Escape from the city

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Helsinki is amazing summer city, and what many people tend to forget, is the beautiful archipelago with 315 green islands. Yeas, 315 islands around the capital city, isn’t that amazing? For sure the most famous of the islands is one of the UNESCO’s World Heritage sites Suomenlinna. It has been my favorite also for many years, but this year I have found new favorite – Vallisaari. Vallisaari, and Kuninkaansaari next to it, was opened to public this spring, and offers the visitors history and beautiful nature just 20 minutes away from the city center of Helsinki. I did a day trip few weeks a go to the island with my brother, and it has been definitely one of the most amazing places I have visited this summer. Here is a photo diary from our little escape from the city, enjoy!

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This is a small pond in Vallisaari. When looking to this scenery you totally forgot you are in a island middle of the sea.

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Vallisaari has served as a military base, and you can find many old buildings related to it around the island.

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In July 1937 there was a huge explosion accident in the island. Before opening the island to public it was carefully checked, but still some parts of the island may have explosives in the ground. For this reason the areas you are allowed to visit are clearly marked. I love how they have used for this thick ropes with sailor-minded design and not some metallic things to ruin the scenery.

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Nature in Vallisaari was so amazing and diverse. Some parts are so lush green, where as some parts are more barren.

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Amazing details every where – I just love everything old and rusty.

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Suomenlinna island is so close to Vallisaari that you can clearly see it. It was nice to see Suomenlinna from new direction, as usually you only see it from the other site.

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The history is present in so many details around the island. This metallic door was full of engravings. Look at the date – Jaavo Lehto 25.05.1924, amazing!

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The island has many places for you to have picnic and enjoy your brake. If you forgot to take your own food with you, there is nice small waffle bar Vallisaaren vohvelibaari, where you can enjoy salty and sweet waffles, or example these super refreshing organic lemonades. The only thing I was dissatisfied with the bar was their pricing – you should pay 12€ for waffles and these bottles cost 4€ each. I understand it is the only place open there and I like to support small local companies, but still the prices were way too high.

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From Vallisaari you can go to Kuninkaansaari, which is smaller island next to it. There was nice small beach in the other side of the island where many families were enjoying the sunny day and warm water. But definitely Vallisaari is the place to see and if you are in a hurry, then choose to skip Kuninkaansaari and not the main island Vallisaari.

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That`s my little brother ❤

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 You can go to Vallisaari with a small ferry, like the one in the photo. It takes only 20 minutes and you see during the trip Helsinki from the sea, so it is already something beautiful to see. The ferry compnay also offers Island hopping package which then jbcludes three islands with one ticket – Vallisaari, Suomenlinna and Lonna. If you end up doing that, remember to have good shoes on and a lot water and food with you, that trip will take all day.

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Have you already visited Vallisaari? And if not, please make a small escape from the city and visit this amazing place!

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Details of this travel tip

Vallisaari 
Waterbus from Kauppatori daily till 4th of September – tickets 7€

Timetable JT-line

 

Unplanned moments

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I love planning, but sadly I have learned this year, that often things do not go how you planned. This has not stopped me to plan things ahead, just I think that now a days I keep the plans I make more as a guide. I have example planned where I want to travel this autumn, but who knows what the autumn will bring in the end. While I have learned, that not everything goes like you plan, I have also learned this summer that the best moments many times are unplanned. Spontaneous moments, fast decisions which just feels good at that given moment.

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Last week I did one unplanned trip with a friend. It was a after work trip, and the only planning we did was checking the bus to the destination. Yeas, only to the destination, but not how to get back home. Smart and exiting. It was one of the best decisions in a long time, and totally unplanned. I ended up spending four hours laughing, talking, watching, listening,walking, eating  and relaxing. And all this 35 minutes away from the city, middle of amazing nature. When did you last time do something like this? And something like this without planning it?

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Ah, look the blueberries!! The forest was full of delicious berries, and I saw few people baskets full of chanterelles – so jealous!

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So where did we go? We went to the amazing Nuuksio National park. It was for me first time in the park even though I live so close to the park. Nuuksio national park is located in Uusimaa Region in the areas of Espoo, Kirkkonummi and Vihti. The park are is 55 square kilometers and you can reach the park easily with car or bus. We took the bus and arrived in 35 minutes from Leppävaara to the Espoo part of the park. You can start also from other parts of the park, and example Haltia – the Finnish Nature center is one of the most popular places to start your trip in the national park.

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Even though the park is not that huge, it somehow keeps so many amazing things inside it. There are beautiful valleys, steep ravines, rocks, groves, swamps and over 80 lakes and ponds. Sometimes  I felt like I was in in the lakeside, the other moment it felt more like Lapland. (Well I have not been in Lapland but, that is how I imagine it to look with all the dry up trees and barren landscape). You can have your brake in one oft he cooking shelters and camping sites, but you can also just choose your own spot and spend your brake sitting in a rock or in the end of a pier like we did.

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In the park marked trails and nature trails are between 1.5 and 17 km long and they vary from easy to difficult. You can also do biking and horse riding in marked trails. All the trails are very well marked and you can easily follow the chosen trail. There are numerous nature trails so you easily end up walking double the length of your trail as you want to go and check the trails. Well, at least this is what happened to us. Just be careful where you step, we ended up getting our feet wet as we did a little detour around one small pond.

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Add a little color to your life – stepping around feels so much better with Nikes in bright pink!

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We had our brake in the end of pier. It could not have been spot for a small brake, eating small snack and enjoying the lake view. And there were also cute ducks swimming around, one even try to come ashore from the pier while we were sitting there.

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You can also do fishing in the park. It was nice to see how dad taught his  son. Small precious moments.

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Details about this travel tip

Nuuksio National park / Nuuksion kansallispuisto 

In the north of Ring III Road (Kehä III) in areas of Espoo, Vihti and Kirkkonummi.

Start example from Haltia – the Finnish Nature Center.

I hope you have had a relaxing weekend,

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P.S How did we get home in the end without plan? Kind of hitchhiked our way back home..hups! Another unplanned moment and definitely worth the laugh we got afterwards.

Silence

I love city life but the city never sleeps. Sometimes you get exhausted by the noises and people and traffic and just everything around you. It is not that you want to move away, but you just need a little silence for a little moment. Yesterday I felt exactly like this, so I took the late afternoon train and traveled to the countryside. Lucky me, I have a dear friend who lives out of the city and has her home middle of the forest and fields. Just what I needed, a few hours without the city noises, just silence.

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Today yesterday feels like a dream. It is raining, and the news are full of deeply sad events once again. I wish we could love more and hate less.

// Eilen kaipasin hiljaisuutta. Myöhäinen iltapäivä, junalla maaseudulle ja hetki ystävän kanssa. Rakastetaan enemmän ja vihataan vähemmän.

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