Sun and fun on ice

Instead of our usual Sunday walk in the forest, we decided today to head for the seashore for a walk. Sunny March winter days are really nice, there’s already a promise of Spring in the air but you can still enjoy winter activities. It’s always surprising how fast the days start to get brighter after the long and dark winter.

leijasurffaus

We started our walk from the Matinkylä beach in Espoo. There were a lot of people enjoying the sun: skiing, kite-surfing, ice skating, riding bikes.. There was very little snow on the ice so it was perfect condition for different winter activities on ice. As we are in Finland, there were of course also people swimming in the ice hole.

avanto

When we started the walk there was quite crisp wind and it felt like winter. But when we continued walking further to the sea, the weather changed. We decided to walk around Varsasaari island.

jaat

When we got to the other side of the island, we discovered open sea. We had to land on the island and walk by the shore as the ice was too unsafe to walk on. We decided to sit down on the rocks and listen to the melting ice. Have you ever heard how the ice sounds like, when the thick ice rafts  press against each other and the rocks? They make quite spooky sounds!

jaat2

The ice looked like a beautiful jigsaw puzzle. I cannot wait to be able to go stand up paddling when the sea is finally completely open!

Walking on the ice in the winter is great fun, just make sure to watch where you are going and take ice picks with you if possible. Next time I’ll make sure to pack some sandwiches and hot chocolate, having a picnic in the nature is a great way to relax.

railo

 

Ice, ice, baby!

DSC_0065 (2)

This winter the snow arrived late, but when it finally came we got plenty of it! It’s been around -15C – -25C (5 F to -13F) already for some weeks, so the lakes and the Baltic Sea have already frozen. It’s time to head to the ice and enjoy the sunlight reflecting from the pure white snow.

DSC_0009 (2)

We decided to go to Matinkylä beach, which during summer time is a popular beach for swimming, and turns into place of various winter activities as the weather gets colder. You can have a different experience of the shore by walking across the ice to the nearby islands for picnic. Many people also go there to do cross-country skiing, although in this case, cross-ice skiing.

DSC_0020 (2)

And if you’re feeling adventurous, why not try the ice swimming? Just pack your swimming gear with you together with a beanie and gloves, and take a refreshing dip in the ocean! I promise you that you don’t feel cold after coming out of the water, you just need to bear the cold when walking to the ice hole and have enough courage to get into the water.. Not for everyone, but there are Finns who do this daily and claim they never get sick because this boosts their immune system.

DSC_0022 (2)

The trick is that you have to get into the water up to your chin, if you only partly dip into the water you’ll feel cold afterwards. But don’t dive, keep your beanie on so that you don’t freeze your head.

DSC_0029 (2)

You’ll need the gloves unless you want your hands to be frozen to the railing! You can wear similar kind of shoes that are sold for snorkeling. Would you dare to try this without sauna?!

DSC_0044 (2)

Fatbikes are becoming popular in Finland, too. There’s a sport event called Rovaniemi150 which takes place in Rovaniemi city in Lapland, where people either run, ski or bicycle on fatbikes 150km. Mind you, it can be around -30C (-22F) cold there! Competitors have 2 days to complete the race. Perhaps it’s worth the challenge, if you get to see the northern lights while there. Personally, I’d choose the Kakslauttanen hotel instead, and check out the northern lights while warm and cozy in a glass igloo 🙂 That is definitely on my “to do”-list for homeland travels.

DSC_0013 (2)

Although the winters seem long and dark, during sunny winter days like today, you’ll actually need sunglasses. Fresh air, frost bites on your cheeks, snow reflecting the sunlight.. and a glass of warm juice from a café when it starts to get too cold. Life is good!

DSC_0049

DSC_0099 (2)