Tag Archives: rovaniemi

From Oulu To England

30 Dec

I’m back for the Christmas/New Year period and enjoying the hot weather (in comparison to Finland!) and the British rain. Of which there has been a LOT. Many people have experienced flood related problems over the last few weeks and it looks like it will take a while for the water to drain.

Anyway, I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas. I certainly did – I ate many mince pies and drank much mulled wine. Sara heaven.

Before I left Finland my boyfriend came to visit for a few days and I showed him around Oulu. The first day we went to the city centre and saw ‘The Hobbit’ at Finnkino. I love the cinema for its cosy seats, warm theatres and pick and mix sweets. We went for a Finnish lunch on campus – meat, potatoes and salad, mmm – and then to a bar in the evening in Kaijonharju.

IMGP0036The rivers have all frozen over

The next day we took a trip to Rovaniemi and went husky sledding – that was my favourite part! It was freezing cold and so scary when we went over the frozen lake, but we enjoyed it so much that we were giggling for most of the trip. The husky dogs were so clever and so cute! We finished the day with a hot chocolate (adult style with liquor in it) and walked around the Santa Claus Village admiring the Christmas lights.

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On our last day we went and walked on the frozen lake next to the university, then headed back into town for a last shop for Christmas presents, took a photo with the toripolisi and went to the pancake house for our last meal. The next day we flew from Oulu to Helsinki and back to London, where we parted ways.

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Being back in England has made me realise the beauty of our countryside and the green really stands out for me at the moment. It’s much more crowded though and it took a few days to get used to that. But it is nice to be back for a while.

Here are a couple of photos of my home county Dorset.

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I’m afraid that’s it for me until next year! I’m off to my university town for a few days and then back to Oulu. Happy New Year Everyone!

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39: The Irish Festival and Rovaniemi

9 Oct

I have been awfully neglectful of my blog in the last week. I’ve been so busy here – trying to study, socialise, live, sleep, eat… one of them has to go, I’m sure of it. While I’m enjoying every second of my time here it’s hard to get time to stop, or even slow down. 

Last week saw the Irish Festival come to Oulu, the most northern celebration of Irishness that exists, so I’m told. And they seem very proud of this fact here in Oulu. I began by seeing the Swedish band ‘Turas’ play at Bar Hemingway in the city centre. The relatively small (but incredibly cosy) bar was packed come 9pm and the band was bang on time to start. They played lively Irish jigs and one of the group sang a Irish song alone – a brave feat in front of so many. The Guinness tasted great and flowed from the tap and during the second half a number of students demonstrated their skills for Irish dancing. We finished the night with an ever-so-slightly tipsy bike ride home in the drizzle that’s fixed itself over the city.

Friday night we caught the movie ‘One Hundred Mornings‘ at the Valve Cultural Centre, another hidden gem (for me, anyway). A very intimate cinema sits on the second floor, which was packed for the showing. A dark, edgy, though-provoking movie, ‘One Hundred Mornings’ didn’t disappoint. Almost at the other end of the spectrum was ‘Parked’, the movie that was showing Saturday night. It was sold out and I could understand why. It was a hilarious, inspiring and slightly melancholy story about a homeless man who was living in his car. The acting was top-notch, the actors brilliantly cast. 

Not content with my extra-curricular activities of the week I decided to join my groups of friends in a trip to Rovaniemi on Sunday. We left at 7.55am and reached the town around 10.30. The train was comfortable, roomy and on time – the opposite of British trains. I love the landscape of Finland. We stopped for a few minutes next to this place:

One of the girls we were with began squawking: ‘Why are you taking pictures? It’s so ugly!’

I couldn’t believe it! These settlements dotted the railway line, places of life and of work; real people live here and work to survive and that is what makes it beautiful. It’s not dressy or fancy, but it’s a brilliant example of survival, planning, sturdiness and determination. Everywhere at the moment we see these huge piles of logs where people are preparing for the winter and gathering the supplies to help them through it.

We arrived at Rovaniemi and visited the library which housed a small art exhibition of Sami art. it was very beautiful and thought provoking, but everyone was keen to get to ‘Santa’s Village’ – which has reminded me that I must go to the art gallery in town and soak up some culture next week. 

Santa’s Village was a little disappointing, I have to say. Maybe our expectations were too high. It was pretty, yes, and there were lots of shops with quaint little gifts and cheesy Christmas decorations, and beautiful hand-crafted bowls and the suchlike. There were many cafes and places to eat and the buildings were all made of rustic wood, but that was really all there was to it. We met Santa and he was a neat guy, he let my friend hug him and another was allowed to touch his beard, but that was the highlight and it was over in about ten minutes. 

We went back to the city centre and hiked up a nearby hill – the name of which I have forgotten but which I will look up. It was most hilly area I have seen in Oulu thus far, and it was beautiful. There was a brilliant lookout tower near the top (I think, we didn’t actually go any further) which gave us a great view over the city. After this we headed back to town and sat in (another) Bar Hemingway until it was time for our train. I managed to practice my Finnish that day and think I did pretty well, and we had a great laugh. We were all shattered by the time we got home and had to cycle home in the rain, but it was a great experience.

Here are some more pictures from the day:

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Hopefully this post has  not been too lazy! Admittedly it has been written in haste, and whilst I’m supposed to be working on a presentation and an exam for tomorrow. I will do better next time!

In the meantime, have a good week =)

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