Ahoy, dear travelpeeps!
Winter is finally striking his last dying breath… the dark wintermonths are rapidly coming to an end and for us that means: Highest travel time for Finland vacation.
As a long-standing and big Fan of Scandinavia and Fennoscandia it was anyway highest time to make a visit to this fantastic country.
Usually Scandinavia is an ideal destination during summer or wintertime.
Of course with own advantages & disadvantages.
But We decided to make our trip to Finland during the cold month of January.
Winter? Finland vacation!
The good things about winter season is, of course wintersports, but also a very special peaceful and dreamy atmosphere, which I found like that nowhere else so far.
Scandinavians are in general (to be a bit stereotypish) very chilled and unbelievably kind.
Common said thing are going here very peacefully and chilled and of course this is amazing for everyone who seeks peace for soul.
And because on top, I was very interested in to get to know the home place of the Bird,all the good points and reasons came together and on the spot there were finally trip for our Finland vacation: „Five days finland“ for us 🙂
Those who did get to know already this fantastic spot might know what I mean when I talk about a unique beauty and pure elegance.
Indeed there are many parallels to our Iceland trip, regarding landscape and culture, but also endless specific things and characteristics, which are making every country unique.
And uniques there are many in Finland!
Starting with an unbelievably tasty and rich kitchen over endless gorgeous woods and sea landscapes into very gentle, kind and peaceful people.
But enough with all that introducing stuff, let’s call facts.In the morning hours of Friday, the 15th of January we flew with Air Berlin from Tegel in less than two easy hours directly to Helsinki, the capital of Finland.
We planned our Finland vacation so that we stay the first three days in Kankaanpää (a small and nice little town in the southwest of Finland) where especially I would have the chance to get deeper in touch with the Finnish way of living and to get to know more intensively the culture. For the next three days we wanted to discover Helsinki.
And I should not get disappointed!
After a quite expensive train journey of about 100 EUR for two persons (public transport is in Finland pretty expensive compared to the already even not so cheap Germany for example) from Helsinki to Tampere, which is the third biggest city in Finland we went on by car to our final destination Kankaanpää.
Let’s say the high price for those train tickets might be even justified due to the fact, that the trains are pretty comfortable and – Ladies and Gentlemen – there is free Wi-Fi during the whole trip! Something we can still just dream about in our high industry Germany…
In short: A pleasant, nice train ride and after approximately 1,5 hours going by car we finally arrived in Kankaanpää.
The winter, let me tell you this was really Jack Frost.
Temperature at around minus 20… well – it’s winter time in The North, so what to expect?
That is what is Winter Finland vacation is all about…
But what was really surprising for me, is the fact that nearly all streets in Finland are not really cleaned from snow at all.
As known in Germany that the streets are usually pretty immediately cleaned, it is quite different in Finland.
Instead there are three different categories of streets.
- Category 1, which are streets that are usually used by public transports as well as all highways and other life important roads are cleaned quite close in time, even though it might be a different standard of cleaning than for example in Germany, but hey – that’s ok.
- Category 2 are then all kind of normal roads, which are cleaned earliest after a certain amount of time and
- Category 3 is then the sad rest, which are cleaned on in case if needed, which is in real nearly never the case, as our Uber driver told us.
Understandably many Finnish citizens are not really happy about this fact, but a change obviously will not happen in the near future.
Also interesting, that spikes on the tires are in Finland often quite standard and there was usually a surprise when I told that in Germany there are maximum snow chains allowed and this only in mountain regions.
But this should be enough talking about road conditions – let’s get back to Kankaanpää.
Lets talk more about the cuisine.
We were very hungry and had a wide range of different meals to taste.
Reindeer braised in the oven, fresh smoked salmon, self made cake, Borsh, Caviar – nothing was missed!
Additionally there were Blinis, Quark bags, pancakes and so much more.
And yes from all of that so much, that a whole Ice hockey team would have got full.
As rounding off there was delicious ice cold finnish beer called Karhu.
A party for the palate. So it came that with a late hour and a completely filled belly combined with the fact that we were travelling quite a way that day, we became pretty tired and so we decided or lets say we were forced to start our journeys into the realms of dreams…
After a deep and relaxing slumber and a hearty breakfast, which offered again everything you could ask for to start a frosty fresh day in Winter Finland the proper way, we decided to explore the town. Here the short form for you, corresponded with picture of this amazing landscape:
The town itself has about 11 thousand citizens and was founded in the year 1856.What is flashy for the First time Finland visitor?
Wintersports is a BIG thing there!
Tracks for hobby ski drivers are even illuminated during the night and are also used intensively.
Even the tiniest school kids are walking around with their hockey sticks and get in touch with wintersports right from the start.
It was a pleasure for me to see this, because it has something traditional and retaining to live a life not only existing of computers and smartphones, but as well in touch with nature and fresh air.
To be honest, my tries of getting on the skis were pretty miserable.
As an apology I might say that I never stood on skis my whole life so far.
Probably I would have done better, if I would have got in touch in my younger years.
But nevertheless it was a joy to see the Bird nearly running up the hills on her skis so elegantly.
Sometimes its also OK to be just a viewer 😉
So we spent our first full day in Kankaanpää with a mix of discovering, souvenir shopping and Wintersports.
During the winter months the days in the North are very short.
Therefore we didn’t really had so much time left for bigger sightseeing, at around 4pm its already dark and daylight yields to a magical and pleasant cozy atmosphere, in which the Finns are seeking the cozy Well of their homes and spending time together with family and friends.
Aaaaand – eating time :)And of course we had again all of it!Fish, meat, hearty side dishes, salads, biscuits – oh could you just try now a bit of what I was allowed to have there!
Everyone who spent some time during a harsh winter in the North, knows about the hungry frost and that the cold is eating and burning calories like crazy!
So thats why you can eat that much with a nice peace of mind and not really caring about 😉
So – and how do you finish a typical Finnish beautiful sunny day in the fresh air?
Exactly – with a visit into a true Finnish Sauna!
What’s typical for Finland? Sauna!
In Finland you will find a Sauna in nearly every house as standard, so therefore we didnt even have to leave the house.
Instead we could directly enjoy this exquisite home Sauna with a nice aroma of tans and birches.
Also here it has been shown that Finnish people understand a lot of Life quality, because sauna has its very own charm and is not comparable with the ones that you might know from fitness studios for example.
Freshly soaked birch brushwood, which you gently hit on your back for vitalizing is a great thing as well as the special aromatic infusions or the cooling down with ice cold water from the own well in the garden!
And yes, usually you also drink a nice ice cold beer during your steamy sauna stay.
Not needed to mention, that the call for sleep was pretty loud after this revitalizing feast for the senses, the gormandising and the exciting day schedule we had.
Our second day in Kankaanpää was again fully dedicated to exploring.
A trip to the Devils Tower
golden bright shining sunlight, crystal clear light blue sky, whitest winter snow, pure and bright.So we head on route 44 southwards and passing all those dreamy and snowy little villages and landscapes, frozen lakes with ice fishermen and my thoughts glided into far times and places and delighted on these peaceful and endless widths.
In between we made a break at a small but very impressive waterfall which turned to ice, the so called Uhrilähde.
A small photo session of this spectacle nearby this lake was completing this little stop.
Twenty minutes later we finally arrived at the devils tower, our destination for today.But what is it anyway? Its a simple observation tower, nearly 20 meters high, which gives you a breathtaking view over the endless widths of the woods of West Finland.
But please see for yourself…
What was really special during our stay in Winter Finland was a complete unique perception of time.
Or better said timelessness. Everybody might have an understanding of a short day with only few hours of sun, but this very own magic that came from only few sun hours, but therefore even more intense, which only this Northern Sun is creating is hard to describe.
Well it might be reasoned because we were on vacation, where you have a different time feeling in general, but anyway it was different here and special.
The days seemed more like gliding instead of following a concrete rhythm.
As I said, hard to describe, but somehow it felt like this very clear.
In any case we didn’t have so much time at all due to the lack of sunny hours in total, but it was not even necessary, because here the motto was: Quality beats quantity.
And our impressions from today were more than enough and intensively for one day.
So we could go the way back home satisfied and full of wonderful new impressions.
And with this the first part of our Finland vacation trip ends here already.
Two and a half wonderful days with countless new impressions, a lot of heartiness, human warmth, frosty winter coldness, shining bright light and deep black nights – the North is full of contrasts!
Our trip continued the next day, on Monday the 18th of January with the bus directly from Kankaanpää via Tampere to Helsinki, where we finally arrived at around 6 in the evening and started our stay in Helsinki with an airbnb disaster…
But more on that and other interesting stories later in the second part of our Finland vacation – Winter-Post „Helsinki: Tip of all tips“.
Kippis, moi moi and kiitos!
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Thank you sincerely, Birdie & Hendrik.