By Cacinda Maloney
Great news on the blog today, as my travel life is always full of surprises! I never thought I would be heading back to Finland so soon, but I have an amazing adventure coming up soon! I am delighted to be going back to Finland, but this time to the west coast. I will be working with VisitFinland on an upcoming trip dubbed “Outdoors Finland”. I am remembering my trip last year with VisitFinland in the winter where I had my first Finnish sauna experience and strolled the design houses of Helsinki. Well this year, the itinerary is packed full of outdoor summer adventures.
Here’s a few things I will be doing:
1. Flying to Vassa from Helsinki:
Most likely, you have no idea where that is, so let me give you a little geography lesson and let you know that it is on the west coast of Finland. It is on the narrowest part of the Gulf of Bothnia that separates Sweden from Finland. It’s an area where thousands of migratory birds stop along the shores on their way south for the winter. While here we will go to the Terra Nova Nature Center on the shores of the northern tip of Vaasa. Here we will see butterflies, hear bird’s sing and the buzz of insects, as well as learn about the mammals in the area.
2. From Vaasa, we will visit Björköby, the biggest settlement on the island of Björkö. We visit the Kvarnen Archipelago, a UNESCO-listed natural heritage site. It is the best place in the world to see land uplift. Apparently Finland belongs to an area covered by the Weichselian ice sheet, where the release of the ice load caused a rapid isostatic rebound at an uplift of 2 mm/yr.
3. Then we will be hiking in Raippaluoto, which is home to Finland’s longest bridge, which is .6 miles long. This area is where the Gulf of Bothnia is as its narrowest. The Swedish coast known as the High Coast lies just across the bridge.
4. From the Kvarken Archipelago to Kalajoki is next. This area is a popular beach destination in Western Finland where we will do some hiking and sea kayaking.
5. Next stop will be the seaside village of Vihiluoto, where we’ll have dinner in a traditional Finnish Kota!! Kota’s originate from the Arctic Lapland, where they were used by reindeer herders to aid from the cold weather. Their traditional shape is similar to a Native American teepee; Kota’s are places where you can grill your own meat inside the hut.
6. Then Liminka and Liminganlahti: Liminka Bay is a wetland, and the concentration of birds is unlike anywhere else in Finland. The Liminganlahti bird centre includes an exhibition, trails and viewing towers.
I am looking forward to sharing everything with you in the coming weeks, with tips and ideas on how you can do this itinerary yourself and which ones you should stop at along the way.
Oh, and guess what? I have a new name in Finnish! It is: Suvi Joutsen! Summer Swan! What is yours? Find out here and then let me know in the comments.
I most likely won’t be blogging about the trip until I get back to the USA, but if you want to keep up on social media, you can follow the #OutdoorsFinland and #VisitFinland hashtags. I’ll be posting lots of photos of Finland on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.