Tag Archives: Travelling in Finland

You want to go snowboarding?

by Heikki Salo, degree student in Media

Skating park ramps with tags and paintings covered by snow in pink evening light.

Iso-Vilunen skating park is waiting for next spring – so head for other outdoor hobbies!

So you’re in Finland and  it is winter! You might want to try skiing or snowboarding? Skiing is fun – but of course snowboarding is much cooler. Those can be fun trips with good people – skiing few hours, drinking tea, grilling in those small grilling shelters (what ever they are called, some places have those).

But like in everything, at first you don’t know how to do it. If you don’t have money to book a teacher, I would recommend to ask some friend (who has long nerves) to teach you because it’s going to be hard. Here are some practical things to know.

Where?

Probably the closest ski center for many of you is in Hervanta. The problem is that there’s not so many tracks and it can feel boring after few hours. For others Mustavuori can be the closest one but there happens to be the same problem. And also Mustavuori’s hill is steeper so it’s not so friendly for a beginner.

For beginner’s quick day trip I would recommend Ellivuori, it’s just 40 minutes away from Tampere and most of the tracks are more gently sloping so it’s friendlier for beginners. And there are also few more tracks there so it doesn’t get so boring after few hours.

If you want more action and you are willing to sit longer in a car, you could go to Sappee or Himos. They both have longer tracks, suitable for many skill levels so you could basically go with a bigger group with beginners and more advanced skiers and snowboarders. It takes an hour to go to Sappee and 1,5 hours to Himos.

Ski centers in southern Finland open normally in the end of December or in January. In Lapland they are open for skiers earlier and they offer longer tracks and more beautiful views. But  because of a long distance you should take more time like a week for that trip.

Popular ski centers in Lapland:

  • Levi
  • Pyhä
  • Ruka
  • Salla
  • Saariselkä
  • Vuokatti
  • Ylläs

Equipment

You could buy a snowboard or skis (and straps and boots) but you probably go there only once or twice so I would recommend you to rent them. Every ski center offers rental skis/snowboards and boots (and helmets!). You should still get appropriate clothing as you’re going to get wet and cold during the day. If you want to, you could also try to find goggles to protect your eyes. Not necessary at first day because hopefully you’re not going too fast but those are good shield for your eyes when you get some speed.

Ice plates form of triangle gathered together.

What about the prices: not so freezing cold!

Prices?!

Here’s Ellivuori’s price list – http://www.ellivuori.fi/ski/en/page.tmpl?sivu_id=85

And Himos’ price list http://www.himos.fi/en/prices

Ellivuori has an offer for much cheaper weekday evenings. That comes with a cost that there’s no sunlight. It’s fun but I would recommend that your first time would be in daylight.

If you haven’t done anything physical in past few years, 3 hours could be enough but if you don’t look every euro you spend, a full day ticket gives some freedom. When you don’t have that time limit, you have all the time to go eat or drink that tea. That’s good especially in Himos, as it is so huge place where some people might want to just wander around.

Next day

Don’t plan to do anything physical the next day. Your abs and bum is going to hurt after the first day. If not, you probably didn’t even try.

Don’t even try to do any fancy tricks at the first time, you’re just going to break yourself.

When I felt it

by Otto Kouvonen, degree student in Media black and white lakeshore scenery

 

Sound of lighter. Crackling of fire.

Warm feeling in the middle of night.

I can hear swans yelling,

like lonely trumpets on a lake.

 

Fog is rising from the water.

It surrounds us till we can’t see nothing,black and white lakeshore scenery

but ourselves and the campfire.

 

Hiss.

Steam from the stones.

Sweatdrops.

Is the whole world burning?

 

At 4 am it happened.black and white lakeshore scenery

We saw the light coming back.

Red shine from the horizon.

Swans greeted the sun like an old friend

Thats when I felt it.

 

This is my home.

Right to roam

by Lauri Kohtala, degree student in Environmental Engineering

A rocky forest scenery: a lean-to in the background, a bit smoke lifting in the air.

Let’s enjoy life in forests!

Exploring the forests is fun. Just very near here in Tampere. You don’t have to travel to Lapland! Take your backpack, camera, binoculars, map and even sleeping bag. Go out to see wild animals, birds, scenery or pick some blueberries. The legistlation allows you to move in the forests freely (excl. motorized vechiles), pick up mushrooms and wild berries.

In spring time you can find a lot of horny birds singing in the forest. In summer you can pick up  blueberries and wild strawberries and in autumn lingonberries and mushrooms – for exemple chanterelles. Some of the forests have lean-to shelters and fireplaces, where you can spend the night. You can also take a tent and a portable cooker and spend your night anywhere in the forest when you remember that making an open fire is forbidden.

If you wish to find lean-to shelters or fire places for open fire you can visit recreational area websites. In most of the private owned forests there are no places for open fire or shelters for sleeping. Recreational area associations (Virkistysalueyhdistys) have usually maps of the areas where they have fire places and shelters on their websites. It’s nice to make one day trip with your friends also and just go and barbecue some sausages or corn.

Links:
Everyman’s rights (Right to Roam):
http://www.ymparisto.fi/en-US/Nature There is a link to .pdf in the right side of the site.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_to_roam#Finland

Recreational area association websites:
Pirkanmaan virkistysalueyhdistys – http://www.pirkanmaanvirkistysalueyhdistys.fi/index.asp (In Finnish)
Hämeen virkistysalueyhdistys – http://www.pirkanmaanvirkistysalueyhdistys.fi/index.asp (in Finnish)

Pori Jazz – The cornerstone of summer festivals in Finland

by Teemu Heinonen, degree student in Environmental Engineering

A small Pori Jazz bandstand

Music under the summer sky.

Pori Jazz is an international music festival, which is held every year in July in Pori. The festival was started in 1966 and was mainly featuring jazz music. As the years went by other music genres got sucked into it and now it is a meeting place for all kinds of musical people.

The festival takes place in two main areas, Kirjurinluoto-arena and the “Jazz”-street. Kirjurinluoto has all the main artists and bands, thus getting to see them costs, a lot. There are three stages in Kirjurinluoto, two large ones and one small. The two bigger ones feature most famous artists and bands from all kinds of music genres but the smaller one is mainly featuring jazz.

Entering the “Jazz”- street is totally free for everyone. It is near Kirjurinluoto and has all kinds of food stalls and drinking places. Also few Pori jazz merchandise stores are around. There is also a small stage where smaller bands that play jazz music can perform everyday of the festival and it is completely free for everyone to go and listen to them. So grab a few friends with you and take a bus or a train to Pori. And while you’re in there you should go and visit Yyteri, the best beach in whole Finland.

See what the program looks like this year: http://porijazz.fi/en/

A big bandstand in the background, audience enjoying music.

“So I find myself again here among the jazz audience!”

 

 

 

Beauties of Lapland

by Sasu Kirvesmäki, degree student in Environmental Engineering

People walking in a queue a fell in the background

Hiking is fun together!

I bet you have already seen lots of beautiful places in Finland: its many lakes, forrests and fields. Maybe some old architecture in our old cities. But you haven’t seen all of the beauty before you visit Lapland!

A streaming brook in Lapland

Refreshment for hikers.

In the summer you can experience nature of the tundra. There are many national parks with marked hiking routes. Along the routes you will find fells, beatiful marshes full of cloud berries, reindeer running freely in the tundra, wonderful lakes, raging rapids and breathtaking views. Everyone is free to wonder in the national parks. Just remember to respect the nature and follow the rules of the specific park. In the autumn the nature blooms in red, orange and yellow. This season is called ’ruska’ in Finnish and it’s especially beatiful in Lapland.

Sunset at a small Lappish lake.

It is time to rest in the evening.

Winters in Lapland are usually cold and snowy. In winter time you can enjoy the ski resorts of the fells. If you want to experience the nature of tundra in winter you can for example go to a snowmobile safari. During winter you might also see northern lights lighting up the skies of Lapland. Winter in Lapland is long and dark. There is a time called ’kaamos’ when the sun doesn’t rise at all in Lapland. But any way there is bright snow there!

If you haven’t been in Lapland yet I highly recommend you to go. It doesn’t matter when you go there, there is always something to do and see!

A bus etiquette in Finland

A drawing with simple signs how to sit in a bus In Finland.

This is the way in Finland…you understand?

by Tero Lahtinen, degree student in Environmental Engineering

In Finland going to a bus is not some messy bazaar where people do whatever they want to. It is a very delicate and sophisticated situation where you have to know what to do. Otherwise you might ruin the day and maybe the whole month of some innocent person.

Two smiling girls sitting in a bus, at a window

Quite fun in a bus anyway! Picture: Heidi Mattila.

In the picture above you can see one person example of non-written areas around this person: a hazardous-, a semi-hazardous-, a danger- and a safe zone. In the hazardous zone awkward level is approximately 75 but if you start to talk to the person awkward level will increase to 100/100 (there is no existing data of entering awkward level 100). So the hazardous zone is a no go zone! In the semi-hazardous (awkward level 50) zone the person in the bus most likely will avoid you in the future thinking ‘’ that’s the person who sat near to me even there was plenty of space in the bus!’’ In danger zone (level 25) you have a fifty-fifty chance that person will not remember you in the future and you will be able to make contacts with him/her (in some other place than a bus!).

Lowering of the hazard-, semi-hazard- and danger zone will occur in case if the bus is so full that you don’t have any other option but to sit in some of these areas (stand to play it for sure). Lowering of the awkward level is always -25 units of awkward level.

 

Cottage weekend

Nusret Ílhan, exchange student

Signpost in a snowy forestIf you came to Finland as an exchange student, cottage weekend is the thing that you definitely should experience. Two days without electricity, running water, mobile phones like in the middle age.

Young man with an axe on his shoulder on a snnowy ground, an old house in the background

Here I come – some firewood is needed!

It didn’t think that cottage weekend was going to be that hard and that funny. When we arrived our cottage, weather was chilly. I think ıt was because of location of the cottage, it was in the middle of the forest and there was a lake nearby. After we settled, organizers told us our responsibilities and divided us into groups. I took place in Fire and chopping group. Our cottage was so cold to live so we needed to fire up the fire places, ovens and of course sauna. We chopped some wood and funny part began…

I need to say that, sauna in Finland especially in cottage is totally different from your home county. We had to make a fire in the oven to warm up the sauna. And I can say that even smell of the sauna gets you in the middle age mood. I suppose jumping into lake after sauna, is like a tradition in Finland. It was crazy but surprisingly hilarious.

Moreover, I learned that, if you stay a few hours near to bonfire you smell like barbeque. But bonfire part was worth that. We grilled some sausages and told stories. It was really warm environment and I had a lot of good friend.

people around a fire roasting sausages

Sausages!

When you don’t have your phone with you, you have to speak with the others and if the others are in the same situation, you discover how fun to know new people. We talked for hours and played card games and performed a roleplaying game. I never thought that I wouldn’t get bored of card games and talking till that time.

Finally bed time has come but we had a big problem. It wasn’t warm enough to sleep yet. Nevertheless, I slept like a baby with a bunch of clothes.

Undone salmon fillet fastened on a plank board

Salmon!

İn the morning organizers woke us up at 7 am. I had to get out of my warm bed and went to hiking at -10˚C. Everybody was sleepy at first but weather did its work. After 20 minutes we were walking like hell to get warm. Forest in Finland is another beauty. Winter shows you how lovely it could be.

In the end when farewell time has come, everybody was sad about it but also we knew that we had the best weekend ever. Cottage was totally different experience for me. I had a great time and I will do it again when I get the chance.

cottage.group.ed.

 

 

Minun hiihtoloma Iittalassa – My Winter Holiday in Iittala

by Jungsoo Moon, degree student in Media

A painting: in the centre Iittala red and white coat of arms, on the left side sitting a glass blower.

Iittala is located near Hämeenlinna and it is famous for glass production.

Minä menin Iittalaan hiihtoloman aikana. Koska minun ystäväni Markun tyttöystävä kutsui minut ja Markun hänen vanhempiensa luokse.

Tthree pieces of unique glass ware

A work of art may cost quite much!

Hänen vanhempansa olivat todella ystävällisiä, joten minulla oli hieno loma siellä.  Kuvat kertovat enemmän siitä, mitä spesiaalia Iittalassa on.

A glass factory inside, in the background Iittala's i-brand.

Can you find a famous Finnish brand?

Kiitos, Markku Laskujärvi ja Krista Erkkilä, että autatte minua kirjoittamaan oikein suomea!

A red wooden building in winter landscape: the official Father Christmas chocolate factory and chocolate shop.

The official Father Christmas chocolate factory and chocolate shop.

Welcome to Lapland – Tervetuloa Lappiin

Road with reindeers in Lapland in winter time

by Tobias Schengber, exhange student in Environmental Engineering

Lapland is stretched across Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia, situated at most northern part of Europe around the Arctic Circle and the home of the Sami people. With its largest city Rovaniemi, the residence of Santa Claus, the Finnish part of Lapland (“Lappi”) is definitely a “must see” when travelling to Finland or staying there for an exchange year. Driving through Lapland shows a different world, which is hard to put into words.

Endless and slippery roads, lack of gas stations, reindeers on the streets surrounded by darkness and snow are challenges you have to struggle against. The only sign of civilisation is the slight discoloration of the sky due to the lights of some houses or street lights. You can hardly imagine of living there, as there are only few houses every 100 km and the bus that has to drive large distances goes approximately four times a day. The difficult living conditions in Lapland make it a very less inhabited place and many Finns just have a summer cottage in there, while they are living in bigger cities in the south of Finland the rest of the year.

A ridethought Lapland is definitely an adventure, especially by car and I would highly recommend for people that like nature, Northern lights (“revontulet”) and quite places.

Aurelia borealis above Tampere

Northern lights above Pinnish Lapland in March 2013