Kokkola calling

This summer our “Lost in Finland” drive’s direction was Pohjanmaa and the town of Kokkola, on the western coast some 500 km from Helsinki. Kokkola is a charming town with a most beautiful district of old, well-kept wooden houses. In the 17th century Kokkola was a big exporter of tar to Europe. Today tar is not the sought after commodity it used to be, but in other areas the town’s vital industrial tradition still continues.
And hey, this is the home town of our good friends Arnon and Kati.

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Suntin venevajat

suntin salmi
The boat houses of Suntti decorate the shores of the narrow inlet that was the gate to the town of Kokkola in the 17th century.

The old bridge over the Suntti inlet is known as the “Pususilta”, the kissing bridge, where couples place a lock and throw the keys to the water to demonstrate their belief in the eternal love…

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kokkola vanhakaupunki_1

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The old part of Kokkola, Neristan, was a beautiful surprise. Even after having visited the old towns in Porvoo, Loviisa and Rauma, this one made a great impression on me. It is much less known in Finland, perhaps because of it’s location, some 500 km north of Helsinki. Not many foreign or local tourists will find their way there. But if you are ever going up north, it certainly is worth a visit.

This used to be the sailors’ street in the 1600s.

_MG_0545One of the town’s oldest streets dates back to 1665.vaivaisukko

A wooden statuette called “Vaivaisukko” is a feature that stands in front of almost any old church, especially in Pohjanmaa . It is used to collect donations for the poor. This Beautiful figure decorates the old wooden church of Kronoby on the outskirts of Kokkola. The church was built in the late 1800s.

Arnon ja kati
Our great hosts in town were our friends Arnon and Kati. Here at their summer cabin, a few minutes’ drive from their home. Thank you guys for a great hospitality and for opening our eyes to yet another beautiful spot in Finland.

Muhu, an Estonian island

When I told my friends I am going to Muhu, many asked me where on earth is a place like that. Everyone in Finland is familiar with Saarenmaa but the tiny island on the way to its big sister is often passed by without even noticing. Well, it can happen easily as there is a bridge connection between these two islands so many consider Muhu to be part of Saarenmaa.
Tönise majatalo Muhu Viro

But Muhu is indeed worth visiting and has its own characteristics with its windmills, stone fences and its special colors. Muhu museum is a must too. It is not a dusty archive but a village style yard where the history starting from the 17th century is told in a practical way.

We came to Muhu to make an article about Muhu veinitalo which would well earn a post of its own but we stayed in this wonderful Tönise majataloTönise majatalo Muhu Viro Tönise majatalo Muhu Viro Tönise majatalo Muhu ViroTönise majatalo Muhu ViroMuhuTönise majatalo Muhu ViroTönise majatalo Muhu Viro

A lovely Finnish lady, Soile, runs the place. She left her job as a photographer and pursued her dream, bought a ruin of an old stone house and renovated it  and its surroundings into a beautiful guest house.
Tönise majatalo Muhu ViroSoile has sheep for the whole family to enjoy.
Tönise majatalo Muhu ViroIn this video you can see how fast the sheep run when they love their owner 🙂

So here we found a new hidden pearl (quite a list already!) and the price is very affordable. Two nights will cost 70 euros including country style breakfast. Other nice places to stay in Muhu is Vanatoa where I stayed last year together with my daughters and my mom when I was making this Iltasanomat article from the island. Also the famous manor Padaste is located nearby. Its kitchen has been elected the best in Estonia many times in a row. I had a very nice dinner there last year and my mom loved especially the desserts which weren’t too sweet such as the cheese cake with blueberries.

Galleria Palmu

juhani palmu gallry 4 The traditional exploration trip’s direction this summer was Pohjanmaa (Ostrobothnia). The region is located on the western coast of central Finland and is known for its flat lands, agriculture, rivers and tough men. On one late morning drive we crossed the lovely old village of Alahärmä searching for a nice place to have a coffee break. We noticed a small sign promising “Kahvi ja Pulla” (coffee and bun) and drove carefully into a small farm yard. Lovely Leila came right away to greet us and suggested that while she’ll put the coffee on, we take a look in the small granaries and farm sheds around the yard as they were transferred into art galleries. Soon enough we noticed that all the art works were done by Juhani Palmu , a famous artist and celebrity who is best known for his paintings of Pohjanmaa landscapes. We stepped into the main house to join a few other guests who already sat around the coffee table enjoying freshly backed buns, coffee and strawberries that were picked from the farm’s garden. And there, silently sitting in his arm chair was the maestro himself. Beautiful light from two opposite windows carefully created an image I knew that I had to capture. We had a nice chat with Leila and Juhani and the other guests, hearing some of the interesting history of this beautiful place. Thank you Leila and Juhani for your hospitality. This coffee break will be remembered! leila palmu and paints juhani palmu gallery 1 juhani palmu gallery 3   juhani palmu galley 2 juhani palmu 7.2015 in his summer gallery juhani palmu galleria and buns