The spring is finally turning into summer. I was in Vallisaari just a few weeks ago, but now it looked really different; much more green! This time, instead of taking the ferry boat, we kayaked to the island.
As we got to our starting place the sun was shining. Pretty quickly it started to rain. And after a few minutes the sun was shining again! The best thing was, that it was warm anyway.
The kayaking route from Stansvik to Vallisaari is nice and sheltered. There is a lot of nature around, but in the background you have the city of Helsinki. I like the combination.
At Vallisaari we went fatbiking with our friends from Bliss Adventure. Fatbikes are a great way to see the island and you also get to visit the forbidden southern tip of the island. This is only possible on the guided fatbike and walking tours.
The scenery towards the open sea is spectacular. Too bad we didn’t have so much time to relax.
The fatbiking routes are easy to ride. Technically it is not demanding, but it is a great way to explore this beautiful island. The guides have a lot of knowledge and information about the island.
After the tour and ice cream at Paja kiosk we headed back to our kayaks. A great day to be outside and do something active! Thanks again to Bliss Adventure for the tour. We are planning a tour combining kayaking and fatbiking, but for now, you can just take the ferry and do the fatbike tour.
The kayaking season has now started. I’ve been kayaking a few times and my leg feels pretty good already. It doesn’t hurt, but it is still really stiff. Last weekend, we had our first guided overnight trip of the season and the weather was great. I wasn’t guiding the group, but I paddled to the island they were camping at in the evening.
It was a bit windy during the day, but by the time I got on the water, it was already calm and really peaceful.
This time of the year there are birds everywhere. It’s nice to see all the different species. I am not an expert, but I try to learn a few new bird species every year.
I got to Pihlajaluoto where the group was staying just as the sun was going down. Not a bad evening to enjoy the Helsinki archipelago.
The calm sea, the clouds and the evening sun shine. A perfect combination to just sit on the rocks and relax. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay the night on the island, because I had a course to guide early next morning.
I got back to the paddling center just as the sun was setting. A short, but very enjoyable evening paddle. I certainly try to get out for short trips more often this summer. Now it is really cold again. Let’s just hope it gets a bit warmer really soon!
I had a chance to visit Vallisaari before the real season kicks in there. The island opened to public last spring and already during the first summer there were about 90 000 visitors. It used to be a military island and big parts of the island remained untouched. This means the flora and fauna of the island is something special. There are about 1000 different species of butterflies on the island and a lot of plants you don’t find anywhere else in Southern Finland.
It is just a short boat trip from the market square and regular traffic to the island has already started for the season. It was a calm and sunny day and the boat trip was very enjoyable. It has been really cool for the last month, but now it actually felt warm.
We didn’t have a lot of time on the island, so we almost straight headed to Aleksanterinpatteri. This used to be a fortification for the military because it rises high above the archipelago. This is the view south to the open sea.
The view towards Helsinki is also nice. There are no leaves on the trees yet, so it is going to look different in just a couple of weeks. Hopefully I can find time to visit the island again.
It’s hard to believe there is a place like this so close to the city centre of Helsinki. Just a few minutes by boat. There are three ponds on the island.
If you don’t have a lot of time in Helsinki and still want to experience the Finnish nature, going to Vallisaari is an easy option. It really feels like paradise on the island! Next time, though, I think I will kayak to the island. This makes the trip even more special.
I took some photos of the reflections on the water at Kiikunlähde. It was a beautiful place and I really like how the photos turned out. Not much to explain about them. Let me know what you think about the photos!
Reflections at Kiikunlähde 1
Reflections at Kiikunlähde 2
Reflections at Kiikunlähde 3
Reflections at Kiikunlähde 4
Reflections at Kiikunlähde 5
We don’t have our own cottage as most of the Finns do, but Henna’s parents live about 3 hours from Helsinki. The place is close to all the services, but coming from Helsinki it still feels like coming to countryside.
And it is only a 30 minutes drive to Isojärvi National Park. We went there on Friday with some friends. We only walked to the closest fireplace. It was our babygirl’s first trip to a national park! The path was still icy and it took time to walk the few hundred meters with the strollers.
We made a fire to grill some sausages and marshmallows. It was a good time, but still pretty cold. Especially the gusts of cold wind made everyone feel cold since we were not moving a lot.
The weather has been changing really quickly. In a couple of minutes sunshine turns into snow fall. It still feels to me, that spring is coming.
The next day we went for a a walk and the weather was exactly the same. It was snowing and sunny at the same time.
During the day, the ice is melting quickly, but it has still been really cold during the nights, well below zero, so it might take some time before the lakes are free from ice.
I have been busy the last month. Our baby daughter was born 3 weeks ago. So not a lot of time to think about writing or taking pictures. I had big plans to write some posts about previous trips, but taking care of a small baby is pretty time consuming. 🙂
The great thing is that we can finnalt get out together. My calf is also much better already and I got rid of the crutches. Walking is still slow, but it is getting better. The only problem is that our girl doesn’t like stopping, so taking pictures is a small challenge.
Yesterday evening we headed out for a walk with the whole family. This made it easier for me to take pictures along the way!
It was really windy outside, but the wind was warm. It really feels like spring is coming!
There is still a bit of ice left, but with the strong winds and warm weather it won’t take long until the sea is completely open.
My plan is to try how my leg feels about kayaking within the next few weeks. By then I think most of the ice will be gone!
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.
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.
Henna modeling for another long exposure shot. It wasn’t a long walk, but it took some time with me taking pictures.
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. 🙂
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.
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!