(Finland) Unexpectedly, Finnish are so hospitable and kind!

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[14/11/20~25 (D+1182) to Vikajarvi] Finland101

Today another beautiful road was welcoming me.

 

37,000 km

The photo for 37,000 km

 

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The endless of beautiful snow road

 

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I saw blood on the snow, but I could not find any dead animal. After a few km, I saw a fox finally.

 

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Roadkill

 

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Stunning landscape

 

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I was so happy to see the beautiful scenery, but anyway it was cold.

 

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It was -6 c (21 f), but feel like was -14 c (6.8f). I got beautiful snow flowers on my clothes

 

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And I got a white hair. There were white flowers as well on the helmet.

 

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On a bicycle, lots of white flowers

 

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Before just the sun goes down at 2 pm, I turned to the road of a small village. When I asked some local people to set up my tent, they said they have a caravan where I can sleep.

 

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They turned on all heaters to warm up.

 

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It was the best place to see Aurora, but it was too cloudy.

 

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I cooked with the ingredients I had. It was so yummy!
The weather was too cloudy to expect Northern Lights, so I went to bed early.

 

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I had heavy breakfast to not stop during cycling to avoid frostbite. But I cooked too much that I threw away one bag of rice.

 

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I saw a reindeer from faraway. I heard that the reindeer run away when the people try to reach, but they don’t run away when the car close to them. So, I decided to not walk to a reindeer, but wait. My plan succeeded that a reindeer walked to me.

 

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A reindeer is busy these days to help Santa Claus.

 

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What a cute animal.

 

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The true thing in Finland is that they do not have wild reindeer. Every reindeer has the owner. But actually they don’t need food from the owner, because they can find the food by themselves from the nature. One time a year, every reindeer will be gathered in one place to meet the owner. Some will be used for the meat or skin.
Then here is some question. How do the owner find their reindeer from thousands reindeer?

 

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When you see the ears closely, you can see ears are cut by some shape. Every owner has their own mark which would be cut on reindeer’s ear.
At the beginning I could not understand the system. How will they gather all reindeers and find their own one in one place? But I’ve heard many times about this one from local people, so it is not much mystery thing now. I think I can understand the system of herding reindeer.

 

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Northern Finland – Lapland

 

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Traditional house in Lapland

 

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Haycock with the snow

 

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I stopped for a toilet. The owner of worker let me use the toilet for free. The toilet was really warm that I wanted to stay.

 

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It has been long time to see the red light. Today was around -10c (14f)

 

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There was the red sign for the trail of snowmobile.

 

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While wondering where I could sleep tonight, I decided to stop at the house beside the road. When I knocked the house, an elder man came out. He didn’t speak English at all, but he suggested me to come in first and talk at the inside.
He made a call to his nephew who could speak English. I explained my situation to her and asked to translate to him. He said it would be no problem I sleep at the inside.
It was really surprising every day. Before coming to Finland I’ve never thought that I could be invited from Finnish. I expected that Finnish would be the coldest people in the world. But actually it was opposite from my expectation about Finnish.

Today it was too cloudy to see the aurora again. I wanted to see Aurora dancing.

 

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So generous and kind gentle man

 

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At the next day, I cycled on the snow again.

 

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I found the café which could have the best view maybe in the summer.

 

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It would be more beautiful in the summer, I guessed. I thought that it closed now.

 

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Beautiful art by the nature

 

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The electric wires were covered by the snow.

 

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The post box with the snow

 

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There was a cute bear at somebody’s yard that I took the picture of it. When I put back my camera, I saw one local people smiling at the inside of home and shaking hands to me. I also greeted at him with smiling.
I like to greet with local people on the road.

 

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There was cute bus station in Lapland.

 

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Today my hair was white again.

 

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Today -8 c (17.6 f)

 

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I almost finished the food which I bought in Russia, so I went to a big grocery shop. I got shocked when I saw prices at the first, because it was too expensive. I took more time to look around, and I realized that there were cheap things. So, I only picked the cheapest one.
The food-Prices (in Euro)
Cookie 0.99
Chocolate 1 Euro *2
Bread 0.95
Sausage 1Euro*2
Ham 1.99
Cheese 1.55
Donut 1

It doesn’t look much bad.

 

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When I entered to Sodankyla, I just saw Lidle. I wish I knew here is Lidle, then I must buy here. I think Lidle is the cheapest market.

 

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I have seen Kicksled in Finland. It looked it would be good to take for going to market.
I tried to get out of the city to find the place to sleep. Although I was out of the city, I could keep seeing many houses beside the road, which is very usual in the northern Finland. People in Finland liked to have some distance between neighborhoods. So, many houses are far from each other.
It was really good for me that I did not need to worry about to be stuck on the middle of the highway.

I stopped at some local people’s house and asked to pitch my tent at their garage. He showed me the garage and asked me it is okay for me. It was much better than outside because I could avoid setting up my tent on the snow. When I unpacked, he asked me that they have the room at the inside that if I do not mind, I can sleep at the warm inside.
These days it was so easy to find a place to sleep that I was invited at the inside very easily. Actually I was quite often denied in Russia. It was 50% of being denied when I asked for pitching tent in Russia, but it was only 15% in Finland.
What a unexpected thing in the trip. I was so moved by Finnish hospitality.

Tonight it was cloud again that I could not see Aurora.

 

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Finnish breakfast

Interesting was that they used huge cheese and cut the slice with the slicer every time. And always there was cucumber, ham, cheese, and Finnish brown bread.
Also, Finnish liked to cook Porridge every morning for breakfast.

 

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In Lapland usually people put wild berries on the top of porridge which they picked in the summer and autumn from the forest. I’ve heard from every local people in Lapland that they pick lots of different berries in the summer and they freeze and eat whole year.

 

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Thanks that local people let me stay another night.

 

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Although I saw Aurora which was weak in Ivalo, I really wanted to see strong Aurora dancing. I really didn’t want to go to the south without seeing it.

 

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Finally after long thinking, I decided to go to the north again. First of all, I would cycle to Oulu, the middle of Finland and leave my bicycle there. Then I would take the bus to the north to volunteer in a tourist company.
I was not sure where I have to go. I googled and found some hotel in the north. I sent a resume via email.

 

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If I don’t get any answer, I will give up seeing amazing Aurora and go to the south.

 

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If the hotel invites me for volunteering for a month, then I will help them and get a chance to see Aurora. I’ve done what I can did. Now what I can do is just to wait the answer.

 

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Anyway I had to cycle to Oulu.

 

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Today it snowed a lot.

 

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It was totally the same weather…
It snowed a lot when I was hit by car in Russia like today.

 

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I tried to calm down myself as saying do not be scared.

 

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I did try to believe that nothing would be happened and I would not be hit by car again.

 

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Snowplow.. My favorite car.
I was happy to see the car so I shook my hands to the driver.

 

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The thing which can be guessed as seeing the picture is there was a headwind. The snow covered the front side. It was painful because the snow beat my face strongly.

 

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I tried to stop after 2 pm when it got dark. I knocked the door of the house which had a big garage. When I asked to pitch my tent at garage, she said there is no heater in the garage. But she said I could sleep at the inside of house.
Actually it is hard to get the permission to set up tent at people’s yard, and I understand people usually do not like a stranger into their house. So, when I am invited to the house as asking for a tent, I feel like I got 5 stars hotel room. During cycling in Americas, there were not many chances to be invited at the inside of house.
I do not think I am invited because of cold weather in Finland. It was much colder in Russia, but I was quite often denied.
The hardest part in the trip is to find a place to sleep specially because I am a budget traveler that I cannot sleep in a hotel every night and I am too coward to sleep in the forest. So I do feel so much thankful to the people these days.

 

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The dog stayed at the inside and the outside. The ears looked like fox.

 

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Pjriyo and her dog..
Her husband, Tapani, also liked hunting like other local people in Lapland. When I arrived at her house, he was hunting a moose. I’ve heard that usually it is allowed to hunt one moose for one person per year. She also liked hunting, but only small animal.
Later I asked to them to write their name on the note. Surprising thing was when he saw other people’s name on my note, he knew all of them who gave me a place to sleep. The population is small that usually people know each other although hundreds km far away in Lapland.

 

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I saw this one which I’ve seen on the host house in Sodankyla. People left their key on the door at the outside. I asked why they left the key at the outside, and they answered why not. They said they’ve never had the problem, so they keep their key at the outside, which I who grow up in the big city can never understand.

 

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After her husband came back, we had dinner together and we went out for a walk with dogs. And then at the warm place again we had a coffee together.

She asked me I want to go out for finding a Christmas tree with her husband. I was wondering why looking for a tree in the dark. She said they would put at the yard, so it should not need much beautiful.

Thanks to that, I could try farm atv. He took one of dogs from a cage and dog was running while we were on atv.  (They have over five dogs.). It snowed that I had so much fun.

 

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I wish he took more time to find a tree because I had so much fun. It was really beautiful scenery that the dog was at the front and snowing was spreading on the light. As my wish, he found the tree after 20 minutes! When we came back, he held a dog and drove.

 

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He was drilling to make a hole to stand.

 

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And then they put lights.

 

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Here so beautiful tree is.

She asked me I remembered the first tree I made.

Hm..

Let me think..

My parents were Buddhist that they didn’t make a Christmas tree ever. Although I do not have any religion, I wanted to have a Christ tree. But they didn’t buy it for me.

 

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So, the first tree I made ever was during volunteering at 19 years old. I was very excited at that time. Still I have a photo here.

 

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There is a tree at the behind of  me. hahaha

 

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After my second Christmas tree (or serious first real Christmas tree) in my life, Finnish sauna was waiting me.

 

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After the sauna, the meat of moose was waiting me. WoW

What a fantastic day I ever have.

 

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The meat was very soft. I did thank to them so much who gave me amazing day.

 

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At the next day, I passed many beautiful houses on the road.

 

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I didn’t expect I would see so beautiful landscape. I came to the north to see an amazing Aurora, but I could not see it. I was waiting Aurora last night, but it was too cloudy. At least the scenery was so beautiful that anyway I was happy.

 

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Last night it snowed a lot, so the road was fully covered by the snow.

 

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I wish I am good at literature so I could make beautiful sentence to explain what I’ve felt. But I can only use few words to tell what I’ve seen. At least I can take some good picture. So not bad..

 

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The lady was moving with kicksled on the opposite way. When I saw her on the road, I thought some people were cycling. Although Finnish are driving carefully, Russian come and drive badly in Finland because Russian border is just at the next. If Russian driver saw her, they will say ‘it is not safe on the road in the winter, drivers do not expect to see people in the winter on the road, you do not have the light, and you drive at the opposite way, so you must not say anything even if you are hit by car, because it is all your fault.’

Russian driver are notorious in Finland.  Right now Russian money is weaker that I heard there are not many Russian coming. I hoped she is okay.

 

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Oh the road is blocked.

 

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I cycled until the dark. I finished riding at 3:30 pm. It was totally dark at that time. I usually knocked the house where I could see Aurora and I could pitch my tent at the garage.

The man I asked could not speak English well, but he welcomed first.

Thanks to Finnish kindness, I did not need to sleep at the minus ten degree (14 f)

 

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Reindeer ham on mashed potatoes with wild berries they pick on their forest was perfect Finnish dinner!

 

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A tray on wall.

 

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I’ve seen quite often it. I think it is Lapland kitchen way.

It was so interesting to come to Finland that there were so many new things. Finland would be on my favorite country list because their culture is unique and people are generous.

I was just wondering one thing that how different it would be between Finland and Sweden, because I heard Finland was conquered by Sweden for hundreds years. I want to go to Sweden to see how it is different, but unfortunately I do not have time to see with my bicycle.

 

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It is Finnish sofa bed. I was wondering how it can be changed to the bed.

At the first, take the the mattress

 

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Open the lid and fix on the ring

 

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And full to the other side. Now here my bed is!

After yummy dinner, Finnish sauna was waiting me again.

I was really hosted by Finnish well on the road that I appreciated so much. I am not sure how the southern Finland would be.

Northern Finland, Lapland, could be different from Southern Finland, I guessed.

 

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I took the picture after having sauna that their face was a bit red.
Thanks to Lapland people, I could survive from this cold winter. Thank you so much for all the kindness.

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Epilogue

Having Christmas tree


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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Absolutely amazing post! I love Finland, it’s an incredible country. I was just in Helsinki for a month, and to answer your question, people might not be as readily welcoming, but most of the people I met have been incredibly generous and giving people even in the south.

    Definitely have to do a Lapland trip like this some day. You’re great

    • Yeah, Filand is awesome country that it is on the list of my favorite country :) Lapland is really beautiful. When I have my own family one day, I love to have family cycling trip over there :) Thank you for comment.
      Cheers!

  • I love this blog, and I plan to read every post! haha
    I hope to see how it all began. I am amazed by you. I wish you safe travels always.

    P.S. The english version does not have RSS so it’s hard for me to keep track.

    • Hello Lem,
      Thank you for giving me positive feedback and letting me know some problem.
      Actually RSS is hidden on the other page.
      If you click ‘route or contact me’, you can find the place to write your email to subscribe at the sidebar.
      Thanks :)
      Jin

  • Again I really enjoyed reading your latest update.
    Thanks for your continuous effort to do your trip reports in Korean & English.
    Keep enjoying your trip :-)

    • Hello Koen,
      Thank you for your kind word. I’ve been struggling for writing journal in two languages for years…Too much work makes me too tired and lazy… Still struggling…. But you cheered me up!
      Thanks!

  • My wife and I are preparing to make our “second lap” around the world by bicycle so I was searching the internet (something that just barely existed when we made our first trip) for other cyclo-travelers today and found your site. I can only say that you are amazing and inspiring! I think what I am most impressed with is your kindness toward others and understanding of the world. You are wise beyond your years.
    Thank you for doing such an excellent job of chronicling your journey, and for being the truly good soul that you are.
    Curt

    • Hello Curt,
      Thank you for good word to me. You cheered me up and inspired me :)
      I hope you and your wife have a good trip for the future!
      Cheers,

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