31 August 2009

Ounasjoki & Kemijoki

Rovaniemi is situated where Ounasjoki (the Ounas river) runs into Kemijoki (the Kemi river) we crossed one or more bridges daily while we were there. One of the last days we were there we biked west along Kemijoki until the road suddenly disappeared into the river - there we stood waiting by the gate while the little ferry came from the other side just to pick up the two of us and our bikes. It was even free, but then the service only runs from 6 am till 11 pm...

Apart from that we spent quite some time relaxing on the rocks by the river, reading books and/or enjoying a picnic. Tue insisted on bathing in both Ounasjoki and Kemijoki.

30 August 2009

Ranua Zoo

We decided to make a day trip to Ranua to visit Ranua Zoo. The trip started in Rovaniemi with an almost full minibus. During the 80 km south-east towards Ranua the bus slowly emptied as unmistakably local passengers got off one by one along the route.

Ranua Zoo turned out to be designed in a very pleasant way: Rather than clearing the forest to make way for the park they had simply let the park be in the forest - one walks through the forest along a path from animal to animal. Additionally the park was notable for having only Finnish and Arctic animals - without seeming in any way boring or limited.

After we had been through the park, we glanced at the watch and decided not to walk to Ranua town and just wait outside the park for the next bus back to Rovaniemi. While we were waiting we saw a squirrel who had found a treasure: some french fries which he fetched one by one in the trash can. Later the bus came: this time a rather large bus - but there were no other passengers on it when we got on. Since the bus came all the way from Kajaani we kind of hope there had been some other passengers on it earlier on the trip..

29 August 2009


For those less fortunate than to be living right next to Santa Claus' post office, there's the standard Finnish mailbox - but remember: no loose dogs!

28 August 2009

Finnish delicacies

In the woods around Rovaniemi we found blueberries - loads of blueberries.

And turned out to be quite convenient if we ended up being out a little longer than we had originally brought supplies for.

In Rovaniemi itself there was a market on Friday and Saturday, and thus we got another chance to enjoy the speciality we had already seen in Oulu: the little fish from the lakes fried in large pans.

27 August 2009

Joulupukin Pääposti

The previously mentioned Christmas theme park may have reminded some of our readers that the Finns believe Santa Claus lives in Finland. One might then think that he lives in this Christmas land just outside Rovaniemi but that turns out to be completely wrong. Instead, it seems to be a southern outpost as he is supposed to have his home by a fell quite a bit further north. What this Christmas park does have, however, is Santa Claus' Main Post Office - where letters for Santa Claus are collected and Christmas stamps are sold all year round.

Additionally one has the choice of two mailboxes: one for earliest possible delivery and one for delivery around Christmas...

26 August 2009

Finnish signs

In Finland there's a number of signs on the roads - several of which were new to us.

Actually there were surprisingly few mosquitoes - possibly due to the unusually dry and sunny summer this year. We spotted neither reindeer nor moose out in the wild.

And apparently it wasn't snowmobile season either.

25 August 2009


After our weekend in Oulu we took the train north to Rovaniemi where we stayed in a lovely bed&breakfast a few kilometres out of town - fortunately we could also borrow two bicycles there. One of the first things we did was to bike out to cross the Arctic circle - no, it's not marked all the way across Finland. But it is marked on the asphalt in the Christmas park a few kilometres north of Rovaniemi.

23 August 2009

Bright nights in Oulu

Much to the surprise of our Swedish colleagues we decided to go to Finland for our summer vacation this year. The trip started with a weekend in Oulu, beautifully located on the Gulf of Bothnia by the mouth of Oulujoki (the Oulu river).

From our hotel room on the seventh floor we had a nice view of the place. In the picture you see how light it is in Oulu around midnight in the beginning of August (actually, the sun didn't crawl back over the horizon till 5 hours later).

On the other side of the hotel one finds kauppatori: the city's largest square with lots of small stalls: fresh berries and mushrooms as well as loads of fried small fish from the lakes - more about those later.

10 August 2009

Stockholm by the Sea

Even though we have lived up here for 3 months now, and posted from our local area in Solna, we haven't posted any photos from Stockholm proper. This is a little ironic since Lisbeth actually rides her bike to the heart of the city every day. Her office is located in the old 'School of Naval Warfare' so she has to go all the way onto a little islet in the harbour via this bridge:

And that location obviously also means that she gets a solid dose of the boat and harbour life of Stockholm every day:

The disadvantage is having to ignore all the happy tourists that are queuing up every morning to sail out in 'Skærgården' (the archipelago) and enjoy a relaxing day by/on the water:

08 August 2009

Nisse mail

As it turns out, -nisse is a common ending of Dutch town names, such as the village Stavenisse where Leontine's parents have a vacation home. Interestingly, 'nisse' is Danish for a certain kind of gnome (particularly associated with Christmas) and 'stave' is Danish for spelling. When we were out for a walk, Drew noticed this mailbox and was of the opinion that it had to quite the special mailbox - Leontine disagreed. In fact, she thought it a typical mailbox and through-out the rest of our little walk around the village, we noticed several mailboxes identical to this one.

04 August 2009

Trouwen in Zeeland

The 'real' reason for our trip to Holland was or course Drew and Leontine's wedding party in Zeeland. Apart from a welcome chance to see them again this also gave us an opportunity to visit rural Holland. And yes: it's flat and there's a lot of wind mills, canals and flower fields...