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Europe » Finland » Lapland March 4th 2019

The problem with having a job researching potential and current impacts of climate change, is that you know what the potential and current impacts of climate change actually are. Thus, my travel priority list has been adjusted somewhat to involve more places that within my lifetime will be inexorably altered. As such, for this birthday I found myself up north of the Arctic Circle. Specifically, we were 2.5 degrees or a few hundred kilometres north of the Arctic Circle in Saariselka, Finland. I didn’t think I was a fan of cold places during cold times of year, however, it was beautiful. I also thought three days and three nights would have been plenty of time, but I could have stayed a lot longer. This trip was a gift from mum and dad for getting my PhD ... read more
Urho Kekkonen National Park
Urho Kekkonen National Park
Sledge run in Saariselkä

Europe » Finland » Uusimaa February 9th 2019

I was pretty tired when I dragged myself from my bed. Idiot roommate decided to start a full blown conversation with another roommate when the latter returned from clubbing in the wee small hours. I don't really think she wanted to know the comings and goings of the people in the dorm during the night, but this bloke was intent on telling her. I filled myself up with coffee while eating my breakfast and then headed out to take another look around the city centre, this time in daylight. I made my way to Senate Square, which I had been to on my first night in Helsinki. I really wanted to go into the Helsinki Cathedral, but there was a funeral going on, so had to give it a miss. I noticed that the funeral car ... read more
Alexander II of Russia
Senate Square
Helsinki Cathedral

Europe » Finland » Uusimaa » Helsinki February 8th 2019

I was up super early to head to the ferry terminal. I was departing from a different one to that I had arrived in and it took a bit of finding. It didn't help that it was dark and that there weren't a lot of people about. I took a few wrong turns but got there in the end. The check-in process was super easy, just scan the QR code to get through to the departure area. They didn't even scan it again before boarding the ferry like the other company had. I was taking the Tallink ferry this time and it was almost three times the price of the one I had taken over to Tallinn, but the timings were a lot better, giving me more time to explore Helsinki. The ferry was a lot ... read more
Kyosti Kallio
The National Museum of Finland
The National Museum of Finland

Europe » Finland » Uusimaa » Helsinki February 3rd 2019

Lunar/Chinese New Year means the opportunity to get out of China for a bit. I wouldn't have minded travelling in China, but probably left it too late to any train tickets and decent accommodation. Flights within Asia were almost as expensive as those to Europe and there wasn't really anywhere in Asia that I really had my heart set on visiting. Europe on the other hand, there were quite a few places I fancied. Finnair had a direct flight to Helsinki that left and arrived at a decent time, so I bit the bullet and got the credit card out. The flight was fine and only took about 8 hours. The food was a bit hit and miss, but the cabin crew were lovely. Walking through the airport was like a ghost town, I was unsure ... read more
Somewhere over Russia
Helsinki
Mannerheimintie

Europe » Finland » Lapland » Luosto November 26th 2018

We checked out of our hotel and caught the 11am ski bus back to Rovaniemi Airport, which takes about 1.5 hours. The flight to Helsinki took just over an hour and we viewed gorgeous crimson sunsets through our plane window. There was just enough time to have a quick snack in the lounge before our next flight. Before take-off, our plane had to taxi to a section of the tarmac for de-icing. This was interesting to watch as you pull into an area, with 2 trucks on either side. The trucks have a crane on the back with a box at the top where someone sits with a big hose. They spray some sort of foam mixture on the main wings and on the tail. It only takes a few minutes to do once you are ... read more
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Europe » Finland » Lapland » Luosto November 24th 2018

During the night, we finally had snow so we woke up to about an inch of fresh snow on the ground outside. The trees were also coated in a dusting. The morning was about minus 3 and we had no activities booked so we decided to have an easy morning lazing in our room, repacking our bags and enjoying the views through the ceiling. Around midday, we walked into the village and went for a walk around the lake – about 2kms in length. The scenery was really pretty with the snow on the fir trees just like on Christmas cards. Shelley even lay down and made a snow angel. After our walk, we went to the Bistro at the Luostotunturi Hotel for lunch. The afternoon was spent relaxing in our igloo, watching the sun go ... read more
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Europe » Finland » Lapland » Luosto November 23rd 2018

After breakfast, we were picked up at 10am for a visit to the Kopara Reindeer farm. It was minus 6 degrees, with a windchill of minus 9, so we wore our hired ski jumpsuits and boots. Our guide gave us a lot of information about the area and reindeer. He collected some lichen for us to feed the reindeer with. In Lapland, there are more reindeer than people (200,000 reindeer and only 180,000 people). He was of Lapis origin, rather than Finnish or a Sami (native). At the end of the tour, we were taken up to see all the huskies (both Siberian and Alaskan) in their pens. There is no snow at the moment so they are allowed out of their cages to run around for exercise. When there is snow, they get enough exercise ... read more
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Europe » Finland » Lapland » Luosto November 22nd 2018

It gets light very late in the arctic so we had a lazy morning in bed and went down to breakfast about 9:30am. Breakfast is buffet style and there is a section of cereals, breads and toasts with jam, some sort of unidentifiably porridge type mush, baby sausages and what looked like scrambled egg but tasted like baked custard… There were also croissants and several cheeses, cured meats, tomato, smoked salmon and cucumber to choose from. Following breakfast, we collected our clothes (ski jumpsuits and boots) and went back to the igloo to try them on for size. We didn’t think we needed them today so we put our own thermals and clothes on and went for a walk into the village. It is only a few hundred metres down the road and there is another ... read more
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Europe » Finland » Lapland » Luosto November 21st 2018

On Tuesday night, we stayed overnight at the Novotel at Heathrow airport so that we would be close to the terminal for our early morning flight. We were up just after 4am and the hotel taxi took us to terminal 3 at 5am for our first flight to Helsinki. We went into the Cathay Pacific lounge for some breakfast prior to our 7:30 flight. This first took almost 3 hours and we had some lovely views of southern Finland towards the end of the flight. There are a surprisingly large number of lakes and waterways in Finland. We had a transit of around 4 hours so we holed up in the Finnair lounge prior to our flight to Rovaniemi, which took 1 hr 20 mins. It gets dark in Finland around 3:30pm so we had a ... read more
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Europe » Finland » Uusimaa September 6th 2018

Day two was planned to be a whole different ball game, and the dawn til dusk rental car day had a planned itinerary worked into the mix. Leaving Tampere, and heading west, no planned stop-offs were worked into the mix between Tampere and the coastal town of Pori, most famed for being the location of the week-long annual jazz festival which jazz enthusiasts from all over the world flock to attend in their masses. It looked, on first glance, as if this was the only time Pori actually buzzes, as the town comes across as being liveable but really sleepy, with a few elements thrown in to make it worth the trek. Pori's cathedral is a highlight, as is the old town hall in all its architectural splendour, and the streets which sew together the urban ... read more
The cathedral, Helsinki
Lakeside scenery
The old town hall, Pori




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