Home > Experiences, photography, Travel > Travel Diaries: A Few Days in Finland

Travel Diaries: A Few Days in Finland

Oh, the things we take for granted. Let’s take travel, for example. It was so simple, easy, and basic. Get to the airport, get on the plane, eat, sleep, and magically appear in the whole new world, thousands of miles away from home. Nevermind all the travel hassles – they are really negligible next to the pleasure the travel delivers. And then, all of a sudden, this basic fundamental is no more. All thanks to the invisible enemy which takes no hostages, the travel is a thing of the past – at least at the moment. Of course, we will travel again, but for now, it is our memories we need to rely on.

Travel for me is associated with taking pictures. Pictures, in turn, require sharing – same as with wine, which I talk about because I really enjoy it and want to share my joy with people, I like to share my pictures with everyone – I got a proof of this obsession, scroll here. I like to share the pictures in a timely manner, somewhat close to the completion of the trip – when that is not happening, I don’t feel that it is a priority anymore – unless there is a compelling reason to do it even at a later point – like, for example, the one we are living through right now, where travel is no more, at least for the near future.

I visited Finland late last September for work. I only shared one post about that trip – a summary of my wine experiences in Finland. Now I would like to inundate you with non-wine pictures of that beautiful country.

My final destination in Finland was a little town called Kuopio, which is only accessible via the local flight from Helsinki, Finland’s capital. As I never been to Helsinki before, I set up my trip to have half a day to walk around the Helsinki. I stayed in the center of Helsinki in the hotel called Klaus K, which is a part of the Design Hotels and the only Marriott property in Helsinki – if you are ever in Helsinki, I highly recommend this hotel, especially if you can score a room on one of the top floors. I went to walk around the Helsinki and despite the gloomy weather, it was fun and colorful as you will see in the pictures below:

Take a look at these happy people – it is about 40F (4C) outside

Fresh berries, some just picked in the forest

And freshly picked mushrooms

My lunch at the market

This was taken by a trusted iPhone 7 and processed by SnapSeed. Doesn’t SnapSeed make everything look so much better?

The view from the 7th floor room’s balcony at Klaus K hotel

Early next morning, I took a flight to Kuopio with my colleagues. Looking from the plane, you can clearly see that Finland is a country of lakes. According to the information on the internet, if the lake is defined as a body of water larger than 500 square meters, there are 187,888 lakes in Finland. 55,000 of the lakes are at least 200 meters wide.

On the way to Kuopio

Once we arrived in Kuopio, a small city of about 120,000 inhabitants, coffee was the first order of business. If we can say that Americans like their coffee, then we have to say that Finns simply love their coffee. Good coffee can be found anywhere:

Next, we took an hour-long hike through the woods to the observation tower – I still can vividly remember the pleasure of walking through the forest which was very similar to the one I was accustomed to growing up as a kid – which is not surprising, as I grew up only about 500 miles down south from Kuopio.

Kuopio observation tower

Once we managed to the top, we were rewarded with the beautiful views and cold, dark, ultra-refreshing beer, brewed in that same town of Kuopio.

Mestari Stout Kuopio

While Finland offers a vast array of excellent restaurants, no matter where you are, the colleagues I was traveling with had a variety of the eating restrictions, so I had to just go with the flow – hence I don’t have any amazing food scenery to report. Here are just a couple of dishes I enjoyed:

The week flew by quickly as we were busy every day with the event we were attending. To get everyone a little break, we had a trip arranged to a special place – a famous sauna on the lake, one of the most famous in Finland. I’m sure you heard about the Finnish sauna, but you need to understand how important that is to the Finns. In this country of 5.3 million people, there are approximately 2 million saunas (!)

The proper Finnish sauna is not just a hot and dry room. The proper sauna is more of a ritual – you go to the super-hot sauna, you go out, you swim in the cold lake, return, have a beer, and repeat the sauna and the lake – from 3 to 5 times. Then you go and have dinner. I don’t have any pictures of sauna for you, but I have a bunch of pictures of the forest and the lake.

On Thursday, I took a flight back to Helsinki – it was really fun to fly with the sunset:

Flying over Finland with Sunset

Flying with sunset

I stayed overnight at the Hilton at Helsinki airport, as my flight was leaving at 6 am in the morning. I had dinner at the restaurant at the Hilton airport, and while the food was tasty, this was the smallest ever amount of food I had for 50+ euro (never mind also the worst service I pretty much ever had at any restaurant):

As was flying to Helsinki with the sunset, my 6 am flight to Munich coincided with the sunrise – an absolutely surreal experience:

Flying with sunrise

Flying with sunrise

Germany clearly lacks Finnish lakes:

Well, that’s about all there is to my story – except one more thing:

My one million miles flier prize

Yes, this glass of bubbly doesn’t look like anything special, but it was given to me together with the congratulatory words for reaching 1 million miles mark with United. United gives that status only after you actually fly, not spend, a million miles with them, so this was definitely a memorable moment.

My photo report is over.

We Will Travel Again

  1. April 29, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    I love visiting Finland!

  2. April 29, 2020 at 4:21 pm

    I get that its nice that they recognize one million miles, but in my opinion, United can be much more appreciative of their frequent fliers. I still get annoyed that I have a club membership and the options in the club are horrible (unless you are in Polaris)

    • April 29, 2020 at 5:08 pm

      Well, I was trying to be sarcastic, as this glass of whatever bubbles while I was still sitting in my economy seat doesn’t really signifies the recognition. As far as clubs are concerned, I think all US airlines are the same. They do it because they have, not because they want to. If you want a nice club, Centurion is probably the answer – was there once, but that was very impressive. But still not as impressive as the European airline clubs in their own hubs…

      • April 29, 2020 at 5:10 pm

        Exactly. I saw somebody who got his million mile snack sitting in a middle seat. And I have heard the Centurion Clubs are fantastic but there are none in the places that I typically fly through

        • April 29, 2020 at 5:13 pm

          Well, airline is a money driven operation. No matter what they say. To be entirely honest, however, I prefer to be in the middle seat and feel safe versus wonderful first class seat of some shady airline. We can’t win them all 🙂

  3. April 29, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    Beautiful photos! Thanks for inviting me on this virtual visit to a place I may never see in real life. The sauna ritual sounds invigorating – I could use that this week. 🙂

    • April 29, 2020 at 10:57 pm

      Thanks, Lauren. It is a beautiful country, especially if you enjoy the outdoors.

  4. April 29, 2020 at 7:37 pm

    Ugh- I was supposed to be doing a long layover in Helsinki on a trip my daughter and I have planned in July. We were going to take the ferry over to Tallinn for a quick trip- I was so excited for that part 😦

    • April 29, 2020 at 10:58 pm

      Sorry to hear that, Danielle. But then maybe next year?

  5. May 12, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    You should definitely visit Finland in the summer and have a road trip around the lakes here! 🏕 Plus Finns are so in love with the Finnish summer (idk why😂), but you have to prepare a winter jacket just in case 😂 But I truly recommend visiting the country in the summer, the nature is stunning!

    • May 12, 2020 at 11:41 pm

      Will be happy to visit Finland in the summer. Well, this year, I would be happy to visit ANY country in the summer … 🙂

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