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The recent tourist

June 18, 2015

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A couple weeks ago my mom and my aunt came to Finland to visit. Being my aunt’s first-ever trip to Finland, she had two requests: to see Santa Claus and see some fells. I had to come up with something and I did! 🙂 (At least I was told I delivered.)

Since the Little Miss was still in school the first week they were here, we decided to stick around home and I thought it was good to let them recover from jetlag too! My mom has been to Haltia before, but not my aunt. I haven’t been there since last year, but it was really great to see the new National Parks interactive touch-screen displays complete with information about the parks and fantastic pictures to go with them. There was also a great exhibit on outdoor recreation too. This time around I bought myself an annual membership, which means the next time I got there I can just walk in with my card. Haltia was a candidate for European Museum of the Year and while they didn’t win, they did receive an award for sustainability.

We visited Porvoo, which is one of the best places in Finland to visit in the summer time. I love all the shops in the tiny old town section, especially the antique shops! We had great weather that day and we just missed the rain as it rolled in in the afternoon.

We also made a visit to (the soon to be national park – apparently) Porkkalanniemi in Kirkkonummi. This place is a perpetual favourite of ours, so it was nice to get back there again. We roasted sausages and did a little hike around the area – and I learned something new – there are snakes there. So be on the lookout!

A visit to Helsinki is not complete without a visit to Suomenlinna. We spent the entire afternoon there and enjoyed the sunny weather. Other than doing a short trip on a street car, visiting Kauppatori near the harbour and ducking inside the Lutheran Cathedral, we didn’t see much of Helsinki.

I saved the best part of their trip for the second week. We managed to stay with relatives on the way up and on the way back down, so that made things a little easier and less expensive!

It’s been a long time since I have visited Rovaniemi and it was great to be back. So, in order to fulfill my aunt’s wish of seeing Santa Claus I booked our stay at Santa Claus Holiday Village, a conglomerate of brand new cabins right at the Arctic Circle. While the paved yards were not really my cup of tea, the cabin we had was fantastic and since we visited there in the “off-season” it was much cheaper. The other great things about this place was that they accepted pets. (Since getting a dog just over a month ago, this now plays into almost every travelling decision we make.)

Unfortunately the weather was not on our side when we were up north. It rained, but that didn’t dampen our enthusiasm to go and visit Santa Claus, which we did. You’re not allowed to take pictures when visiting him, instead you can buy pictures that are taken by a professional. We got to visit Santa for a few minutes and it was even streamed live on the internet! We got the whole photo-video package, since it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. 🙂

It would have been nice to spend more time in Rovaniemi because Arktikum, the museum, is a favourite of mine. Well, I guess it means we have to go back sooner, rather than later!

From Rovaniemi we headed to Pyhä-Luosto National Park. My aunt’s next request was to see some fells, and that was the closest one on our driving route. Again the weather stymied our efforts at getting outdoors, so we enjoyed our cabin and spent time poring over the map of Finland to see where we had been and where we were headed. The next day cleared up nicely, so we did head up to Pyhätunturi to take a look around.

After that we had a long drive ahead of us and made our way down highway E5 south. We made a couple of stops – at Ruka for a quick lunch, but we were driven back into the car by the rain. We were roaring down the highway when we blew by the totally cool (my friend says scary) Silent People exhibit in the middle of nowhere just north of Suomussalmi. Their clothes had just been changed on the day we arrived. We turned around and went back!

From there we headed to Vehmersalmi via Kajaani and Iisalmi. This the first time I had ever driven the E5 and I do want to go back. Suomussalmi looked like a really nice place! Our trip north was a whirlwind, but it was worth it. There is so much to see and do in Finland… Uh yes, and there were reindeer on the roads!

My mom and my aunt made it back to Canada safely and they had a good time. It’s hard to believe they were here just two weeks ago – time flies!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. anonymous permalink
    June 20, 2015 2:46 pm

    What’s with the dead dog?

    • June 22, 2015 7:53 am

      Ha ha! Our new addition at home – travelling was a bit exhausting for him. 🙂

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