Category Archives: Finland

Enjoy the Northern Lights in Extraordinary Settings in Finnish Lapland

Enjoy the Northern Lights in Extraordinary Settings in Finnish Lapland

Earth’s most spectacular light show, the Aurora Borealis, can now be viewed in a range of purpose-built spaces from bubble pods to luxury hotel suites in Finland.

 

The Northern Lights are visible on roughly 200 nights a year – or every other clear night – in Finnish Lapland.

If gazing at the sky in crispy winter air is not your thing, simply add comfort. Here are a few tips on keeping cozy under the Aurorae.

Wilderness Hotel Nellim – Aurora Bubbles and Aurora Camp

The tiny village of Nellim by Lake Inari in Northern Lapland lies in the middle of the finest Lappish scenery. Wilderness Hotel Nellim’s Aurora Bubbles are terrific little heated pods for viewing the Northern Lights.

Try also their Aurora Camp and Northern Lights search by snowmobile.

Eagle’s View Suite in Hotel Iso-Syöte

Iso Syöte is the southernmost fell in Finland, an hour and a half from the city of Oulu.

The Eagle’s View Suite is the crown jewel of Hotel Iso-Syöte. The bedroom is held up by a tree trunk in the middle of the suite. With a glass ceiling and a double bed, the Northern Lights won’t be viewed anywhere as exquisite as this. The suite also features a jacuzzi, a luxury bathroom and a private sauna.

Levi Igloos and Northern Lights House

The 12 igloos with glass ceilings are situated on Utsuvaara fell, approximately 6 miles from ski and holiday resort Levi in Kittilä in Western Lapland. Watch the Aurorae blazing in the sky with a terrific view over the surrounding winter wonderland.

The Levi Igloos Northern Lights House is a villa for 4-8 people with two bedroom suites, a fireplace, a sauna, and a panoramic terrace with a hot tub.

 

What Causes the Northern Lights?

In Finland, nights are dark enough for Aurora viewing from late August to April. See aurora information by the Northern Lights Club in Luosto.

 

Visit Finland USA

Tel. 1-917-863-5484

helena.niskanen@visitfinland.com

 

Finland travel and tourism online

www.visitfinland.com

Christmas in Finland – More than St. Nick’s House

Christmas in Finland – More than St. Nick’s House

How about Christmas in a lakeside design villa or a traditional countryside cottage?

Although Santa Claus’ official headquarters (http://bit.ly/9keljs) are in Rovaniemi, Finnish Lapland, there are alternatives to spending Christmas in Finland. Finnish Lakeland is the place to head for quality relaxation and Nordic Christmas traditions.

Cool Christmas in Art & Design Villas Anttolanhovi, Mikkeli

Fine examples of linear Finnish design to the smallest detail, the Art & Design Villas of Anttolanhovi outside the city of Mikkeli (http://goo.gl/maps/f9hYl) are a stylish way to stay during the holiday season.

The location on the shore of Finland largest lake, the Saimaa, leaves little to be desired. Traditional Christmas pastimes like decorating the tree and horse sleigh rides are available, but don’t miss the day spa and the offerings of their amazing chefs.

Anttolanhovi Christmas Package:http://bit.ly/198TkEv

Traditional Christmas in Järvisydän resort, Rantasalmi

Järvisydän is a holiday resort by the Linnansaari National Park (http://bit.ly/xAPzuZ) on Lake Saimaa, approximately an hour from Savonlinna (http://goo.gl/maps/9bj11).

Stay in a villa or cottage and spend a traditional Finnish Christmas amidst breathtaking snow-clad scenery – the natural surroundings are guaranteed to be first class.

Järvisydän Traditional Christmas:http://bit.ly/1fUxCKa

Relaxing Christmas in Spa Hotel Rauhalahti, Kuopio

Next to Lake Kallavesi in central Kuopio (http://goo.gl/maps/m6u37), a Finnish Christmas in Spa Hotel Rauhalahti includes a visit to Santa’s house, bathing in a traditional smoke sauna, Christmas dinner and attending Christmas mass. Guests are free to use the spa and gym.

Spa Hotel Rauhalahti Christmas Holiday:http://bit.ly/1bPSo8E

Christmas on visitfinland.com: http://www.visitfinland.com/article/a-true-northern-christmas/

 

October in Helsinki – Sample Fresh Fish, Forage Mushrooms and Berries

October in Helsinki – Sample Fresh Fish, Forage

Mushrooms and Berries

Autumn in Finland is a time for celebrating food. The waters and forests are full of it, and the Helsinki Baltic Herring Fair is a great manifestation of seafood culture in Finland. Dig even deeper into Finnish cuisine and take part in a foraging excursion to forests just outside the capital.

The annual Helsinki Baltic Herring Fair takes place between 6thand 12thOctober 2013. The Fair, generally believed to be the oldest event still organised in Helsinki, was held for the first time in 1743.

As the name suggests, the event is about fish and seafood. Fishermen (and women!) from the coastal areas and archipelago gather to Helsinki to sell their products directly to people in the Market Square in the South Harbour.

Selling and buying fish isn’t the only thing the Fair is about. Tastings also take place, and a jury consisting of both experts and regular people selects the best prepared fish in several categories.

See more on Helsinki Baltic Herring Fair 2013 on the Port of Helsinki site (http://www.portofhelsinki.fi/HelsinkiBalticHerringFair2013), Visit Helsinki site (http://www.visithelsinki.fi/en/events-in-helsinki/helsinki-baltic-herring-fair-2013) and Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herring_fair).

Go Forage Mushrooms and Berries

In Espoo, the Nuuksio National Park is a piece of wilderness just outside Helsinki. A tour operator “Feel the Nature” takes you foraging mushrooms and berries in the forests of Nuuksio (http://feelthenature.fi/en/berry-picking-and-mushroom-hunting-in-nuuksio-national-park/). Getting there is easy either on the bus or by arranging a representative from “Feel the Nature” to pick you up.

Events aplenty

Several events coincide with the Baltic Herring Fair in Helsinki, including a 15thanniversary exhibition in the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, the Helsinki Antique, Art and Collector Fair, an Irish music festival, and the Sailing Ship Day, to name a few.

Visit Helsinki events list (http://www.visithelsinki.fi/en/whats-on/events-in-helsinki/search-events-in-helsinki)

Accommodation in Helsinki (http://www.visithelsinki.fi/en/stay-and-enjoy/accommodation)

Finland travel and tourism online:

www.visitfinland.com; www.facebook.com/visitfinland; www.twitter.com/ourfinland

Finland, Turku. Events in August 2011

                                                                                                                            NEWSLETTER                                                                                                                        JUNE 2011         Turku 2011 is bustling with events in August!The European Capital of Culture year sees its high season in the Finnish summerTake part or just sit back and enjoy– August in Turku is full of events of all kinds. See countless exhibitions and performances, try out unique saunas designed by artists or make your own short film under the guidance of professionals!Top picks for an unforgettable summer holiday in Turku:The Culture 2011 Tall Ships Regatta on August 26–28Landing by the shores of River Aura in central Turku, the huge ships will be open to the public, and the multinational crews will be available to present their work. The regatta is a guaranteed highlight of the summer and one of the biggest public events during the year.http://www.turku2011.fi/en/event/culture-2011-tall-ships-regatta_enColourscape: Music of the Spheres on July 23–August 14This spectacle will be made up of a hundred colourful sphere-like chambers forming a vast labyrinth which the audience will be able to walk through and listen to music performances. Colourscape will be opened and concluded on the River Aura with giant floating spheres.http://www.turku2011.fi/en/event/colourscape-music-of-spheres_enThe Night of Ancient Bonfires on August 27Events drawn from darkness will be provided when evenings grow longer again. In Vuohensaari camp site The Night of Ancient Bonfires light up the summer night with fire, song and feast.http://www.turku2011.fi/en/event/night-of-ancient-bonfires_en Future Circus Festival on August 17–26 Circus magic and alluring visual displays are created by the visiting circus performers and local circus students from the Turku Arts Academy. The Les Colporteurs group will perform its world-class acts Les Étoiles and Sur la Route. A circus extravaganza for the entire family!http://www.turku2011.fi/en/event/future-circus-festival_enBattle on August 31- September 2nd&3rdBattle will take the Paavo Nurmi stadium like a force of nature. This epic production provides a highly visual story of survival that challenges us to consider the future of humanity, both as individuals and as social animals. Director Kari Heiskanen will create a breathtaking performance full of stunning visual effects that portrays the ritualistic battle between good and evil. The music will be coordinated by accordion virtuoso Kimmo Pohjonen. http://www.turku2011.fi/en/event/battle_enTurku Grand Prix Downhill Racing on August 20–21Turku Grand Prix brings downhill racers to the centre of Turku in an ecological event full of action for the whole family. The race has two categories: downhill vehicles built by amateurs and racing vehicles built by professionals.http://www.turku2011.fi/en/event/turku-grand-prix-downhill-racing_enA whole lot more in Turku in August 2011: http://www.turku2011.fi/en/kalenteri?date_min[value][date]=01.08.2011&date_max[value][date]=31.08.2011Turku 2011: http://www.turku2011.fi/en; www.turku2011.fi/materialsGet to Turku: Fly to Helsinki. Trains to Turku depart hourly from Helsinki Central Railway Station. Journey time is 2 hours. Tickets cost around 30 euro per adult.Accommodation in Turku: http://www.turku.fi/Public/Default.aspx?nodeid=8121&culture=en-US&contentlan=2Visit Finland on the web:www.visitfinland.comwww.twitter.com/ourfinlandwww.facebook.com/visitfinland

Recycling Factory in Helsinki, May 7-8th, 2011

Finnish design: the eco approach takes over Helsinki’s Cable FactoryThe Recycling Factory, held May 7-8th in Helsinki, is an event promoting two central trends of contemporary Finnish lifestyle: ecological and sustainability issues together with innovative design. The family friendly event consists of a sales market and a free-of-charge market along with workshops and shows.The sales market features some 50 pioneering Finnish companies presenting clothes, jewellery, bags and interior design items made of recycled materials. Organic food products are available and ecological approaches to energy, beauty and nutrition will also be represented.The free-of-charge market operates on a “bring & take” principle; throughout the weekend, you can bring clothes, toys, books and household goods that are fit for use. You can take with you anything you need.Do-it-yourself workshops engage both adults and children in creative activities, offering a chance for making jewellery, clothes and other items out of recycled materials.Fashion shows and demonstrations of handicraft and other small works from recycled materials will be held.The Recycling Factory, held now for the fourth consecutive year, attracted 7 500 visitors last year. With eco issues and awareness on the rise globally, many more are expected to attend this year’s event at the Cable Factory in Ruoholahti, central Helsinki. The venue is nationally known for hosting a range of cultural events.The Recycling Factory is open on Saturday May7th and Sunday 8th from 10am to 5pm with free admission. Please note that only cash is accepted as a payment method.Exhibitors include:Ainokainen,  a Finnish ecological design company specializing in clothes and jewellery. http://www.aino-kainen.com/english/index_eng.htmlMifuko, makers of sandals and bags, who spice Scandinavian design with an African twist, and cooperate with African artisans on a Fair Trade basis. http://www.mifuko.fi/en/Punainen Norsu (“Red Elephant”) designs retro-styled clothes for kids out of recycled and ecological materials. http://www.punainennorsu.com/en_index.htmlFor more information on the event, please visit: http://www.kierratystehdas.fi/front-page/A complete list of exhibitors: http://www.kierratystehdas.fi/sales-market-2/Accommodation in Helsinki: http://www.helsinki.fi/en/index/matkailu/majoitus.htmlFor information about travel in Finland, go to www.visitfinland.com Contact:Helena NiskanenVisit Finland USATel. +1-917-863-5484helena.niskanen@visitfinland.com   

Visit Finland February 2011 Newsletter

                                                                                                                           NEWSLETTER    FEBRUARY 2011            Fresh in Finland in 2011Tour and taste Helsinki with Food Sightseeing

Combining both flavours and architecture from East and West, Food Sightseeing offers a unique way to explore the capital of Finland. Take a guided tour on one of the city’s iconic trams with stops at major sights or see them at your own pace following a specially tailored route, both eventually leading to restaurants offering true local tastes often missed by visitors. Famed Finnish design blends smoothly with Northern delicacies while exploring one of Europe’s coziest cities in this innovative fashion. A range of tours and menus are available for groups and individuals, starting summer 2011.

For more details please visit www.foodsightseeing.fi

Accommodation in Helsinki: http://www.helsinki.fi/en/index/matkailu/majoitus.htmlCruise the Baltic for two Capitals of Culture

Separated by the Baltic Sea, brought together by art – Finland’s Turku and Estonia’s Tallinn are European Capitals of Culture in 2011. Why not see the offerings of both and to top it all, visit another two capitals, Helsinki and Stockholm, through a cruise on the Baltic? Viada offers a week-long itinerary for a healthy portion of Baltic life, arts and culture. All routes are cruised on TallinkSilja vessels.

For prices and itinerary, please see the attached pdf.

www.viada.com, www.turku2011.fi/en, www.tallinn2011.ee/eng

Trek through REAL Lapland in northernmost Finland

Home to some of the biggest wilderness areas in Europe, true Lapland can only be discovered through hiking in the wild. Experience the midnight sun, visit the border between three states (Finland, Sweden, Norway), learn about local fishing traditions, see countless fells and take many deep breaths as the air is the cleanest in all of Europe.

Region Arctica’s six-day guided tour in the wildernesses around Muonio and Kilpisjärvi will make sure you get the Nordic summer experience of a lifetime, and return home safe and sound to tell about it.

Please find more information on prices and itinerary at:

http://www.regionarctica.com/eng/travel_offers/summer_hiking_in_lapland/

New spa hotel at Lake Saimaa – revitalize at the shores of Finland’s grand lake

A major new hotel development in Finland, Holiday Club Saimaa, is set to open its doors in October 2011. The complex features 221 rooms in three separate hotels: Club Saimaa is designed for families, Castle for couples and others seeking retreat from the daily grind, while Wellness is aimed for those after some pampering. Several restaurants, an ice arena, a recreational spa, a wellness section with a range of saunas and, in the summer of 2012, an 18 hole golf course provide guests with relaxing activities on the grounds.

Situated in the town of Imatra in the Lake District, the hotel, located on the shores of of Lake Saimaa, the largest lake in Finland.

For more information visit www.hcsaimaa.com (English site under construction, please contact hannele.eskelinen@hcresorts.com for the time being)

Architect’s illustration photos at http://www2.emmi.fi/hcresorts/?cart=109-lejebglegf&language=EN

Get to Imatra: Fly to Helsinki. Train from Helsinki to Imatra takes three hours, tickets from $ 54 (EUR 40) to $ 67 (EUR 50) for adults. Several departures daily.

VR Limited, Finnish State Railways http://www.vr.fi/en/index.html

Spectacular ice sculptures and sunny ski days guarantee fun for all in Levi’s spring

Icium, a wonderworld of ice, graces the foot of Finland’s most popular ski resort Levi in the municipality of Kittilä, Lapland. Built by expert Chinese ice sculptors, Icium features many Finnish and international landmarks including the Helsinki Cathedral and the Great Wall of China, chiseled out of ice with astonishing precision. Icium is expected to stay intact until April.

April 16th-17th sees a new event in Levi. Leviloppet is a cross-country skiing competition that anyone can enter. Rather than a win, rosy cheeks are the desired outcome of this day out in Finland’s sunny spring.

Levi, along with close-by resorts Ylläs, Pallas and Olos, offer a unique skiing experience for visitors until the start of May. Standing on top of a fell, watching untouched nature stretch as far as the eye can see before heading down the hill is something you can never get too much of.

For further information please visit www.icium.fi

www.leviloppet.fi (sorry, in Finnish only, please contact mikko.saarinen@levi.fi for more info)

Accommodation in Levi: http://www.levi.fi/en/accommodation/central-booking/accommodation-providers.html

General info on Levi: www.levi.fi/en/home.html

Ski resorts in Finland: http://www.ski.fi/ski_resorts

Helsinki-Kittilä flights:http://www.finnair.fi/finnaircom/wps/portal/travel/en_FI?locale=en_FI&intro=truehttp://www.blue1.com/en/fi/http://www.airbaltic.com/public/index.htmlNew National Park to be founded on the west coast of Finland

Barely off the coast of the city of Rauma, a picturesque archipelago presents itself with numerous small islands scattered in the Bothnian Sea. During spring 2011, the Finnish government will officially grant the area the status of National Park.

 The Bothnian Sea National Park bustles with wildlife both under and above sea level, and provides beautiful terrain for hiking, cycling, canoeing and boating. The Kylmäpihlaja Lighthouse Island, Kuuskajaskari Fortress Island and Reksaari Nature Island all lay close to the city centre, yet in a world outside this one.

For more information please visit:

http://www.visitrauma.fi/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=13&dir=DESC&order=name&Itemid=1&limit=5&limitstart=0 (“Raumanmeri” .pdf for tourist info in English)

Information on the Bothnian Sea, the Lighthouse & Fortress Islands etc: http://www.selkameri.fi/en/bothnian_sea/bothnian_sea_-_information.html

Accommodation in Rauma: http://www.rauma.fi/english/accomoda.htm

General information on Rauma: http://www.visitrauma.fi/?lang=english

Get to Rauma: Fly to Helsinki. Several buses depart to Rauma daily from Helsinki Central Bus Station. Journey time is 4 hours. Tickets cost around $ 47-67 (EUR 35-50) per adult.

Turku 2011 – European Capital of Culture top picks:“Eurocultured”

The “Eurocultured” street culture event series will reach its conclusion with a grand festival on the banks of the River Aura in Turku. The free public event will introduce as many as 300 artists from over 10 different European countries.
The festival celebrates European street culture through live visual art, urban dance, live music, DJ sets, hip hop theatre and various action sports. Additionally, the festival features great food, local arts and crafts and free workshops. Led by top artists, the workshops will allow the participants to test their skills in a range of activities from graffiti art to break dance.

May 21st – 22nd. Free admission. http://www.turku2011.fi/en/ohjelmahanke/568/info

Photos from previous years’ events: http://www.eurocultured.com/

Tom of FinlandMany will be surprised to learn that arguably the most internationally acclaimed Finnish artist comes from Kaarina, a neighboring town to Turku. Now, Tom of Finland alias Touko Laaksonen (1920-1991) is returning home! Famous for his blazingly homoerotic illustrations, the works of Tom of Finland have become stereotypical icons for masculine gay men all over the world. Held at Logomo, an old engineering works turned into a cultural space in central Turku, the exhibition is constructed with the help of Los Angeles based Tom of Finland Foundation.

Open every day until December 18th. Tickets cost $16 (EUR 12) per adult. More information:

http://www.turku2011.fi/en/tom-finland_en

www.tomoffinlandfoundation.org/

http://www.turku2011.fi/en/blog/aboman/spending-day-tom_en

Get to Turku: Fly to Helsinki. Trains to Turku depart hourly from Helsinki Central Railway Station. Journey time is 2 hours. Tickets cost around $ 40 (EUR 30) per adult.

Accommodation in Turku: http://www.turku.fi/Public/Default.aspx?nodeid=8121&culture=en-US&contentlan=2                         

Turku 2011: http://www.turku2011.fi/en

 For more information about travel in Finland, go to www.visitfinland.com.Contact:Helena NiskanenVisit Finland USATel. +1-917-863-5484helena.niskanen@visitfinland.com   

Visit Finland in 2011. Helsinki. Aalto design.

Visit the iconic buildings of Alvar Aalto in 2012, Helsinki’s year as World Design CapitalFew figures have been as instrumental to Finland’s design heritage as Alvar Aalto. What better time to get to know the works of the famed architect and designer than in 2012, when Helsinki reigns as World Design Capital?Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) is referred to as the father of modern Scandinavian design. He has become immortalized by his furniture and glassware creations, several of which remain in production and take pride of place in Finnish households to the present day. This same enduring quality is shown by many of Aalto’s architectural works, which continue to hold the esteem of both design experts and laypeople throughout the globe. Come to Helsinki in its year as World Design Capital in 2012 and see some of Aalto’s key architectural masterpieces for yourself. Right on the capital city’s harbor front is Aalto’s Enso-Gutzeit Headquarters (1962), a box-shaped modernist office building with a white marble façade. The structure is a marked contrast to the Eastern Orthodox Uspenski Cathedral on the hillside behind it – no wonder that city dwellers have nicknamed it the Sugar Cube. While similar to more mundane office blocks at first glance, the building’s details and materials set it apart. As the building still serves as an office, it is viewable only from the outside.Just a minute’s stroll away on the Esplanade is the Academic Bookstore (1969), whose dark copper façade leads into a warm and bright atrium in white marble lit from above by geometric skylights. Café Aalto on the far balcony is a welcoming place to stop for a snack. The bookstore is open during regular store hours.Finlandia Hall, not far from the Central Railway Station, is one of the city’s best-known landmarks. With a marble-clad exterior and a copper roof, the building is composed of cubic forms and a tower, making up a whole that is both functional and pleasing to the eye. The concert hall was completed in 1971 and its congress wing in 1975. Over the years, some design flaws emerged which were resolved in a restoration project that began in 1998. Nevertheless, Aalto’s experience and mastery are evident in the external structure as well as in its interiors. From furniture and lighting fixtures to moldings, panels and flooring materials, minute details were especially designed by Aalto for the building – testament to the architect’s attention to detail.Visits to Finlandia Hall are possible through guided tours, which last about one hour and cost € 10.50 ($14) for adults and € 8.50 ($11) for senior citizens, students and children. The latest information on tours can be found at http://www.finlandiatalo.fi/en/architecture/guided-tours/. You can also contact the service point, open from Monday to Friday, 7.30 am to 5pm, by phone at +358 (0)9 40241 or by email at servicepoint@finlandiatalo.fi. An earlier project, the Riihitie House (1936) is a more intimate peek into Aalto’s life. Built by young architects, Alvar and his wife Aino Aalto, the family home in Munkkiniemi, a suburb of Helsinki also housed the offices of Alvar Aalto, Architects until 1955. The modest home demonstrates Aalto’s design principles in the use of natural light, the blurred distinction between indoor and outdoor space, the orientation of the rooms and the importance given to scale and circulation. It is possible to visit the home, which has been turned into a museum, during limited opening hours or by appointment. Riihitie 20 can be reached in about 25 minutes by tram from the city center. For more information, visit http://www.alvaraalto.fi/open.htm#aaltohouse, call +358 (0)9 481 350 or email riihitie@alvaraalto.fiA short walk from Riihitie is Studio Aalto, at Tiilimäki 20 in Munkkiniemi, which Aalto designed as his own workplace in 1955. Studio Aalto is where the architect held office until his death in 1976. Considered one of the best of Aalto’s 1950s buildings, the structure has a white, wall-like façade, which conceals a garden shaped like an amphitheatre in its inner courtyard. Here, the staff could sit on the steps, listen to lectures or watch projections on the white wall. Studio Aalto now houses the Alvar Aalto Foundation and the Alvar Aalto Museum of Architectural Heritage. It is open only at 11.30 am from Tuesday-Friday with the exception of August, when it is open at 11.30 amfrom Monday-Sunday. The admission fee includes a guided tour and costs € 17 ($22) or € 7 ($ 9) for students and senior citizens and € 10 ($13) per person for groups of over 10 persons. For more information and reservations email riihitie@alvaraalto.fiAalto designed the campus for the Otaniemi Technical University in Espoo, between 1949 and 1966. Located within the greater Helsinki Metropolitan Area, Aalto designed the campus’s library, shopping centre and water tower, which are built around the landmark form of the amphitheatre shaped main auditorium. In 2010, the University was renamed Aalto University in recognition of the architect’s achievements in technology, economics and art. The campus is connected to the center of Helsinki by a 15-minute bus ride. For more information, visit http://www.aalto.fi/en/for/visitor/ or call +358 (0)9 47001.There are many more of Aalto’s architectural gems dotted around Helsinki and throughout the country. For a comprehensive guide, visit http://www.alvaraalto.fi/info/guide/index.htm and download the map found on the site. To find out more about World Design Capital Helsinki 2012, visit http://www.wdc2012helsinki.fi/en.For information about travel in Finland, go to www.visitfinland.com

Immerse Yourself in Sami Culture. November 2010 news

                                                                                                                           OCTOBER 2010             IMMERSE YOURSELF IN SAMI CULTURE
How well do you know the Sami people? Get acquainted with the rich and unique heritage of the Nordic countries’ only indigenous group – yet another reason to experience the untouched allure of Finnish Lapland.
 The Sami, Europe’s most northern indigenous people, are the only indigenous group living in the Nordic countries. While the exact origin of the group is unknown, their language belongs to the Finno Ugric language group, into which the Finnish language is also classified. Interestingly, the Sami genotype is distinct from other Nordic genotypes, and so are many aspects of their culture and traditions. There are no exact figures on the number of Sami, but it is estimated that there are 50 000 to 100 000 members living in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia. Sami culture is considered a significant facet of Finland, and today the group is free to preserve their languages and carry on their ways of life. The Sami people have a population of approximately 4 000 in Finland and live in three of the country’s northernmost municipalities: Enontekiö, Utsjoki and Inari in Lapland. While elsewhere in Finland the Sami are a minority, the majority of the population in Utsjoki is of Sami descent.  A crash course in reindeer herdingTogether with hunting and fishing, reindeer husbandry has traditionally been one of the Sami people’s main sources of livelihood. In fact, in Norway and Sweden, laws dictate that the Sami possess the sole right to breed reindeer. Although not exclusive in Finland, the Sami’s reindeer breeding tradition is alive and well in Inari.  Visitors to Inari have the rare opportunity to see a real Sami home farm and feed the semi-domesticated beasts, listen to the reindeer herders’ stories, or even try their hand at lasso throwing. In winter, it’s also possible to do as Santa does and go on a reindeer drive in the snow. The farm visit lasts two hours and costs 50 Euros per person including transfers. Visits in wintertime can be scheduled upon request. Make a reservation by inquiring at your hotel in Inari village or by e-mailing inari@visitinari.fi. In summer, high season in Inari, the farm visits are scheduled daily from Monday to Friday at 15:00 between June and August.
Soak up some culture at Siida – Sami Museum and Nature CentreSiida, in Inari, is at the heart of Finland’s Sami region, and a fine place for an introduction to the Sami people. Siida holds a variety of exhibitions on culture, art and nature. In summertime the relaxed open-air museum is a welcome addition to the museum’s offering. Here, visitors can get a feel for the group’s lifestyle as they step into Sami dwellings and learn about their hunting and fishing methods.  As a nature center, Siida points guests in the right direction for hiking or biking excursions, fishing, bird watching and other activities in Lapland’s great outdoors. Siida – Sami Museum and Nature Center is open in winter from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday to Sunday; and in summer, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Entry tickets for adults cost 8 Euros while children enter free of charge. Find out more about Siida at http://www.siida.fi/contents.  Feel the mystery of Ukko Island While you are in the area, experience the untamed beauty of Lake Inari and its islands. It may not be possible to visit all 3 318 of them, but mystical Ukko Island, an ancient place of worship for the Sami god Ukkonen, is not to be missed. Climb to the island’s highest point to revel in the breathtaking views. In ages past, the island was an ancient sacrificial site. Today, it is protected by Finland’s Antiquities Act.  The cruise, which lasts two hours, departs daily from the shore close to the Siida Museum at 1 p.m from the second week of June until mid-September. A later cruise at 5 p.m. is also available between after midsummer and in early August.  Tickets cost 19 Euros per person. For information, go to http://www.visitinari.fi/aktivit_en.htm.
For information about travel in Finland, go to www.visitfinland.com  Contact:Helena NiskanenVisit Finland USATel. +1-917-863-5484helena.niskanen@visitfinland.com

All Aboard! The Allegro Train!

SEPTEMBER 2010         

ALL ABOARD THE Allegro TRAIN!

 

The East and West are about to get even closer. Starting December 12th, the new high-speed Allegro Train from Helsinki, Finland to St. Petersburg, Russia will take travellers to the old imperial capital in just three and a half hours.

 

Starting December 12th, the new Allegro train between Helsinki and St. Petersburg will cut travel time between the two cities by a third. With a top speed of 220 km/h (close to 140 miles/hour), the technically advanced trains as well as faster border procedures and an upgraded line service will shave two hours off the duration of the journey.

 

Seating 344 passengers in First and Second classes, the Allegro Train has been planned keeping those with specific needs in mind. Areas are available for passengers needing wheelchairs as well as for those travelling with pets. Other amenities include a restaurant carriage, a conference compartment and a playroom for children. If you happened to leave in a rush, don’t worry. With handy services such as currency exchange and tax-free refunds onboard the trip is not only fast but also exceedingly convenient.

 A single journey ticket from Helsinki to St. Petersburg costs €84 (USD 63) in Second Class. A First Class fare costs €134 (USD 102) and includes a snack, daily newspapers and coffee or tea from a self-service counter.The Allegro departs daily from Helsinki to St. Petersburg at 10.00 am and 3.00 pm; and from St. Petersburg to Helsinki at 6.40 am and 3.25 pm. By summer 2011 the number of daily return services is expected to increase from two to four. All aboard!To find out more, visit http://www.vr.fi/eng/ulkomaat/venaja/palvelut_junissa/allegro/For information about travel in Finland, go to www.visitfinland.com

THE MIGHTY ARROW, Soca King of the World, dies at 60.

The Mighty Arrow, Soca King of the World, dies at 60.

OLVESTON, Montserrat (Sept 15, 2010) – The Soca King of the World, Alphonsus “The Mighty Arrow” Cassell, died at his residence on the tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat today at the age of 60. 

The international recording artiste was diagnosed with cerebral cancer in early 2009. He was airlifted to the neighbouring island of Antigua last week for treatment. 

His family wishes to thank the medical teams, friends and family who gave their support during the period of his illness. 

Arrow or “Phonzie”, as he was referred to by close friends and family, is responsible for taking the soca genre to the international music scene with his 1982 smash hit, Hot, Hot, Hot. 

Having won the local calypso competition on four occasions, the talents of the proud son of Montserrat were spotted by former Beatles manager, Sir George Martin, who  worked with Arrow to turn his focus to his recording and touring career. 
 
Arrow recorded no less than 22 studio albums with other notable hits including Long Time, Dancing Mood, O’La Soca and Groove Master. 
 
He has performed at concerts, music festivals and gala events across the globe. 
 
“His death is a great loss to the family, his native land of Montserrat and the music world,” said his brother, Justin “Hero” Cassell, another talented vocalist and songwriter, who worked with Arrow during his peak years. 
 
Funeral announcements will be made in due course.  
 
—For further information contact Justin “Hero” Cassell at (664) 496-0203.