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Summer Holiday (Kesäloma) ’05

 

Just a few holiday pics here... lots of trees and a few of us.

 

Hello, we’re in Porvoo one of Finland’s oldest towns. Only a 45 minute drive from Helsinki, it’s full of old buildings, antique shops and tourists. Pics: 1 2 3 map

 

Next up, Kotka where we camped for our first night then to Hamina (another really old town) and up into Eastern Finland along the Russian border stopping only briefly for coffee and some famous Finnish pulla (buns) at a very nice wooden restaurant with some lovely bears. We also stumbled upon a little known sculpture garden owned, it is said by a prolific nut-case who has spent years creating these freaky statues. Apparently the ‘theme’ changes every year… I think this year it was Dante’s Inferno on Acid. Look: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7. No, we didn’t meet the artist… I think he uses REAL teeth!

 

Then to Lappeenranta, a popular place for holidaying Finns. You can get on a boat here to Viipuri (Russia) if you have ze correct papers. On to Imatra Famous for it’s white water ‘shows’. Every day the local electricity company opens it’s dam throwing god-knows how much water onto a dry, rocky river bed to the sounds of Sibelius… With a light show!! wow. The rapids flow alongside the pretty spectacular Art Nouveau ‘State Hotel’. map

 

For the next few days we stayed in and around Punkaharju, a huge lakeland area and National Park. Pics: 1 2 3 4 5 map

The best part of the ‘Lake District’ is called Koli. Here you get the best views of lots of water and lots and lots of trees in Finland. Pics: 1 2 3 4 5 6. There are also thousands of beaches in this area. Great for camping! We also went to Savonlinna, narrowly escaping the annual opera festival. And to the Retretti, a huge art gallery and artists’ community with great exhibitions and a big Bat-cave full of light sculptures, crazy good!!!

 

On to Joensuu, a town with a very decent campsite and lots to see and do... So we went to the Fantastic Four movie L Bad move. map

 

Finaly we made a whistle-stop tour of Nurmes, Kuopio and Tampere before heading back to civilisation. (No pics, although Tampere was very nice indeed).

 

After a few days we decided to escape the mind-numbing boredom of the World athletics Championships by taking a day trip to Tallinn which is super easy from Helsinki and is a popular ‘booze run’ for the capital’s drunks. Pics: 1 2 3. I’d like to see more of Estonia some day, however I’m told that it would be folly to step outside of the tourist bubble as I’d be mugged immediately and fed to the wolves… The Finns view their Estonian cousins as being a bit ‘maverick’ to say the least.

 

Last month (September) we visited a couple of places around Helsinki. Artist Pekka Halonen’s house and gardens and the home of Jean and Aino Sibelius.

 

Hope you all enjoy the photos and keep sending your emails.

 

Lots of love from

 

Martin & Minna