos. And it doesn’t even feel the same to me, to stare at your computer instead of a photo album. So a little challenge to you all, do the same and see the old photos! I bet it makes a smile to your face to remember those moments and it will get your christmas mood even higher. Still couple of nights to wait and then it will finally be here.. Christmas, joulu..

Christmas cookies

Finally snow! And it really looks like we are having a white Christmas! It was a close call this year, but at least we have 5 cm snow now and more coming. It´s not much yet but it changes the scenery completely and makes the Christmas preparations so much more fun. What a feeling to get the Christmas tree from the forest. And the light! It was so bright outside that I felt I needed my sunglasses.

Snow is one of most important Christmas mood bringers for me. As well as the smells of Christmas. Like when the Christmas tree os brought inside and warming up it begins to smell so lovely. And of course the spices, cinnamon, clove and ginger. And that brings me to one of our must-to-do things before Christmas. It is ofcourse the Christmas cookies. I think most of the countries which celebrate Christmas have some short of version of them but here´s our Finnish one. My sister also makes a little houses with a bit thicker dough.

Christmas cookies

250 g butter

1 1/2 dl dark syrup

2 dl sugar

2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoon ginger

2 tl clove

2 tl bitter orange peal

2 small eggs

8 dl wheat flour

2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon of salt

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Melt butter,syrup, sugar and spices together and let them boil a short while. Let the mixture cool down and then add the eggs.  Add the flour together with salt and soda. Roll the dough into a plastic wrap and keep in fridge over night. Next day roll the dough thin and make cookies with a mold.  Bake them in 200 degrees Celsius at the upper level of the oven.

Sometimes we bake cookies earlier in the autumn for the first time just to remember that Christmas will be here soon.. 48384963_2105564986423335_2565508751880617984_n

Here is one of the cookies houses made for this Christmas:

Our snow-loving dogs

I have written many times how much my family loves snow. But there´s someone in our family who loves it more than the rest of us. And that´s our furry friend. She get´s this extra energy whenever weather turns cold and snowflakes start to fall. Our old dog was exactly the same. And in the spring she always found the last snow spots where to fall down and roll over, which wasnt so nice since she was white and the last snow spots weren’t…

 

In my family we have always favored dogs that go well in Finland. And by that I mean they can handle our cold winter. So lot of fur! I couldn’t see myself dressing a dog with outdoor clothing before going for a walk.  I´m too lazy probably.. The more minus degrees, the more our girl likes to stay outside. She has really tick under layer in her winter coat and the more time she spends outside the more furry she gets.

 

Today we had a thin layer of snow again, hopefully that will stay until Christmas. Fingers crossed it will snow even more.. I know our dog wishes so, too!

 

Editors note: here is the reality of having a white dog who loves snow…and digging:

Luci ja Pikku

 

 

Independence day with my family

Sometimes family time is hard to find. Work, school, home stuff.. Short time of day light to spend outside. Days go by really fast especially around Christmas. We try to find at least some short breaks to spend just with our family. Last Thursday was a national holiday in Finland because it was the 101st independence day of our country. So we all went for a walk in a near by forest, I, my husband, our son and our dog. IMG_2106

The day was clear and sun was trying to peak through the clouds. Temperature was on minus degrees and the ground was covered with a thin layer of snow. We walked to the shore of a little lake which was already frozen with ice thick enough to carry us. I never go walking on a lake before there´s a lots and lots of ice. But at the shore it felt safe. We passed an old beavers nest which isn’t used anymore. It was silent and peaceful.

We jumped over a little stream which wasn’t frozen yet and walked to a wetland. I love frozen wetlands. They are like at sleep during winter, all the beautiful yellow and brown colours hidden under the white frost. And this little visit was even more lovely because we saw an golden eagle, twice. It´s just so magnificent bird, that you don’t come across every day. We live next to large areas without houses so we see the golden eagles every now and then and there´s also a couple nesting in a nature conservation area nearby. It is no doubt one of my favorite birds, the big silent wing movement makes its’ flying seem so effortless.

Our little walk ended little sooner than we had planned because boys will be boys. My son was fooling around at the part where water has frozen into an ice track, where the wetland was ending towards the stream and after a while he jumped to a part which wasn’t frozen and got his shoes wet. So we headed back to the car. But these little family moments are the ones that makes your everyday life seem more precious. I hope every one of you will have a lot of those moment during Christmas time!

Saana fell illumination

It´s been a year from our trip to Saana and  it´s Finland´s Independence day again! It was a once in a lifetime kind of trip and we got some great memories. Not just the illumination but the snow, frost and the northern lights, perfect Independence day! So I just have to post it gain. Hyvää Suomen itsenäisyyspäivää! Have a good Finland´s Independence day!So here we go again:

Hello! We just got back from a six day speed trip to the north, targeting the village of Kilpisjärvi, where on the honour of our country 100 birthday , they illuminated the fell Saana. It was one of the biggest art work like that in the world ( 2,5 million square meters ). The day time in the north is really limited this time of year and since I didn’t bring my camera stand and have not practised taking photos in the dark, I hope you can excuse me if my pictures aren’t that good. But I hope you can get the idea of the amazing colours that the north has this time of year, when it is cold and not so bright.

 

 

We drove our caravan car through Bothnia area towards north. We left in the afternoon when my kid got out from school, so most of our time we were driving in the dark. We stopped for the first night in Liminka which is a famous bird watching site in summer (blog text published earlier this year) . Now the sea was already frozen and quite chilly breeze didn’t tempt us to spend much time outside. In the morning we kept driving to the north and the more north we got, the more the amount of the snow increased.

 

 

We had to stop for a break by Tornio river because it was just so pretty outside. Frozen trees, only a little sun left for that day and snow of course. That combination makes everything so pretty in pastel shade.

 

 

We drove that day to village of Äkäslompolo by the Ylläs fell, where we could cross-country ski our first real kilometers this year. The temperature had fell down to minus twelve celcius when we got there. But it was so great to get on the skies again after a long break and weather was nice and slippery for skiing.

 

 

We spent the night in Äkäslompolo and in the morning, after a little playing time in snow with my son, we headed to Kilpisjärvi. The face of a kid is worth all the driving when he gets to ski, slide and run in the snow.

 

 

The road to Kilpisjärvi is narrow especially on the winter time so you have to drive really carefully. The truck traffic to Norwegian side is vivid as well as the tourist traffick so it is good to have enough time. But as long as the sun was up it was just so beautiful to drive through the snow, just like in a Christmas card scenery.

 

 

 

 

When we reached Kilpisjärvi it was nearly dark already and for a nice surprise they had already lighten the Saana lights even thought it was meant to start the next day. They were test running it for the whole night and turned the lights off in the next morning. Kilpisjärvi is really small village with around 130 inhabitants. The amount of turists expected to come to see the light show were quite many times over the population.

 

 

I have been to Lapland in kaamos time ( the time that sun doesnt rise above the horizon) but never this much north. You hear stories about how dark it is all the time but I really don’t think that’s true. Where we live in the south it is darker because the snow comes and goes, it is grey and foggy all time and it rains. In the north the snow reflects the light and when the sky is clear it is brighter than we have at home. Also this time it was a full moon so even in the evening you could walk in the forest without a flashlight.

 

 

When temperature reached -15 it felt really cold at first since we haven’t got the chance in the south to get used to those numbers yet. But pretty soon we got use to the cold. Next day there was more and more people arriving. We visited the nature center and walked around the village. Since we had already enjoyed the lights all night and that morning, we left the Saana when it got darker again and when most of the tourist for that day had arrived. We could admire the lights for a long way back from the car window since the fell can be seen well from a distance.

 

 

 

 

It was around four o’clock when we headed back so we still had the time to drive to the village of Hetta, the center of Enontekiö. We have visited there many times on past winters and we wanted to go skiing there. It was about -18 degrees celcius when we got our skies ready but we didn’t mind since we have no idea when we will have enough snow for skiing back home. Now the skies were not sliding so easily anymore since the colder weather takes a lot away from the slide. But it was perfect skiing trip for my taste. No one else on the track, full moon and northern lights.

 

 

During the night we also got to enjoy the northern lights, it was hard to finally go to sleep when the beautiful colours where dancing in the sky. But after spending a lot of time watching the sky in -18 degrees celsius you are a bit more eager to go back in. This was the first real test for our caravan car in the winter. But it stayed warm really nice and engine started well in the morning.

 

 

Next day we had to head back to south again but we decides to drive throuh Levi and Rovaniemi instead of the shortest road which we used on way north. The temperature got even colder in Muonio with -22 before warming up again. In Rovaniemi it was already as warm as -13. Trust me, when you get used to – 20,  minus ten doesn’t feel like anything anymore.

 

 

On the Muonio-Levi road we stopped to take some pictures at a sight that shows a beautiful view to Pallas fells but otherwise we drove quite directly to Rovaniemi.

 

 

And to the Santa Claus village that was already in a Christmas costume. There were really many tourist busses in Rovaniemi, almost all of them from abroad. Many people want to come to meet Santa on their winter holiday. We couldn’t either leave the place without some Christmas gifts to take home with us…

 

 

We spent the last night south from Ranua and next day we drove through Finland to south. That was kind of nice way to spent our 100th independence day, watching hundreds of kilometres of our country from the window.