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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
After a very intensive season at the paddling centre it is great to get somewhere where it is really quiet. The northern part of Lake Inari was just that.
This picture is from our second night at the Suolistaipale Open Hut. The picture is a long exposure with a 10-stop ND-filter.
A blue moment just before the dark. This was a great camping place at Kyynelvuono, one of the fjorfs on the northside of Lake Inari.
The most beautiful sunset of the trip was close the to the Pisteri Open Hut, where we stayed for one night.
A sunset at Lake Nitsijärvi, our last camp!
On the last two nghts we were also able to see some Northern Lights. This was a great place to camp. There was a small pond just by the lake and we pitched our tents in between.
A group picture with Henna, my father and me.
We are travelling in Europe with Henna now, so the next post will be from our trip here. We are currently in Montenegro and have been to Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina earlier.
On the last week of September we did a trip to Lake Inari. It is he fourth biggest Lake in Finland and it is truly a wilderness area. Our trip started at a lake called Nitsijärvi, which is connected to Inarijärvi, Lake Inari. We did a a round trip and finished at the same place.
I was paddling a double kayak with Henna and my father had a single kayak on the trip. There is a lot of space in the Boreal Design Esperanto, but still it was a struggle to fit all the stuff inside the kayak. You need a lot of clothing this time of the year! And a lot of food too!
We stayed in tents for 3 nights and in open huts for the other three nights. This picture is from Suolistaipele Open Hut. There is fire wood in the huts and they are well taken care of. This time of the year it is nice to dry the tents at some point during the trip.
During the 7 days on the trip it was raining a lot. I think it was raining at some point every day. The good thing is, that it can be really beautiful eventhough it is raining!
And it wasn’t raining all the time. The longest day was only about 30 kilometres of kayaking. Of course the days are also pretty short at the moment, so that limits the time to kayak. The point of the trip wasn’t about collecting kilometres. It is just nice to be able to take it easy sometimes.
Despite the unstable weather it was a great trip. Really relaxing and so quiet. I will post some more pictures from the trip next week!