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!
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!