Jag ska åka på semester i Finland, Norge och Sverige i juni
I'll be flying to Helsinki mid-month and I have three weeks. My plan is to drive up to Nordkapp via Kemi right around the solstice, to travel down the Norwegian coast to Mo i Rana, to head over to Umeå and then down to Stockholm, and finally ferrying back to Helsinki via Åland.
Is there anything along that route that is awesome to see? So far, the things on my list are:
- Swimming at Norkapp, weather permitting
- Taking the boat to Treriksröset
- Seeing the maelstrom at Saltstraumen
- Visiting Vasamuseet in Stockholm
I like interesting natural phenomena, beautiful scenery, vikings, and engineering feats. I would like to see things unique to area I can't see elsewhere. I've lived in similar climates before, so that is not new to me.
I'll probably also take the ferry over to Tallinn, on foot, for a day, once back in Helsinki.
I need to step up my Duolingoing, and get some paid tutoring, too!
What kind of route are you planning to take from Helsinki to Kemi? If you drive along the coast line you will have more opportunities to use Swedish. I suggest you visit Rauma (Raumo in Swedish). It is an old and very pretty place. If you drive through the lake district in eastern Finland, you will not be able to use Swedish, but the scenery is beautiful. If you take the eastern route, you could visit Koli National Park. The view from the hill Koli is considered a national landscape and has inspired many artists. Though whether it will impress someone used to Canadian landscapes is open to debate. Have a nice trip. :)
Would you suggest I go though Lappeenranta, Joensuu, and onward? I can perhaps take a detour up to Rauma after ferrying back to Turku.
Each landscape has its own beauty. I have travelled extensively through Canada, I haven't been north of the 60'th parallel, but I've seen about 90% of what's south of that. I've seen some spectacular places, but also ten thousand kilometers of boring, repetitive road.
Porvoo, Borgå in Swedish, has a lot of similarities with Rauma and it is situated just a little bit east of Helsinki. The oldest part of the city/town is beautiful and there is some good chocolate available by Brunberg. (Are you allowed to eat chocolate?) Porvoo also has many Swedish-speaking inhabitants, so with good luck you get to show off your language skills.
Lappeenranta, Willmanstrand in Swedish, is a great place to get aboard a ship and take a cruise in Lake Saimaa, the largest lake in Finland. If you are lucky you might even see a saimaannorppa: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saimaa_ringed_seal
You should also consider stopping at Imatra. There is a large rapids called Imatrankoski there, and near it, the Imatra State Hotel, a Jugend castle from 1903, one of the handsomest buildings in Finland.
Savonlinna, Nyslott, is also a possibility. The Olavinlinna castle was built in 1475 and hosts one of the most prestigious opera festivals in Europe every summer.
I should warn you about the architecture. There was a great building boom after the midpoint of 20th century, during which many old buildings in eastern Finland were, I am sorry to say, demolished and replaced by concrete blocks. Of all the cities/towns in eastern Finland the one to have best retained some aspects of its original character is Kuopio. It is filled with small streets called rännikatu (lit. 'a gutter street'), which are still here and there lined by old buildings. Here is some music from the Kuopio district: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZmPMcji77s
I hope you intend to invest in a good old-fashioned paper map. The biggest roads are not always the best roads - there is no point of going to a foreign country, if all you see is large rocks that have been blown in half to make the road. This is why I think trusting a navigator alone is not necessarily the best thing to do. For instance, the trip from Imatra to Savonlinna is much more enjoyable if you take a smaller road. I realise you probably do not have time for this sort of thing, though.
I think it is important to understand that Finland is an in-between place, the meeting point of east and west. This is the biggest difference between Swedish and Finnish culture. Finland has been part of both Sweden and Russia, which is why it is important you also get to know the eastern aspects of our culture, as well. You should visit the Uspenski Cathedral in Helsinki or even Valamo, a quiet and modest monastery in Heinävesi. Or you could visit a tsasouna, a small Karelian-style prayer house. Eastern Finland is littered with them.
Since I mentioned Helsinki, you should visit Akateeminen kirjakauppa (Akademiska bokhandel), the largest bookstore in the Nordic countries. In their Fennica section, you can find Finnish books in English and other languages. I recommend The year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna.
I did not mean to make such a lengthy comment. Things just got out of hand. I hope you find at least some of this useful. :)
I found it very useful! I doubt I'll be able to see all those places, but I had no idea where to even start with eastern Finland :)
I will definitely be getting a paper map. I have a map of basically every back road in Canada (it's a large book), and it's very useful when going off the beaten path.
Are there any roads in particular that you consider scenic in eastern Finland?
First of all, my apologies, Mr. BorkBorkBork. I just took another look at my comment and realised that I should have re-read the comment before posting it, not after. That mess is recognisable English at its best.
As for the scenic routes, I am not sure I can help you there. But since you are clearly more than competent when it comes to maps, I doubt this will be a problem. In fact, by the time you have moved on to other places, you will probably never want to see another lake again.
You seem like an outdoors-kind-of-guy. If you are looking for beautiful landscapes, here is a nice website for you: http://www.outdoors.fi/en/destinations
If you ever need any help with Finland-related things, I will be more than happy to help (to the best of my abilities). :)
When I read the post it was totally understandable. If you made errors, none stuck out. :)
I'm not a map expert, but being off-gps doesn't scare me. I'll have my phone with Google Maps, but I won't have reception everywhere. I'm okay with that.
I'm not super outdoorsy, but I live in a big city and really don't like it. I'd rather live in a place where I couldn't see a single artificial light of civilization. Part of the reason for this trip is to see if the countries have areas like that, where I may wish to move. Canada does, but I'd like to explore my options. Canada has places with as many lakes as Finland. Lakes are pretty. Certainly more interesting than endless prairie. That outdoors site looks useful. I'll have to peruse it when I get home after work!
I have been online looking for all kinds of Canada-related things ever since you posted about your intended trip. Hopefully one day I will be able to visit your beautiful country.
By the way, there are at least 2 million lakes in Canada; I checked. Finland has 187,888 lakes. That's right - we just had to count them all. This probably tells us something about Finns. I am just not sure what... :)
I bet half a million of those Lakes in Canada have no name. I would say half of the landmass is basically uninhabited by humans.
If you want to come for scenery, there are two places I would recommend. The first is Cape Breton Island. Take the Cabot Trail with a side trip to Meat Cove. I would go in July or August, when the weather is mostly likely to be good. It's damp, foggy place most of the time.
The second is the drive through the Icefields Parkway, between Lake Louise and Jasper in the Rocky Mountains. I would go in May or September as it's overrun by tourists in the months in between. There is still tons of snow in May, and the mountains are their barest in September. If you want to Ski, February is probably the best month (though the conditions are bad this year). The town of Banff is overrated -- Jasper is better -- but you really want to spend your time in the mountains or at hot springs. My favourite hot springs are Radium Hot Springs a little farther south. In summer you can also take the Kananaskis Trail in south western Alberta, also spectacular. The Frank Slide is also impressive to see, where a mountain fell down on the town of Frank, burying it under bus size boulders.
The north shore of the Gaspésie all the way to Gaspé is pretty and quiet. Go in summer, and be prepared to speak French.
The drive along the north shore of Lake Superior is pretty, and you can loop back through the US if you're basing your trip out of Toronto.
Skip Manitoba and Saskatchewan. They're incredibly boring! I would fly across them.
You can still see prairie in Alberta, but you've got the mountains, too, and the world's largest dinosaur museum in Drumheller.
If you're into minerals, visit the Bancroft area of Ontario. There's an annual rockhound jamboree in the July, but you can dig all kinds of things up yourself. I've collected crystals.
If you like it hot, visit the Okanagan region of BC in the summer. Temperatures are regularly in the high 30's before taking humidity into account, especially near Kamloops where 40°C is common. Lots of lakes to cool off in, too.
If you only have a week or two, and like the outdoors, I would suggest flying to Calgary, spending time in the Rockies, and then the Okanagan region. The drive up to Jasper will take your breath away.
If there's a will, there's a way. Living expenses are little cheaper here than in Finland. The thing that befuddles Europeans the most is the distances between places. Canada is the same size as Europe (including the Russian bit). Driving east to west is 6000 km. That's father than Lisbon to Murmansk. It's more like Liverpool to Astana or Tehran.
It's basically impossible to "see Canada" in a short period of time, so you're better off sticking to a region or two. My trip to Finland and northern Scandinavia is roughly equivalent to seeing the Rockies from Jasper south to the US border, and the Okanagan region (the area between Kamloops and Osoyoos if you're looking on a map), and the bit in between. By the way, those regions tend to have a lot of summer work, dealing with tourists in the mountains, or working at orchards in the Okanagan, so a working vacation is a possibility there if that interests you. It's not glamorous and doesn't pay great, but it's something to look into. The tourist areas especially value speakers of foreign languages.
Hmm... It would have to be in the summer, and next summer is unfortunately out of the question. But the summer next year... I have now decided - I will go to Canada! Gaspésie sounds great. All right, all those places sound great, but I am going to start working on my French just in case.
There's no end of stuff if you have enough time. Little places are pretty much everywhere. Not all of them necessarily well-known. Would be easy to drive right past them. Good news is that there's always another coming up. You could probably just ask for tips wherever you happened to stop at night, in order to keep it simple. But here's what I got:
North and west of Haparanda there's a place on the Kalix river called Jockfall. Waterfall, nice restaurant.
If when you're heading back toward Stockholm you don't mind going inland, there are things like Anders Zorn's museum (and Zorn's "Gammalgården") in Mora, which is close to Orsa where you can see that Sweden does, too, have a couple of polar bears.
Hälsingland has a place called Växbo that's a nice visit. Old mills on one side of the road, older ones on the other. Can take a two hours. Near Rättvik there's a place called Styggforsen. If you hunt for pictures they'll probably emphasize the waterfall but the falls might be the least of it. A forest preserve in an area hit by a massive meteor that was a major owee to life on earth once, apparently caused one of the world's major mass extinctions. Thick sheets of bedrock strata standing vertically everywhere. Guy working in the fika stuga there said he'd been all over the world and seen all kinds of great stuff but he personally considered Styggforsen to be pretty much the most beautiful place he's ever seen. Really at best it might be only ten or fifteen percent more beautiful than what you'll be seeing all over the place anyhow. It's definitely very nice but I suspect the guy was himself from Rättvik and may have been just a little biased. Rättvik does have a decent sommarrodel.
Falun has stuff like Falu Mine, a World Heritage Site. East from there is the artist Carl Larsson's place in Sundborn. Interesting house, nice gardens. 15 minutes west of Falun is Ornässtugan. You can look right down into the actual very same latrine into which Gustav Vasa jumped in order to evade Danish soldiers and eventually establish a country. It's also close to the area where Ornäsbjörkar were discovered. Gamla Uppsala might be interesting, likely it's on your way to Stockholm. Also close to Stockholm is Birka, which I just this week discovered was at one time called "Björk ö", which actually makes more sense. Viking village, archeological stuff, "living history", boats, museum, restaurant The ferry to Birka leaves Stockholm from within about a stone's throw of City Hall, where they hold the Nobel banquets.
That's about all I got so good luck. Statoil's korvar med potatismos are good and so's pretty much everything in IKEA's cafeterias.
Wow. So many awesome ideas! Växbo sounds interesting. Styggforsen looks wonderful! I've only seen on meteor strike area before, Sudbury. I had no idea about Styggforsen and it's definitely on my itinerary now! I have toured two mines, but never an open-pit mine, so Falu Mine is also now on my places to visit. Ornässtugan would be neat if I have time. Gamla Uppsala is a definite possibility as I will be spending time in not-far-away Enköping (I have a friend there). Birka/Björk ö is now on my list, too!
Digging out the Great Pit at Falu Gruva wasn't the original intention. They had a massive cave-in one midsommer day. Which was the only day other than Christmas that no one worked. So no fatalities. Whether you tour the mine or not you should check out Fet Mats. I just now found a decent text/audio bit about it on Sveriges Radio but can't paste in a working link. If you're interested try searching "Fet-Mats fastnade i gruvan - Kulturnytt | Sveriges Radio"
Åh, det ska vara mycket kul! Ha en bra resa! :D
När kommer du tillbaka, du kunde säga oss hur var det! :)
Furthermore, I might suggest using "ska" in this case. Ska is better for situations where what you're talking about is 100% going to happen. Kommer att is for less certain cases, or prognosis. Or at least that's what we discussed in my Swedish class this week!
Must-eat foods: Swedish waffles, Swedish pancakes, princesstårta, kanelbullar.
Besides the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, I also enjoyed the Swedish History Museum. The nordiska museum was less interesting for me since I knew so much about culture, but if you don't, that could be a good place to learn more.
Du har rätt... Till mitt (medgivet rätt bräckliga) försvar kan jag bara säga att jag försökte hålla mig till den ursprungliga meningskonstruktionen så gott det gick. Om man har bokat biljetten är det "ska" som gäller. Som du märker är gränser mellan "ska" och "kommer att" ganska porös, även för infödda svenskar.
You're going to love Finland, then. Granted, they're not exactly world-renowned for their amazing gastronomy (although it was kind of fun that they won the pizza world championships with a dried reindeer pizza named Berlusconi after Berlusconi publically insulted Finnish food), but they may be the best country in the world when it comes to gluten and lactose awareness.
The gluten thing will severely limit your options of traditional Swedish food, I'm afraid. I know, I have coeliac disease myself. One fika suggestion might be mandelbiskvi, an almond sweet with creamy filling. Also, take caution regarding two things: 1) Swedish meatballs mostly contain wheat, but a lot of people don't realise - even some working in the food industry; and 2) I don't know about Canada, but oats in Sweden are not considered gluten free unless they're specifically marked "ren havre" ("pure oats"), as they're allowed to contain a pretty hefty amount of cross-contamination from other grains. That means you may be offered our semi-national sweet of chokladbollar as a gluten-free choice: this is well-meant, but more than likely wrong.
Finally, the unicorn is the national animal of Scotland. It has no relevance to the subject, but I learned of it today and it's hilarious.
Unicorns are real! They're just fat, grey, and we call them rhinoceros.
I avoid oats all together. It's safer. The EU and Canada have the same limit of 20 mg/kg limit on gluten for a product to be called gluten-free. I also have trouble with soy, so I do best if I avoid processed foods.
Mandelbiskvi sound interesting. I've had macaroons before, but I'm willing to try just about any food if I can eat it! Even lutfisk, though it's probably the wrong time of year for that. I hope I can have some renskav though!
Not eating gluten does limit options and leave out some good stuff, but indeed at least in Finland they tend to be quite gluten-aware.
And as far as the best things in Finnish (and Nordic in general) cuisine go, you should be concentrating on fish, game, reindeer, berries, mushrooms, dairy products...
Going by east route has better scenery, west coast would probably give you better opportunities to speak Swedish :)
The distances in the north come as a bit of a surprise to people from the continental Europe too, a Dutch friend of mine commented that when he was in northern Sweden only then he realized that it is actually possible (and even easy) to get lost in the wilderness, in Netherlands it is apparently quite impossible to walk a kilometer without crossing paths with other people...but Canada is of course again a whole different thing :)
I'm really looking forward to reindeer. Maybe they give me super powers. I haven't eaten many varieties of mushrooms before, so I look forward to that as well. I would like to see living reindeer in person, too, if that's possible (but not jumping in front of the car).
It sounds like the easterly route up Finland is the better way to go. The road trip is more about the drive and seeing things than speaking Swedish. But getting to use Swedish will be awesome :)
I remember talking to a friend in Berlin about taking a 10,000 km road trip in two weeks one December to see family and friends. It sounded insane to her. To me, it was just driving to the west coast and back. I have never experienced the midnight sun before, so I do wonder how that will affect my sense of direction. I did get lost in an unfamiliar city once, in the days before everyone had a cell phone. Thankfully it was a clear night and I reoriented myself using Ursa Major. But that's not going to be an option for me this time of year in Lapland!
Oh yes, reindeer (and mushrooms and fresh water fish) have some elevated levels of radioactive cesium (though not all of it is from Chernobyl, quite a lot is still left from theglobal fallout of nuclear bomb testing in late 50s and early 60s). Apparently not enough for superpowers or a lot of people are hiding them really well :)
But if you manage to get to a body gamma counting after your trip, it will become obvious you have been traveling :)
I wonder if it would actually be noticeable. The human body has about 5 kBq of activity just from naturally occurring K-40. I'd have to eat a lot of reindeer meat and mushrooms to have a noticeable increase in that.
I'll have to bring my Geiger counter along and check any wild mushrooms I come across. That will be fun!
I don't know of any places where I could get a full body counting.
I have done a bit of radioecology professionally and done some whole body monitoring too, and yeah, Cs shows if the diet favours it: I don't eat much fish and last time had myself checked hadn't eaten that much reindeer or mushrooms either, so my Cs levels were negligible, while some others who had eaten more of those had still a very clear Cs gamma peak (meanwhile K-40 tells how much one exercises, because it correlates to muscle mass...)
But yeah, the the levels are going down and probably just visiting doesn't affect that much, you'd have to stay for a longer period and have those noteworthy foodstuff as an important and regular part of the diet.
Interesting! I wish I had access to a whole body counting machine. The closest I've come is the personal exit monitor at a reactor.
Finding something that isn't NORM would be neat (I've found NORM in many places outdoors and in museums). Sadly I have no way of knowing what I've found unless I send it to a friend with a spectrometer (not a toy I can afford to buy before the trip).
Well, you can detect non-NORM if you have a proper instrument and long enough counting time (for environmental samples good measuring times start to be several hours...) but I guess you could do the same from the lichen or small lakes of Canada too due to that global fallout of 50s-60s.
Basically most things that are known of the radioecology of arctic and subarctic areas of Europe applies to Canada and caribou are equivalent of reindeer...though I suspect the amount of people whose diet relies so heavily on the caribou, fish from lakes and other major pathways for non-NORM is smaller.
i've only been to stockholm and surrounding area so far, so that is all i can comment on. but there's so much more than just Vasamuseet. there are about 85 museums in and around stockholm. if you're particularly interested in vikings, there's Birka (it's an island so you have to take a ferry ride). other places i'd recommend are Historiska and Nordiska, and of course Skansen. i enjoyed a trip to Sigtuna, which is a lovely little town with lots of runestones. the local tourist information office will give you a leaflet about them. hope this helps, have a great trip!
Sounds wonderful! Give me a shout if you pass Gothenburg.
I haven't been as far north as you're going since I moved from Umeå as a three-year old in the 80s, but for Tallinn I'd say definitely visit the old town. Truth to be told, you can do most of the interesting parts in the day you have, so I'd advise you to stay central and relax, especially since you'll be coming back after a long journey.
For Stockholm, there's lots you could do. What are you interested in?
It's unlikely I'll pass through Gothenburg, but if I do, I'll message you here.
I've only been to 58.4°N before, and Umeå is north of that, and I'll be a good 1400 km farther north than I've ever been at Nordkapp. I'm looking forward to the midnight sun.
Good to know Tallinn can be done in a day. I wasn't finding too much of interest, it was more just to go see it. Maybe I'll get e-residency from Estonia lol
I like to see unique things that I can't see elsewhere. I've seen enough dinosaurs and the like in other museums. I'm not really a partier. I'm nerdy. A bit of an introvert. :)
In that case, you may want to spend an afternoon with only a map and no plans other than walking around. At least, that's what I enjoy doing in foreign cities - just blending in, and trying to understand the feel of that specific city. A trip through the archipelago is also to recommend, and if you're interested in city history and architecture, there's also plenty of that. If you're taking public transport, many of the underground subway stations are actually decorated by different artists - not something you'd plan extra trips for, but worth spending a few extra minutes for before catching the next train.
And of course, as a visitor to Sweden you are required by law to take at least one fika per day! :)
I have, actually! I understand it's part of the national tourist routes, like the Andøya and Senja routes. I could do those three routes, and take the ferry from Moskenes to Bodø, and skip the E6 between Bardufoss and Fauske.
That would mean missing Lapporten though, if I do the Senja and Andøya routes. Have you been in the area? Thoughts?
Just came across this thread whilst searching for an explanation of the difference between svartsjuk och avundsjuk!!! What a wealth of information there is here! How was your trip in the end? What did you end up doing and did you enjoy yourself as much as it seemed you should?
We have lived here (Skåne) for about 5 months now but have not had time/funds to really travel much yet. Will have another read through this thread a bit later to grab some ideas though :)