Helsinki Highlights and Suomenlinna Unesco World Heritage site
Private Excursion to Suomenlinna Sea Fortress and Vallisaari
An excellent, engrossing and entertaining tour with Timo that gave us an in-depth view of this UNESCO site which played a pivotal role in the geopolitics of the Baltic throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Timo is knowledgeable, entertaining and with his appreciation of the wonderful flora and fauna of the islands brings an important additional dimension to the trip. Weather was certainly challenging but that did not impair our enjoyment of this incredibly beautiful visit to the fortress islands.
Mark Sadler, United Kingdom
Rated to fulfill 5 stars
Customized Private Excursion to Tuusula
This is a 5/5 star local guide. Timo and his wife Aria are wonderfully/knowledgeable travel guides. Timo toured me around Jarvenpaa and then afterward he welcomed me into his house for a dinner meal. This personal experience is what travel is about and allowed us to have a cross cultural dialogue. This was hands down the highlight of my trip to Finland. If you book a tour with Timo you will not be disappointed. Timo was able to turn me from a tourist to a temporary local! 10/10 would do again.
Ferry pushes through the icy water as boy from Boston looks at the ice
Evening falls and the tour continues back to town.
Response from my client: "Our tour was amazing, and Timo made it so. He crafted a day exactly how we wanted, at the right pace for me and my child. He was funny, knowledgeable, and a pleasure to be with. Would 100% recommend. Thank you for making Helsinki so memorable!
Shawna Oliver, USA
Timo is a phenomenal guide! He is very knowledgeable about Helsinki and adapts to our needs during the tour. More importantly, he went above and beyond by helping us retrieve our delayed luggage from the airport. Highly Recommended!!!
Dux Sy, Washington, USA
we enjoyed this day very much. the guide Timo told us many things about finland and about the forest we visited. there was an opportunity to drink tea and cook sausages during the walking. All followed by a delicious typical lunch in an area where it was possible to take a sauna. I recommend to everyone
Kopparnäs is situated in Inkoo community, some 52 kilometers from Helsinki.
We had a day-trip to the sea shore early in April 2020, and we found out that there exist a nice view to the sea from beautiful shore cliffs..
Photo was taken with our new GoPro8 Black video camera, and the horizon bends as we are not professionals in taking videos...
So you have an old washing machine drum in your hands, and you are wondering what to do of it, Here is one example what you can try:
A fireplace to your backyard!
Cut the side open with an angle grinder and bend the sides of the opening inwards. Hammer and file them neat.
Place your kettle or pan over the drum and find out that the darn smoke has no chimney to go out in correct way...
Year 2017 wilderness guides had a walking tour in Sipoonkorpi forest. Thanks Piatu, Jouni, Sari, Jaana & Johanna!
Just after the new year's eve I got a fewer of about 38,7 degrees and deep cough. My lungs felt aching and shit was just like a big, restless fly of sparrows. First I thought that this is just a "normal" flu, but then my backbone started to be so aching, that I could not sleep in my own bed. It took about 1 - 2 weeks until the situation got better. Until then quite few people did know what was going to come...
Jaymee Ongpeng from Philippines with guide Timo in Porkkala
Guide Arja shows how we love our trees
Guide Timo tries to rest
One client wanted to have a group of Finnish Santa Claus actors to spend a week in China, visiting restaurants and delivering food for their customers. This client had an advertising deal with Chinese company that is running fast food restaurants in China. The selection of the Finnish Santa Claus guys was done, and we were part of that group!
From left: Santa Claus, Santa Claus, Erlin Yang, Santa Claus, Santa Claus and Santa Claus!
We arrived to Shanghai Pudong airport, and after getting our bags claimed a quick change to the outfit was done in the local restroom... men were laughing, but that was of course the name of the game...
At the airport we had our first photo session in local KFC restaurant. Guess how easy it is to eat with the beard on?
Especially the boiled rice soup was creating some difficulties
Not even Santa Claus reindeer Petteri is as fast as this bullet-speed train from Shanghai to Beijing
Pendolino trains in Finland can reach max 220 km/h speed. Here in China max speed of the train was 348 km/h. These routes do of course have straight and new tracks.
In Beijing our team woke up early and had a Tai Chi rehearsal in local park.
Mama Santa was the fastest to learn the correct moves
Local newspapers were telling our story saying that the Finnish Santa Claus is very talented... yeah right!
Mama Santa in Xi'An
Next morning our team had a bicycle ride on the Xi'An old town wall.
We visited also one local video blogger company BiliBili
Another train ride to Wuhan town
Chengdu and smaller village Ya'an with the Panda Research center
One Panda in a tree and one just lying around
Santa Claus men and Mama Santa in Guangzhou
Guangzhou tower has nice sight-seeing round-trip up there
The Canton Tower, formally Guangzhou TV Astronomical and Sightseeing Tower is a 604 metres tall multi-purpose observation tower in the Haizhu
District of the city of Guangzhou (historically known as Canton).
The tower was topped out in 2009 and it became operational on 29 September 2010 for the 2010 Asian Games.
The tower briefly held the title of tallest tower in the world, replacing the CN Tower, before being surpassed by the Tokyo Skytree.
It was the tallest structure in China prior to the topping out of Shanghai Tower on 3 August 2013. It is now the second tallest tower and the fourth-tallest freestanding structure in the world.
Nice view from the tower!
Next day flight to Shanghai and free evening in the old town area. Raining...
Wild Wild Wolf Disco song performed by San Laoren team
Ketunretket provides Sauna Experiences to our clients. Of course, sometimes we need some relaxation ourselves, so this weekend it came possible to participate in a Whisking International Conference in Kaunas, Vilnus..
This conference had participants from Baltics, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, USA and other EU countries.
Logo of the International Whisking Academy
Here is the Whisker Man, Mr. Rimas Kavaliauskas from Lithuania. But hey, he has not got whiskers?
Here is one example of the Right and the Only Way of Whisking - or is it?
Juha from Finland is getting what he wanted...
Sauna-Mama Arja from Finland is getting ready for the Sauna
Now this was the best part of the weekend: a real Lithuanian Pirtis (Sauna) by Liuda Medine and Arvydas Medinis in western part of Kaunas.
Owner of the Pirtis (Lithuanian Sauna Bath) mr. Arvydas Medinis with Arja and Mari from Finland
Arvydas has built this wonderful sauna himself. It includes a big stove and a relaxation room.
Liuda, Timo, Arvydas and Mari in the hot room with whisking twigs.
Arvydas had installed a pump bringing ice-cold water from the pond.
I'm not as good as you, I am as good as I am!
Liuda had placed dry herbs over a transparent cloth above the relaxation room.
Liuda collects and dries herbs for the relaxation tea
Next day we had a 100km drive to Rimas's own small sauna area near Vilnus, to receive whisking education. However, this education was expensive and gave nothing, to be honest.
Rimas Kavaliauskas has written a book of how to provide whisking on 10 different difficulty levels. This guy used to be a physics professor, now he is the sauna master!
An exciting day with a top-quality cardiologist can also be funny:
I had a client from Las Vegas for a short tour around Helsinki. He did not mention to me what he's doing for his profession but my friend Google knew him well...
We visited Sibelius monument and he wanted to take a video of me telling about Jean Sibelius, who he was and what he had done. As he was coming from a little bit warmer environment, we had a walk to the seashore and tried if the water is cold... and again taking a new video - yes, it is darn cold...
Dr. Sanjay Vohra was a good example of a Free Independent Traveller (FIT) and also in an enormously good fit... running up the stairs all the time, and also being able to take a 10 minute nap while guide speaks beside him in the car... I gave him a task to find out who Sibelius was, and what kind of music he had composed... let's hope he'll follow the task.
After visiting Rock Church he told me that he does not very often get amazed on architecture, but now this was really amazing.
In the shoreline of Hanko Peninsula is situated an old Swedish fortress. This site is kept in condition by the Finnish Lighthouse Society. The reconstruction projects in Gustavsvärn started 2005 and continues actively.
This lighthouse is actually not original, only the top glass part is same that was used in the first lighthouse.
An old map shows how the fortress was looking out, before Russian army decided that they do not need it anymore and exploded everything August 27 year 1854. They needed 10 000 kilograms of black gunpowder.
King of Sweden had given his name and date of the visit year 1793 carved to the shoreline stones.
Great rap-music video of mr. Elastinen from Finland has been filmed at Gustavsvärn: https://youtu.be/e46J14Eivto
There is also an old army fortress Russarö nearby, having a lighthouse.
Let's be happy that this kind of equipment have not been used for a long time...
Gustavsvärn seen from the shoreline.
Peaceful moment in the old fortress site... what should I do?
OK OK, I know. Let's start benchmarking!
We thoroughly enjoyed our foraging tour with Timo. He is very knowledgeable in picking mushrooms and has magical eyes in finding them! He cooked the mushrooms with onion, garlic and cheese/cream, which was one of the best dishes we had during this trip. (And we went to some fancy restaurants to compare to!) A bonus for me, being a bit of history nerd, was history of Finland he talked about. I'll be doing some reading on the topic. I will definitely recommend him as your foraging guide.
Ketunretket had a chance to wander around the old army fortress island of Isosaari. This is a place that has been used by both the Russian and Finnish army forces during decades of time.
Harbour of Isosaari fortress has a watching tower and place for the ferry.
Ms Isosaari sails from Helsinki to Vallisaari and Isosaari during the summer season.
In Isosaari there are many old cannon-sites to protect the traffic in Gulf of Finland.
Most of the buildings are in awful condition.
Biggest cannons required a concrete structure
Come on, we are ready...
A fox watching for the birds
During springtime this is a place for migrating birds to rest.
If you are lucky, you might see a white-tailed eagle gliding in the sky...
From the island of Kuivasaari in the neighbourhood were shot the salutation shots for independent, 100 years old state of Finland.
This tour was an absolute surprise! And Timo is one of the greatest guides I've ever come across with. First of all, He was very kind and knowledgeable ... He Taught us how to ignite the fire with no matches and grilled sausages by a gorgeous lake. The bicycles were professional and the ride was absolutely breathtaking ... going through lakes along the forest. Finally, he took us to the Sauna by another beautiful lake. I would give this tour more than 5 stars and would recommend it to anyone. Cheers Timo
Roberto Resendez, Mexico City
Ketunretket provided a biking in the National Park Nuuksio Tour to a group from Mexico City. Guido and Fernardo came to Helsinki with a cruiser ship and we met them in the harbour of Katajanokka. We had rented FatTire bikes from Haltia, so that was the starting point for our tour.
The terrain in Nuuksio varies a lot, part of the trip was on normal roads and part was on more rough terrain.
After riding the bikes in rainy weather we had a refreshing stop beside a small pond and grilled some sausages. Black coffee prepared on open fire was very good!
Arja had decorated the table with blueberry twigs
The day ended at Lake Kuusijärvi in Vantaa
Finnish tradition is to provide a visit to a smoke-sauna
Suomenlinna is an old army site in front of Helsinki coast. This site started to be built year 1748 by the Swedish-Finnish army, to stop the Russian enemy possibilities to attack Sweden's capital Stockholm.
Since that time the fortress has been owned by the Russian army during the Grand Duchy time and after that the army forces of independent Finland.
Old soldiers are having a parade during one beautiful day in Suomenlinna
Sailing ships glide in the mist
Riding police taking part in the parade
Soldier parade passing the bridge of Artillery Bay
Finnish Army Band
Suomenlinna is an enormously nice place to have your bachelor party
You might also meet personnel of the fortress, probably they have stayed here pretty long time, searching for the disappeared ship?
These soldiers had just got their daily portion of alcohol, measured with a name "Jumpru". As always, they were very keen to share it...
And again one peaceful day has been spent in Suomenlinna. Sun is shining and the yellow herb idänukonpalko (bunias orientalis) is coloring the scenery. Wooden bird is guarding the peace of the island.
Old Russian cannons are still here to remind us of the time when they were needed...
Even older cannons from the Swedish era have been placed here. This cannon is from the end of 1700 century.
So now it is the time to have something to drink and eat, and here in Suomenlinna you can enjoy many restaurants and cafe's.
Ketunretket Järvenpää blog, to tell about our new products and adventures!