Vallisaari is an island 20 min by boat from Helsinki market square. It recently opened to general public, after being almost abandoned for couple of decades. The island was governed by Finnish defence forces, and although it had as many as 300 inhabitants in the 1950’s, the last permanent inhabitants moved away from the island in 1996. The island together with smaller island Lonna have become the attractions of this summer in addition to the traditional Suomenlinna fortress.
The Finnish archipelago is beautiful during summer time. It’s hard to resist a ferry trip with the beautiful scenery, followed with a hike on the island. Today as the sun was shining, we decided to see this hidden treasure.
The island has interesting ruins of the old fortress. There are still areas where you are not allowed to leave the path, partly because of nature preserving reasons, partly for risk of old explosives.
Pathways are well maintained and the surrounding nature is lush.
There are plenty of butterflies (and bees) around, probably due to the various flowers that grow all over the island.
There are swans and other water birds swimming nearby the shore.
The island has a guest harbor where you can arrive by boat, but you need to leave the island by 10 pm when it closes for public. It’s not allowed to stay on the island overnight. The last public ferries leave around 8.30pm. If you wish to continue the summer night at the archipelago, you can go to the nearby Suomenlinna fortress island and catch a later ferry back to Helsinki. With the 7 eur return ticket you can visit Lonna, Vallisaari and Suomenlinna islands. Great value for money if you want to spend a summer day island hopping in the beautiful archipelago.
The Vallisaari island has one cafe that serves home made waffles and drinks, and there are also many places where you can fill your bottle with fresh drinking water at no cost.
Mid summer is always special time in Finland. Mid summer weekend is the time of the year when people either flock to the various music festivals Finland offers, or alternatively, head out to the summer cottages. I’ve always belong to the ones who head to summer cottage, and preferably to a one by a lake.. The mid summer weekends weren’t perhaps so peaceful as a teenager with friends, as nothing prevents you from crazy-partying there either with your own mini-festival, sauna and barbeque. But nowadays, I enjoy more the peace & quiet that Finnish nature can offer.
This mid summer, we went to the lake with a rowing boat at midnight. The colors were really beautiful! Did you know, that in the northern part of Finland the sun doesn’t set for months this time of the year? It’s light all day and night long! In the southern part of Finland where we spend the mid summer, sun touches the horizon and creates beautiful sun set and almost immediately a sun rise with rich colors. Many of the neighbours had mid summer bonfires, but those were already fading when we went rowing.
We spotted a couple of black scoters at the lake. They are quite rare in this part of Finland. Also we saw fish jumping and creating waves to the otherwise calm lake. There must be some big northern pikes living in that lake!
If you have not tried a Finnish wood heated sauna and a swim in a cool lake, put that on your bucket list! It cannot get more Finnish than that, you’ll love it!
For the past weeks I’ve been mesmerized by red foxes.. It all started by the photographs taken by my buddy from photography school (we nowadays call him the fox whisperer because of his portfolio of fantastic fox photos). He has also other great nature photos, you can check them out in instagram.
Then luckily an opportunity came to watch and photograph wild foxes. And I totally get it now why someone would wake up at 5am to find these beautiful animals. This beats any reality tv show, anytime 🙂 Luckily this family of five puppies weren’t shy or bothered by people.
The cubs were eating rabbits, squirrels and birds, brought by their mom. And they were doing what all kids are doing: playing with their siblings!
There is an old Finnish tale about the white tail of a fox. In short the story goes that a fox went to drink the cream from a churn inside a house, and got the white tail from the cream while escaping. True or not, I don’t know. But these two look like they could be up for such an adventure 🙂