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Have time, will travel

July 14, 2017

Hey! It has been awhile! I have had visitors from Canada, and in between visitors we squeezed in a trip to Iceland, so I have been enjoying some holidays. The weather in Finland this summer has been less than ideal – but of course the weather is getting better (and warmer), just because I have to go back to work. Oh well.

As a family we decided that when we are in Finland, we will always try and visit places that we have never been to before. This time around we actually a few visited places we had been to before and threw in a few new destinations that we hadn’t been to before.

We decided to keep my dad’s visit low-key because he needed a break. I had a good laugh when I talked to him on the phone before he came when he asked, “So have you got anything for us to do when I come?” I kinda assumed he meant work-type stuff (because we do have things to do around the yard and house :D), but he meant fun stuff! Yes, we did. And because the Little Miss was done school, she was also with us too.

We visited the Tytyri Mine in Lohja (new for me) and my dad really enjoyed that, seeing how he has had a long career in mining. One thing my dad made clear was that he wanted to see a Finnish baseball game, aka pesäpallo. Fortunately one of my teammates from ringette is also a pesäpallo player, so she was able to give us some hints. The closest Finnish national league team is in Hyvinkää, so we piled into the car (with another Canadian visitor) and braved the rain to watch Hyvinkää Tahko battle it out against Koskenkorva. It was fun to watch, but so many questions about strategy!!! If you want to know more, here is a good review of Finnish baseball in English. Thanks to some fortunate timing, we also got to see part of the Helsinki Air Show on June 9.

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My dad was pretty happy to just relax – in fact he really enjoyed going out walking with our dog; so we spent the good part of his (albeit, short) visit just hanging out at home.

After that it was Iceland, which was absolutely fantastic. Since it is not really related to life in Finland, I won’t go into the details here. I’ll just share this – the land is so awe-inspiring and changes all the time. The greatest part of that trip was seeing the iceberg lagoon at Jokusarlon and the mud pots at Hverir.

Jokusarlon

Hverir

Midsummer was pretty relaxing, we sailed with our friends and enjoyed it even though the weather was crummy and cold. We lucked out though, and had some great sailing weather on the way back to the home harbour.

And then all of a sudden, my mom was here! We checked out Heureka and got to see Animal Body Worlds, which was totally awesome! The Little Miss brought a friend, so she had a good time too.

We stopped in at Haikaranpesä in Espoo and I was really surprised to find out that it is actually closed in July. It is such a unique tourist destination in Espoo, I thought for sure it would be open in the summer. What I didn’t realize immediately is that a large part of the clientele is actually business-based, and since most of Finland is basically shut down in July, it doesn’t make sense to keep it open. It seems that there is some discussion about whether Haikaranpesä will remain open in July to cater to tourists next year… Watch this space.

Canada Day on July 1 was pretty special, as we got to spend part of it aboard the research vessel Aranada, which was a part of the 150th anniversary celebrations. It was a cool experience for my mom, and great for me to be back on board! (Read about it in a previous entry here.)

My mother had Turku on the brain, so we actually ended up there for an afternoon and spent the time checking out Turku Castle. The weather was cold and downright inclement, but it sure brought a lot of visitors to the castle! One bit of history that didn’t stick with me the last time I was there was the fact that the castle was bombed during WWII and a huge restoration project was carried out in the 1960s. A large part of what we see today in part because of that restoration effort. Across from the castle is a really great little cafe called Linnan Talli. I highly recommend it – great sandwiches and great “munkki” (basically a sugar doughnut)!

A few days later we were off to eastern Finland and on a mission to head to Lusto (translation: tree ring), the Finnish Forest Museum near Punkaharju. One could spend many hours at Lusto as it is stuffed with history. Our next destination was Koli. My mom remarked at our pictures from a few years back on how much Koli looks like the shores of Georgian Bay and the North Channel in Lake Huron in Northern Ontario. So this was a must! We had time to take a hike and did the 3,5 km nature trail that took us down to Mäkränaho and then back up to Ukko Koli. The ski lift is also in operation in the summer and for EUR 9, you can get a round-trip ticket that takes you down the hill. Hop off, run around to the other side of the lift shack and head back up. It’s neat to see the forest from that perspective – and it was surprisingly quiet! If you are afraid of heights, then this little bitty is not for you.

Back in 2012 I visited the Valamo Monastery with my dad, stepmom and sisters. Since it is not too far to drive from the Mr.’s parents’ place, we decided to head down to take a peek. Valamo has lots to see and do (workshops, retreats, concerts, good food), so it’s always worth a visit. See more on the Valamo home pages here.

The same day we also headed to the Alahovi Winery. Whenever we visit the Mr.’s parents we always grab a couple of bottles of wine, so they know our faces when we show up (or call ahead in the off-season). They also produce beer and cider. It’s nice to support local products! (I’ll have to write more about that in another entry.)

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One place that was kept completely off the agenda for my parents this time around was Helsinki. I was talking about this the other day with one of my colleagues from work – why go to Helsinki when we have everything we need here in Espoo? My parents have seen Helsinki before, so there was no need to rehash the experience this time – in my opinion anyways.

Holidays are about relaxing as well, so we didn’t run all over the place this time. There are places I’d like to get to in Finland and I still have time, so let’s see what the rest of the summer brings!

When you travel, do you go back to the same places again?

What’s on your Finland agenda for the summer?

Inquiring minds want to know! 🙂

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Stuart Hamer permalink
    July 14, 2017 8:02 pm

    Kaustinen! A real music festival.

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