• FINLAND
  • Same Trails Different Season

    Tiina Kivelä

    Yesterday I told you about trail running in Ounasvaara on summer, which made me realize that I haven’t even told you about the winter trail running in Rovaniemi! Which is almost as good – maybe even better – as the summer version.

    Just look at the snowy landscape from past February in here.

    In winter, the best option for everyday trail running up here is to follow what’s called as the “winter walking trail” in the Ounasvaara hill next to the city. Starting from the city, you first run up from the left side of the other end of Jätkänkynttilä bridge (the starting point in my guide in here) to the observation tower and resting point, with fireplace and dry wood (on a good day). From there, you continue a bit more up and then right, to the mast and Sky Ounasvaara Hotel, from the south-east corner of which (really, go to the exact corner of the hotel – it’s hard to believe but the path really goes from there) you may continue to the signed (poorly though) winter walking loop trail of appr. 6km. (You may upload the GPS track from here.)

    At the end of the loop, when you reach the cross-country trail “entrance” and parking lot, you may turn right and continue the rest of the loop trail back to Sky Ounasvaara and go back the city along the same trail you came up. Or you may as well turn left here, and continue downhill past Santasport, directly to the city and sauna and after run beers.

    Please note that running on cross-country tracks is strictly prohibited in Finland (as it ruins the tracks and is dangerous as well) and that there are also many MTB trails in the area, along which you can basically run, though I wouldn’t recommend that either (again for the security reasons).

    I know, since the MTB trails are better signed than the hiking/walking trails and for few other reasons they are very tempting for running and walking (I’ll write about biking those a bit later), but still, better to keep on the walking paths when running/hiking. For that, in addition to the winter walking path, the snowshoe tracks found in the area, especially the ones made by big tour groups, are an excellent option. They are rarely, if ever, marked, but offer a nice adventure as long as you find your way out of the forest in the end/when getting hungry. And of course, the snowshoe walking is also a nice activity to try, if you fancy that.

    I really hope that the current work they are doing on improving the overall signalization of the nature trails in the city will help and all the trails will be better marked and tempting in the future, as currently even I get lost here from time to time.

    The views are worth a detour or two, though. Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Where: Ounasvaara, Rovaniemi, Lapland

     

  • FINLAND
  • The Other Home Of Mine

    Tiina Kivelä

    I’ve been back to arctic tundra (also known as Lapland, my home) a few days now and as mentioned already, been eating and drinking well. And to earn all that eating and drinking, I’ve been running around Rovaniemi; road running by the river, and trail running on the Ounasvaara trails, an example of which in here.

    The path below is really for biking and since I wasn’t on a bicycle (this time), I have to apologize for the collision danger caused by my unresponsible actions. Normally I really do go according to the written and unwritten rules – and advice you to do the same, as it’s good for everyone – but up here, I just can’t help it and end up running everywhere. (Luckily though the summer season up north is quite quiet still, so I had the trails all to myself this time.)

    After the long periods in Switzerland, I’m always so excited to be back to the flatlands and mellow hills and fjells of Lapland – the air here is so fresh and the uphills so smooth. Not to mention the midnight sun, which messes up your sleep and allows running around whatever hour of the day or night (good way to get the most out of the messed up sleep patterns).

    Oh, and it’s also easy to make pace records here, at least compared to the Alps.

    All the vanity…

    Tiina Kivelä

    Ps. The trails are more than nice for some semi-urban hiking as well. But please note that the signalization is a bit outdated and confusing – new, a better system should be up next year though – so take a map with you when going.


    Where: Rovaniemi 66°N, Lapland, Finland (guide)

  • BLOG
  • Nightless Night Luxury in Rovaniemi

    Tiina Kivelä Hyvä retki

    A strong warm wind messing up my hair. The bright sun which makes all the blonde hair and blue eyes around me shine like the finest of silk and the most exotic of jewels. Street covered with umbrellas and people of all ages dancing salsa on a roof terrace. The bars serving their own signature Negronis.

    Where am I?

    Late last night, sitting in a new restaurant in Rovaniemi, in the Arctic Circle, far up north, I couldn’t help thinking that although small, the scenes of the evening could have happened in any modern city in the world. Or well, in the hipster quarters. We could have been in Stockholm, Copenhagen, Bilbao, even Zürich. At least until the night came and the sun didn’t show any signs of going down. The signature of Lapland.

     I landed here on Wednesday and so far it’s been a perfect summer getaway, despite few confusions. I’ve gotten into sauna – taking care of my wellness – and running in the trails of Ounasvaara. And I’ve had a lovely adult evening, first having drinks at the roof terrace Mökki, of Hostel Café Koti (which is definitely not the kind of hostel you’re used to) and continuing the evening to the recently opened Roka Wine & Kitchen, the second establishment of the par behind another Rovaniemi favorite of mine, Roka Street Bistro.

    While Mökki is the best terrace in town, with dance lessons, palju and sauna option (though just today a rival will be opened by the guys behind Café Bar 21 and Yuca, other favourites of mine) Roka Wine & Kitchen made the best first impression I’ve ever had with a restaurant/wine bar. Excellent wine selection and service (don’t ask for wine list, ask for staff which acts as the walking and talking winelist), stylish decoration (check especially the tableware and the counter covered with white tiles) and simple yet delicious menu, comprised mostly of local ingredients.

    These made a perfect day already, but for my two week’s Lapland trip I have also on my list the gelateria of Cafe Bar 21 – the closest establishment of which I have very conveniently close my northern home – an activity day at Kesärafla, pizza’s at Pure Pizza, drinks and maybe a breakfast in Arctic Light Hotel, the current exhibitions at Korundi, and a trip or two further up north, to the national parks and my family.

    I’ve pinned all my Rovaniemi tips in the map, link to which below the pics, and will be updating all my Lapland tips during these weeks, so stay tuned for more Lapland adventures and tips, which I hope will be helpful if and when you will pay for this awesome place and the midnight sun (fyi, this year the nightless nights season in Rovaniemi is from June 6th to July 7th) a visit some day.

    Until that, adventure, eat and drink well.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä Hyvä retki

     

    Tiina Kivelä Hyvä retki

    Tiina Kivelä


    Where: Rovaniemi, guide

    Roka Kitchen & Winebar Koskikatu 8

    Mökki, Valtakatu 21