For many people, the Finnish countryside is the epitome of natural beauty, with its wide-open landscape and picturesque lakes. You can experience mother nature with all of your senses here: From the scent of the deep woods to the sounds of the primordial wilderness and the feeling of boundless freedom which permeates the land. It’s this chorus of sensual impressions that made Ankerkraut set their 2020 Blogger Event right here, in the untouched Scandinavian countryside. And since we share the same enthusiasm for mother nature as the spice experts from the Lüneburg Heath region of Germany, we supported them in their endeavour. Here’s how their trip went:
Day 1: Thursday, 16 January 2020 – Arrival
There are few places in the world which allow you to experience natural beauty quite like Linnansaari National Park. Of course, we also experienced the brunt of the Finnish winter, but thanks to our Maier Sports outdoor clothes, we actually found it to be quite bearable.
“Our main goal for the trip was to enjoy Finland’s cuisine, beer and its amazing landscape to the fullest.”
On Thursday afternoon, we first reached Helsinki before setting off to Rantasalmi on the shores of Lake Haukivesi, 315 kilometres northeast of the capital. Due to heavy snowfall it took us a full 5-hour drive to get there. Luckily, we were still in time to check into our rooms at the beautiful hotel and spa Järvisydän, which welcomed us with a wide array of saunas and baths, two of the cornerstones of Finnish culture.
Day 2: Friday, 17 January 2020 – Ice fishing
Early on Friday, we took our first on-foot trip into the Finnish countryside: On Lake Saimaa, we tried our hand at ice fishing. We were using sledges reminiscent of walking aids to make our way onto the frozen surface of the lake safely. They also allowed us to move more quickly than we would be able to otherwise, which is important since the lake is actually part of an entire system of lakes which, taken as a whole, is considered to be the biggest lake area in all of Finland. It’s also home to the world’s largest natural ice-skating track, 20 kilometres in length – a feature which we would make good use of later on our journey.
When we arrived on the frozen surface of Lake Saimaa, we first used a big manually operated auger. Then, we cast our fishing rods and started waiting for a big catch. Since we needed to be still, so as not to scare off the fishes, we were quite glad that Maier Sports had supplied us with Ronka and Anton skiing pants as well as Dammkar Pure outdoor jackets. They kept us nice and warm, even while sitting on a frozen lake in the middle of the Finnish winter – and they helped make our ice fishing trip a very special occasion indeed.
After successfully catching some tasty fish, we made our way off the lake for a hike through the surrounding countryside. With the help of our local guide, we explored the picturesque, slightly hilly and heavily forested area, finally arriving at a reindeer enclosure where the animals spend the winter. And if you thought “That’s the most Finnish thing I’ve ever heard”, then consider the fact that we spent our Friday evening enjoying a hot sauna in a Lake Spa carved into the mountainside.
Day 3: Saturday, 18 January 2020 – A winter hike
On Saturday, we went on an extensive hike through the forests surrounding the big lake. We were impressed by the colourful display in the middle of winter, especially the lush greens of the conifers and the lighter shades of green of the moss clinging to tree trunks and boulders. We realised that even in the cold Finnish winter, there is still lots of life beneath the snow. This trip was an absolute blessing for outdoor enthusiasts such as us: The clean air, the fresh scent of moss and the sense of a free, primordial land are unequalled.
Day 4: Sunday, 19 January 2020 – Ice skating
Though Sunday was the day of our departure, we didn’t want to miss the chance to experience the world’s largest natural ice-skating track ourselves. We woke up early, put on our waterproof Maier Sports outdoor clothes and made our way to Lake Saimaa once again.
Since we were going to the frozen lake early in the morning, we decided to wear some warming Midlayers in addition to our pants and jackets: The long-sleeved Felix and Eva Midlayers for the men and women in our group, respectively. They kept us warm while we were skating along the track – or rather, part of the track, as the thickness of the ice didn’t allow us to travel its full length.
But even with the slightly shortened track, ice-skating in such a vast environment took all of our strength, as you might imagine. We also worked up quite a sweat, so we were glad to be wearing breathable clothes which kept us warm and dry at the same time. With our bodies warmed up for the day, we felt quite refreshed for the journey home.
Our conclusion: The primordial Finnish countryside is worth a trip – even (or especially) in winter
Our Ankerkraut Blogger Event was a great success, thanks in large part to the amazing winter landscapes of Finland. We’ll certainly keep fond memories of our time there. And thanks to our partner Maier Sports, we were able to enjoy the surprisingly colourful forests and the clean air of Finland even in the freezing cold of a full-blown Scandinavian winter. Finland is definitely worth the trip, both for outdoor enthusiasts and anyone who wants to just get out and enjoy some beautiful landscapes every once in a while. In any case, we will gladly come back again one of these days!