Kuusamo ao PN Oulanka, Finland

Under the Arctic's Icy Spell

Inhabitant of Kuusamo exercises on the shores of Lake Kuusamo.
Beginning of a long winter
Pontoon invades the semi-icy lake Kuusamo, on the outskirts of the town with the same name.
Ala-Juumajarvi Mirror
Farmhouse buildings with typical Lapland architecture on the shore of Lake Ala-Juumajarvi.
Reindeer stands out from a herd that grazes on the snow.
Skiers descend a slope from the Rukka snow resort.
Free Fuel
Firewood available to hikers in a forest in the Oulanka National Park.
Barn facade of a farm by Lake Ala-Juumajarvi.
Kalakeidas Bar-Restaurant
A tipi-shaped bar-restaurant on the outskirts of Rukka, the region's main snow resort.
boreal exercise
Kuusamo resident practices cross-country skiing around the homonymous lake.
Polar circle
Sign identifying the Arctic Circle, Napapiiri, in the Suomi dialect.
white reindeer
Groomer feeds a white reindeer.
Mount of Winds
Typical Lapland country house on top of a windy elevation on the outskirts of Kuusamo.
Kino Kuusamo Talo
One of Kuusamo's few homely distractions, a not-so-Hollywood cinema.
winter forest
Semi-frozen forest of Oulanka National Park.
Cycling on ice
A swaddled resident walks down a street in Kuusamo.
cold, colder and colder
Frozen observation cabin perched on a hill on top of Ruuka Hill.
Lapland Twilight
Sun begins to set over Lake Ala-Juumajarvi.
frozen pasture
Reindeer graze in a frozen field in Lapland.
suspended crossing
Hikers cross the Oulanka River, which is still little or not frozen.
We are at 66º North and at the gates of Lapland. In these parts, the white landscape belongs to everyone and to no one like the snow-covered trees, the atrocious cold and the endless night.

It's midnight. It's been hours since anyone has been on the streets of Kuusamo.

cinema, kuusamo, kino, oulanka national park, finland

One of Kuusamo's few homely distractions, a not-so-Hollywood cinema.

Despite the city's lack of guests and clientele, the Sokos hotel's strange bar opens a new night of karaoke. A barista on duty encourages her, singing Finnish folk songs in the impenetrable Suomi dialect.

The lyrics of the songs follow one another on the screen, full of repeated consonants and umlauts. The melodies attract two or three lost souls in the rooms of the building.

They levitate themselves from the tables and move in slow motion, a technique developed over the years to mask the effects of alcohol. Gradually, they earn at will. They join the interpretation of the latest hit and choose what they will sing next.

In order to prepare for the theme in line, they chug out yet another vodka or the trendy alternative drink, Valkovenäläinen, a semi-sweet blend of Kahlua 228 with vodka and milk.

This dubious spectacle repeats itself. Middle-aged couples migrated from the adjoining Torero restaurant, where Hispanic imagery is served in industrial doses, enrich him.

Until bar hours force it to be postponed.

Towards the Frigid Vastness of Oulanka National Park

The next morning we moved to the Finnish countryside. We settled at the entrance to Oulanka National Park with plans to walk part of Finland's most famous forest trail, the Karhunkierros.

Clouds pass gray. Cools before our eyes and the snow that falls slowly reinforces the white of the scenery. The path winds through the conifers of the Finnish taiga. It follows the homonymous river that resists freezing due to the strength of the dark waters.

Oulanka River, Suspension Bridge, Visitors, Oulanka National Park, Finland.

Hikers cross the Oulanka River, which is still little or not frozen.

We crossed it, somewhat unsteadily, on suspension bridges. We walked back through the trees and found areas conquered by vast frozen swamps.

The Solitary Enchantment of Juuma

Juuma appears as a tenuous civilizational reward in the surrounding arctic immensity, with its core of wooden houses red on the shore of Lake Ala-Juumajarvi, next to a boarding ramp where a service boat rests on ice.

Lake Juumajarvi Wing Farm Mirror Oulanka National Park Finland

Farmhouse buildings with typical Lapland architecture on the shore of Lake Ala-Juumajarvi.

Four or five cars are parked nearby, but the village's Kavhila Cafe never seems to have opened and we only detect signs of life in one of the houses.

In prehistoric times, the territory of Finland was trampled and smoothed by waves of gigantic glaciers.

Contrary to what one might think, it turns out to be flat, pockmarked by countless lakes left behind by the thaw.

ala juumajarvi lake, sunset, oulanka national park, finland.

Sun begins to set over Lake Ala-Juumajarvi.

Ruka: Alisada Finland's Possible Snow Resort

A few dozen kilometers from our base, Ruka (Rukatunturi) is only 500 meters high but has become the main snow sports center in the region and one of the most important in the country.

rukka ski downhill oulanka national park finland

Skiers descend a slope from the Rukka snow resort.

As it had happened again the previous weekend, the resort frequently hosts competitions from the world championships in cross-country skiing, jumping, and other sports practiced on the snow.

It receives more than 65000 outsiders who flock there to participate in the competitions or support the competitors.

We investigated the village, explored its curious commercial area. We climbed to the highest point aiming to enjoy the view painted in white around.

rukka cabin observation oulanka national park finland

Frozen observation cabin perched on a hill on top of Ruuka Hill.

The Patches That Russia Brought and the Reindeer Finland

From there, we contemplate Russia and the Paanajarvi National Park – the extension of the oulanka – in the image of much of the territory suomi  taken by the Soviet Union to Finland because Finland aligned with the Axis forces during World War II.

This loss is, even today, the great national frustration. Finns of all ages speak of her, without any great complexes. It is even common to find establishments with maps of the original territory or photos of its emblematic places.

On the way back to Oulanka's camp, we pass more villages and frigid roadside fields where herds of reindeer graze.

reindeer grazing ice, oulanka national park, finland

Reindeer graze in a frozen field in Lapland.

A Finnish existence of these deer it has little to do with what is foisted by the Christmas imaginary. All specimens have owners and identify colored collars and plates.

As used to their owners, reindeer almost completely ignore the human presence. There have been no wild reindeer in Finland for decades.

bar restaurant, tipi, rukka, oulanka national park, finland

A tipi-shaped bar-restaurant on the outskirts of Rukka, the region's main snow resort.

Arrived at the comfort of the base, we dined on reindeer stew – on other days moose meat – a Lapland specialty little appreciated in southern Finland. “Some kids from the south come here and make tapes because they don't want to eat Rodolfo” vents Satto.

reindeer grazing ice, oulanka national park, finland.

Reindeer stands out from a herd that grazes on the snow.

Others make their parents miserable because they notice the difference in flavor compared to beef.”

PN Oulanka and Paanajarvi, in Also Finnish Times

New day, new incursion into the region's remote domains. The temperature plummets. The roads are once again covered with dangerous ice.

Sari Alatossava drives us at ease, but despite the special winter tyres, full of piercing spikes, she is surprised twice when the Land Cruiser skidded and nearly reversed direction on the road.

Scare is relative. We quickly recovered the dialogue in which the hostess explained her unlikely relationship with Portugal.

Now, as he tells us, in 2001, Sari did an Erasmus exchange at the Faculty of Arts in Porto because he wanted to do it in a small country and he liked Saramago's books a lot.

He ended up dating Portuguese with a Madeiran family spread by South AfricaBy Malta and by Finland.

semi frozen forest, oulanka national park, finland

Semi-frozen forest of Oulanka National Park.

Already on foot, with snow falling more abundantly than ever, Sari guides us along a new forest trail. The path is smooth and short. Even so, it reveals to us the wild and wild scenery of the Canyon of Oulanka that the River Oulankajoki continues to deepen.

Once again, we see the Russia from a distance. Sari complains that now the Finnish expeditions from Rafting they have to be careful with the position of the border so as not to cross the big bear's territory.

And that the Russians are like most people in large countries: "they always have to get what they want and, for that, they overlook everything and everyone."

Napapiiri, Arctic Circle Sign, Oulanka National Park, Finland.

Sign identifying the Arctic Circle, Napapiiri, in the Suomi dialect.

Back at the starting point, we head north and cross the Polar Circle arctic. Salla is waiting for us “In The Middle of Nowhere".

Kemi, Finland

It is No "Love Boat". Icebreaker since 1961

Built to maintain waterways through the most extreme arctic winter, the icebreaker Sampo” fulfilled its mission between Finland and Sweden for 30 years. In 1988, he reformed and dedicated himself to shorter trips that allow passengers to float in a newly opened channel in the Gulf of Bothnia, in clothes that, more than special, seem spacey.
Lapland, Finland

In Search of the Fire Fox

Unique to the heights of the Earth are the northern or southern auroras, light phenomena generated by solar explosions. You Sami natives from Lapland they believed it to be a fiery fox that spread sparkles in the sky. Whatever they are, not even the nearly 30 degrees below zero that were felt in the far north of Finland could deter us from admiring them.
Hailuoto Island, Finland

Fishing for Truly Fresh Fish

Sheltered from unwanted social pressures, the islanders of Hailuoto they know how to sustain themselves. Under the icy sea of ​​Bothnia they capture precious ingredients for the restaurants of Oulu, in mainland Finland.
Rovaniemi, Finland

From the Finnish Lapland to the Arctic. A Visit to the Land of Santa

Fed up with waiting for the bearded old man to descend down the chimney, we reverse the story. We took advantage of a trip to Finnish Lapland and passed through its furtive home.
Inari, Finland

The Babel Parliament of the Sami Nation

The Sami Nation comprises four countries, which ingest into the lives of their peoples. In the parliament of Inari, in various dialects, the Sami govern themselves as they can.
Inari, Finland

The Guardians of Boreal Europe

Long discriminated against by Scandinavian, Finnish and Russian settlers, the Sami people regain their autonomy and pride themselves on their nationality.
Helsinki, Finland

A Frigid-Scholarly Via Crucis

When Holy Week arrives, Helsinki shows its belief. Despite the freezing cold, little dressed actors star in a sophisticated re-enactment of Via Crucis through streets full of spectators.
Helsinki, Finland

The Pagan Passover of Seurasaari

In Helsinki, Holy Saturday is also celebrated in a Gentile way. Hundreds of families gather on an offshore island, around lit fires to chase away evil spirits, witches and trolls
Saariselka, Finland

The Delightful Arctic Heat

It is said that the Finns created SMS so they don't have to talk. The imagination of cold Nordics is lost in the mist of their beloved saunas, real physical and social therapy sessions.
PN Oulanka, Finland

A Slightly Lonesome Wolf

Jukka “Era-Susi” Nordman has created one of the largest packs of sled dogs in the world. He became one of Finland's most iconic characters but remains faithful to his nickname: Wilderness Wolf.
Helsinki, Finland

Finland's once Swedish Fortress

Detached in a small archipelago at the entrance to Helsinki, Suomenlinna was built by the Swedish kingdom's political-military designs. For more than a century, the Russia stopped her. Since 1917, the Suomi people have venerated it as the historic bastion of their thorny independence.
Hailuoto, Finland

A Refuge in the Gulf of Bothnia

During winter, the island of Hailuoto is connected to the rest of Finland by the country's longest ice road. Most of its 986 inhabitants esteem, above all, the distance that the island grants them.
Helsinki, Finland

The Design that Came from the Cold

With much of the territory above the Arctic Circle, Finns respond to the climate with efficient solutions and an obsession with art, aesthetics and modernism inspired by neighboring Scandinavia.
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

Finland's Lapps have been competing in the tow of their reindeer for centuries. In the final of the Kings Cup - Porokuninkuusajot - , they face each other at great speed, well above the Arctic Circle and well below zero.
Porvoo, Finland

A Medieval and Winter Finland

One of the oldest settlements of the Suomi nation, in the early XNUMXth century, Porvoo was a busy riverside post and its third city. Over time, Porvoo lost commercial importance. In return, it has become one of Finland's revered historic strongholds.  
Oulu, Finland

Oulu: an Ode to Winter

Located high in the northeast of the Gulf of Bothnia, Oulu is one of Finland's oldest cities and its northern capital. A mere 220km from the Arctic Circle, even in the coldest months it offers a prodigious outdoor life.
Helsinki, Finland

The Suomi Daughter of the Baltic

Several cities grew, emancipated and prospered on the shores of this northern inland sea. Helsinki there stood out as the monumental capital of the young Finnish nation.
Okavango Delta, Not all rivers reach the sea, Mokoros
Okavango Delta, Botswana

Not all rivers reach the sea

Third longest river in southern Africa, the Okavango rises in the Angolan Bié plateau and runs 1600km to the southeast. It gets lost in the Kalahari Desert where it irrigates a dazzling wetland teeming with wildlife.
Braga or Braka or Brakra in Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 6th – Braga, Nepal

The Ancient Nepal of Braga

Four days of walking later, we slept at 3.519 meters from Braga (Braka). Upon arrival, only the name is familiar to us. Faced with the mystical charm of the town, arranged around one of the oldest and most revered Buddhist monasteries on the Annapurna circuit, we continued our journey there. acclimatization with ascent to Ice Lake (4620m).
shadow vs light
Architecture & Design
Kyoto, Japan

The Kyoto Temple Reborn from the Ashes

The Golden Pavilion has been spared destruction several times throughout history, including that of US-dropped bombs, but it did not withstand the mental disturbance of Hayashi Yoken. When we admired him, he looked like never before.
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For Those Becoming Internet Sick

Hop on and let yourself go on unmissable boat trips like the Philippine archipelago of Bacuit and the frozen sea of ​​the Finnish Gulf of Bothnia.
Burning prayers, Ohitaki Festival, fushimi temple, kyoto, japan
Ceremonies and Festivities
Kyoto, Japan

A Combustible Faith

During the Shinto celebration of Ohitaki, prayers inscribed on tablets by the Japanese faithful are gathered at the Fushimi temple. There, while being consumed by huge bonfires, her belief is renewed.
Nova Sintra, Brava, Cape Verde, panoramic
Nova Sintra, Brava, Cape Verde

A Creole Sintra, instead of Saloia

When Portuguese settlers discovered the island of Brava, they noticed its climate, much wetter than most of Cape Verde. Determined to maintain connections with the distant metropolis, they called the main town Nova Sintra.
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Gastronomy Without Borders or Prejudice

Each people, their recipes and delicacies. In certain cases, the same ones that delight entire nations repel many others. For those who travel the world, the most important ingredient is a very open mind.
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The Pueblos del Sur Locainas, Their Dances and Co.

From the beginning of the XNUMXth century, with Hispanic settlers and, more recently, with Portuguese emigrants, customs and traditions well known in the Iberian Peninsula and, in particular, in northern Portugal, were consolidated in the Pueblos del Sur.

Man: an Ever Tested Species

It's in our genes. For the pleasure of participating, for titles, honor or money, competitions give meaning to the world. Some are more eccentric than others.
New South Wales Australia, Beach walk
Batemans Bay to Jervis Bay, Australia

New South Wales, from Bay to Bay

With Sydney behind us, we indulged in the Australian “South Coast”. Along 150km, in the company of pelicans, kangaroos and other peculiar creatures aussie, we let ourselves get lost on a coastline cut between stunning beaches and endless eucalyptus groves.
Tabato, Guinea Bissau, Balafons
Tabato, Guinea Bissau

Tabatô: to the Rhythm of Balafom

During our visit to the tabanca, at a glance, the djidius (poet musicians)  mandingas are organized. Two of the village's prodigious balaphonists take the lead, flanked by children who imitate them. Megaphone singers at the ready, sing, dance and play guitar. There is a chora player and several djambes and drums. Its exhibition generates successive shivers.
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Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Exotic Signs of Life

Canoe fishermen, Volta River, Ghana
Volta, Ghana

A Tour around Volta

In colonial times, the great African region of the Volta was German, British and French. Today, the area east of this majestic West African river and the lake on which it spreads forms a province of the same name. It is a mountainous, lush and breathtaking corner of Ghana.
Street Scene, Guadeloupe, Caribbean, Butterfly Effect, French Antilles
Guadalupe, French Antilles

Guadeloupe: a Delicious Caribbean, in a Counter Butterfly-Effect

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Geothermal, Iceland Heat, Ice Land, Geothermal, Blue Lagoon
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The Geothermal Coziness of the Ice Island

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Couple visiting Mikhaylovskoe, village where writer Alexander Pushkin had a home
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The Writer Who Succumbed to His Own Plot

Alexander Pushkin is hailed by many as the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. But Pushkin also dictated an almost tragicomic epilogue to his prolific life.
Tamul Waterfall, Aquismón, Huasteca Potosina, San Luis Potosi, Mexico
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The Water the Gods Pour From Jars

No waterfall in Huasteca Potosina compares with that in Tamul, the third highest in Mexico, at 105 meters high and, in the rainy season, almost 300 meters wide. Visiting the region, we set off on a quest for the river jump that the indigenous people saw as divine.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Argentinean flag on the Perito Moreno-Argentina lake-glacier
Natural Parks
Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina

The Resisting Glacier

Warming is supposedly global, but not everywhere. In Patagonia, some rivers of ice resist. From time to time, the advance of the Perito Moreno causes landslides that bring Argentina to a halt.
São Miguel Island, Dazzling Colors by Nature
UNESCO World Heritage
São Miguel (Azores), Azores

São Miguel Island: Stunning Azores, By Nature

An immaculate biosphere that the Earth's entrails mold and soften is displayed, in São Miguel, in a panoramic format. São Miguel is the largest of the Portuguese islands. And it is a work of art of Nature and Man in the middle of the North Atlantic planted.
female and cub, grizzly footsteps, katmai national park, alaska
PN Katmai, Alaska

In the Footsteps of the Grizzly Man

Timothy Treadwell spent summers on end with the bears of Katmai. Traveling through Alaska, we followed some of its trails, but unlike the species' crazy protector, we never went too far.
Vietnamese queue

Nha Trang-Doc Let, Vietnam

The Salt of the Vietnamese Land

In search of attractive coastlines in old Indochina, we become disillusioned with the roughness of Nha Trang's bathing area. And it is in the feminine and exotic work of the Hon Khoi salt flats that we find a more pleasant Vietnam.

Mauritius Island, Indian voyage, Chamarel waterfall

A Mini India in the Southwest of the Indian Ocean

In the XNUMXth century, the French and the British disputed an archipelago east of Madagascar previously discovered by the Portuguese. The British triumphed, re-colonized the islands with sugar cane cutters from the subcontinent, and both conceded previous Francophone language, law and ways. From this mix came the exotic Mauritius.
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On Rails
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San Francisco Cable Cars: A Life of Highs and Lows

A macabre wagon accident inspired the San Francisco cable car saga. Today, these relics work as a charm operation in the city of fog, but they also have their risks.
Tsukiji fish market, Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo, Japan

The Fish Market That Lost its Freshness

In a year, each Japanese eats more than their weight in fish and shellfish. Since 1935, a considerable part was processed and sold in the largest fish market in the world. Tsukiji was terminated in October 2018, and replaced by Toyosu's.
Casario, uptown, Fianarantsoa, ​​Madagascar
Daily life
Fianarantsoa, Madagascar

The Malagasy City of Good Education

Fianarantsoa was founded in 1831 by Ranavalona Iª, a queen of the then predominant Merina ethnic group. Ranavalona Iª was seen by European contemporaries as isolationist, tyrant and cruel. The monarch's reputation aside, when we enter it, its old southern capital remains as the academic, intellectual and religious center of Madagascar.
PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica, public boat
Tortuguero NP, Costa Rica

The Flooded Costa Rica of Tortuguero

The Caribbean Sea and the basins of several rivers bathe the northeast of the Tica nation, one of the wettest and richest areas in flora and fauna in Central America. Named after the green turtles nest in its black sands, Tortuguero stretches inland for 312 km.2 of stunning aquatic jungle.
Full Dog Mushing
Scenic Flights
Seward, Alaska

The Alaskan Dog Mushing Summer

It's almost 30 degrees and the glaciers are melting. In Alaska, entrepreneurs have little time to get rich. Until the end of August, dog mushing cannot stop.