On the coast of the Adriatic sea: Split, Croatia

Going through my photos from our Balkan Road Trip, I realised how many places I haven’t written anything about in the blog. I decided to start with some pictures from the city of Split. Not really anything outdoors, but I like some of the shots.

We just spent one day in Split, but we had some time to visit the old town and walk along the coast.

Coast of Split, Croatia

A long exposure with a 10-stop Neutral Density Filter. This was our walk to the old town from our apartment. It was really nice and warm.

KENKO REAL PRO ND1000 62MM

Henna modeling for another long exposure shot. It wasn’t a long walk, but it took some time with me taking pictures.

The cathedral of St. Domnius

As we got to the old town, there were a lot of people. We talked about it later with the owner of our apartment and she said that now it’s low season. But in the summer it is totally packed and as a local you just want to stay away if possible. So not the best destination for a person used to all the space in Finland. 🙂

The cathedral of St. Domnius

It was still nice to visit the place. The weather was still good, but it was getting cloudy and cooler. We had lunch at a local restaurant and started our way back to the apartment.

The cathedral of St. Domnius

On the way back we walked past this building. It’s propably not the architectural highlight of Split, but for some reason it really appealed to me. Would be great to have a beer with the architect, who designed this. And just ask why?

I still have more pictures from the trip, so I’ll try to post them soon!

Kiikunlähde – a natural spring in Hollola

After seeing a few pictures of this place, we decided it was worth a visit! Kiikunlähde is one of the biggest natural springs in Finland. It is only about an hour’s drive from Helsinki, close to the city of Lahti.

Snow falling from a tree

We found the parking lot and from there it was only a few hundred meters to the place. It was sunny, but a bit windy. Waiting for Henna to change, I took some pictures of snow falling from the trees.

Kiikunlähde in Hollola from the road

After walking for just a few minutes the spring was on the right hand side. So even with my crutches it was easy to get here. But getting all the way down to the water was really steep and icy.

Kiikunlähde in Hollola, Finland

I tried walking down first, but pretty quickly realized that the safest way was to slide down. Once I got down I knew it certainly was worth it! It was just an amazing place.

Kiikunlähde natural spring

The color of the water was beautiful. The turquoise color is something you normally see somewhere in the Mediterranean, but not in Finland. There are 14 spots in the pool where the water comes up from the ground. And it’s a lot of water, approximately 7000 cubic meters per day. It is part of the biggest ground water deposits in Southern Finland.

Winter day at Kiikunläde in Hollola, Finland

When the water comes out of the ground it is about 5 degrees Celsius. So even in the winter the whole pool doesn’t freeze. The pool is about 400 metres long and 100 meters wide.

Reflections at Kiikunlähde natural spring

I also read that there are a lot of trout living in the pool. However we couldn’t see any of them now. Some people swim here in the summer, but I wouldn’t recommend it since some of the nearby houses take the drinking water straight from the pool. Parts of the shores are also private land. So only go down to the pool on places, where there is no fence or signs.

Turquoise water at Kiikunlähde natural spring

It was really beautiful here in the winter, but I think we need to try to visit the place in the summer too. Here is a link to the parking lot and the place, if you want to visit it.

I was happy to get out again. Let’s see if I can find more places like this to visit until my leg is better!

 

 

Day trip from Helsinki – Porkkala peninsula

I have been stuck home for weeks now. I went to play basketball for the first time in years and after 20 minutes of playing I tore my calf muscle. So I’ve been on crutches ever since. I thought I would have to go through my old pictures and write something here. But for some reason I haven’t found the time.
Today we decided to get out of the house. I did some research trying to find a place close to Helsinki where you could get in the nature without walking much. We found Porkkala peninsula west from Helsinki.

Porkkala and the open sea

It was raining in the morning, but the forecast promised that the weather would clear up by 2 pm. The picture is taken towards south so you can see the sun is shining somewhere in the distance. This place was pretty close to the road, but there were still a few places where I had to crawl to get there. It was really windy and it didn’t feel like winter as the sea was completely open.

View from birdwatch tower Porkkala

After taking some pictures we went back to the car and decided to try to find a birdwatch tower I had read about. It was on the way back at Lähteelä, a recreational area owned by the city of Helsinki. It wasn’t again too easy to get there and climb all the way to the top. But it was certainly worth the effort.

Sunshine in Porkkala, Finland.

As you can see, the sun was finally there! Just a few hours late. Eventhough we were high, it wasn’t windy. It even felt as the sun was warming us. Looking at this picture it was really worth the effort to get to this place!

Rönnskär lighthouse south of Porkkala peninsula

From the birdwatch tower you could see the Rönnskär lighthouse. Maybe that is a place to visit on a kayak trip next summer. I am starting to look forward to the summer. Especially since I can’t do much at the moment.

Ilkka with crutches in Porkkala

Here’s a picture of me with my crutches. Looking at the picture you couldn’t guess it is February in Finland. Well the forecast is much colder by the end of next week. So maybe winter isn’t completely over.

It felt really good to be outside again. I think we need to find a few other places in the nature, which are easy to reach.

A dream kayaking destination – Croatia

It’s about time to write something new in this blog. I still have a lot of pictures and stories from our Balkan roadtrip. I’ll just skip a few places and get to the kayaking part.

Kayaking around Rab Island

We took a ferry to the Island of Rab on the coast of Croatia. There we met Yogi, who runs Sea Kayak Croatia. We stayed at his house, where his mother has a few rooms and went to visit the Old Town of Rab in the evening. The Old Town was beautiful and we had a very nice meal in one of the only restaurants open at the time. The tourist season is really over in October!

Kayaking on the Adriatic Sea

The next morning Yogi set us up with all the equipment and kayaks and we packed out things in the spacy Prijon kayaks. First we paddled past the Old Town, but quickly moved forward to the more remote parts of the island.

On a break

The weather was perfect, warm and sunny. Nice to be paddling only in a t-shirt and shorts. We stopped to have something small to eat and then continued further along the coast.

Clear water on the Adriatic Sea

The color of the water was wonderful and very clear. You could see small fish swimming around and sea orchids on the rocks. We took our time exploring the coast and all the small bays. It was a great day on the water.

Setting up camp for the night

Sometime in the afternoon we found this small little beach, where we decided to camp. We weren’t sure, if it was exactly the place Yogi had recommended to us. It was a good place anyways.

Sunset on the Island of Rab

We pitched our tent and cooked some dinner just as the sun was setting. The sky was still clear and the sea very calm. There were still a lot of small fishing boats on the water. Obviously it was good weather for fishing too.

Hilleberg Allak under the stars

There was a small area with a rock wall around it. Our Hilleberg Allak tent was a perfect fit and it would have been a good place even in windy conditions.

Camping under the stars

The evening was nice and warm. It was great to see all the stars and the milky way. The best thing is being outdoors on moments like these. Especially in good company.

Cloudy skyes on a kayak trip

The next morning the weather had changed. As we got out of the tent, it looked it was going to rain soon. It never did, but we still packed our things quickly and got back on the water. It was also a bit cooler, so I am glad we brought our jackets too.

Storm approaching

As we paddled further it still wasn’t raining, but it looked like there was a storm coming. We decided to finish the day early and called Yogi to pick us up. The rain and the storm actually went past the island, but you don’t want to take any risks, if you are kayaking in an area for the first time.

It was a great kayak trip and next time we need to reserve more time to go on a longer tour. If you are into kayaking, I recommend visiting this place and getting in touch with Yogi.

 

The city of Kotor in Montenegro

After spending time around the mountains, it was time to get to the sea shore. We chose to stay a couple of nights in Kotor on the Mediterranean Sea. We arrived in the evening and found the apartment we had reserved. The price was incredibly cheap and the place was great. We payed about 25 € per night for two persons at Apartments Residence Portofino.

The old town of Kotor

The apartment was a few kilometres away from the city center and the only inconvenient thing was walking in the dark on the really narrow road with cars driving past you really fast. It was a beautiful evening and the lights on the medieval fortification walls looked great in the dark.

The bay of Kotor and the moon

It was almost full moon and the the bay of Kotor was completely calm. So it took us a long time to walk back to the apartment. Luckily Henna is always really patient waiting for me to stop and take pictures everywhere.

Sunrise in Kotor, Montenegro

The next morning we woke up to a wonderful sunrise. The picture is taken just outside our apartment on a small dock. While I was there taking photos, an older gentleman approached me from a nearby house. We started talking and it turned out this man had been working in Finland for years as a sea captain. He still remembered how punctual and well-run everything in Finland was. The only thing he didn’t appreciate so much was the weather. 🙂 He was now retired and was living here in Kotor. It was nice to talk to the man and hear what he tought about Finland and many other things.

The City Walls of Kotor, Montenegro

We spent the day walking around the city and in the old town. This is the fortification wall on the sea level.

The bay of Kotor, Montenegro

For a small fee you could walk along the fortification walls. It was pretty steep walking up, but the views were great. Of course at some point we managed to find another path going down, which no one else was using. It wasn’t in good condition, but we managed to get down and to the other side of the old town in one piece. The clouds started to get darker and just as we were back down it started raining. We escaped inside a restaurant to have something to eat and the rain stopped soon after that.

Kotor was a really nice place to visit for a couple of days. Although it rained a bit, we were still lucky with the weather. Propably in the summer it is packed with tourists, so it is not so peaceful.

 

 

On the road from Zabljak to Kotor

After a few days in Zabljak we continued our trip. Our next destination was Kotor on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. We decided to drive along the Tara River Canyon.

Huge trees along the Tara River Canyon

We drove past the place where we started our rafting trip. The first place where we stopped was this forest just by the road. These were one of the biggest pine trees I have ever seen!

Beautiful forest in Montenegro

The light was beautiful in the forest. I am really glad we stopped and found the place! We could have stayed much longer to take pictures.

Biogradsko Lake in Montenegro

Our next stop was Biogradska Gora National Park. It was just 15 minutes up the road to this beautiful lake. We really liked the autumn colors here.

Biogradska Gora National Park in Montenegro

The lake was calm and with all the leaves it looked magical. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to do any of the hikes, because we still had a long drive ahead. Maybe we will be able to come back to this place at some point.

On the coast of the Mediterranean Sea

On the way we stopped at a monastery and drove through Podgorica. We reached the coast of the Mediterranean Sea at Budva. It was a warm and beautiful day. Too bad we had to sit in the car for most of the day!

The coast of Montenegro

The coast was stunning and it really felt like it was summer. We drove to the city of Kotor and stayed there for a couple of days. I’ll write more about that in the next post.

Whitewater rafting on the Tara River

We enjoyed doing small hikes in the Durmitor National Park, but we wanted to get on the water as well. Although we had our own whitewater kayaks in our van, we decided to book a rafting trip. We didn’t know the river and where unsure of the level of difficulty. So Aljoša helped us to book a tour with a local company. We were picked up from the house and drove for about an hour to the Tara River Gorge. We joined a group of Israelis on the river.

Sunshine in the Tara River Gorge

The weather forecast was a bit unstable for the day, but as we got to the starting place it was sunny!

Autumn on the Tara River

The river level was pretty low, but the autumn colors on the river were beautiful.

Whitewater rafting on the Tara River

The rapids were class II-III. I had a chance to take some pictures with my waterproof camera.

Rafting on the Tara River

It was very nice and relaxing floating on the mellow parts of the river. We were glad that we decided to book the trip.

The Tara River Canyon

After the trip we had a nice lunch at the rafting center and on the way back we stopped at the bridge crossing the canyon.

The Tara River

I heard there is a 70 kilometer section of the river you can kayak. There are places for camping on the way. I think that would be a great whitewater trip at some point. So I think we need to get back to this place at some point!