Hey guys, well here we are with part one of our EPIC Finnish road trip. There will be four installments in total, covering 2281 kilometers of prime, Finnish soil, and featuring all manner of wildlife, strange sights and an accident - oo-er! Buckle your seatbelts, (yep, I went there) and let's get this show on the road!
I'm not much of an organiser. I'm just going to put that out there. My patience levels are, at best, minimal and maps just aren't my thing. I'm female, and as stereotypical as that is, I've always found it best to leave any navigational situations to Scott. I'm not even allowed to read directions out loud as my inability to differentiate between my left and right has caused many near, 'bumps and scrapes' in our travelling history together.
But... and it's a huge, enormous, pride-bursting, but...
I took to Google maps, the world wide interwebz and alcohol, and with hardly any major breakdowns, I planned us a route:
With just over three days and the wind in our sails, we were set to cover as much ground as possible, plus, we were armed with a rock solid itinerary that was entirely fool-proof... well, almost!
Day 1 (Thursday)
We hit the road late Thursday. Scott arrived home from work around 6pm and we frantically loaded up the camper van with our many bags and boxes of, 'road trip essentials.' We were eager to hit the open road and cover a good amount of ground before the day drew in to a close.
The first stop in our sights was the town of Savonlinna, situated in the south-east of Finland. The drive took us around three and a half hours as we ended up getting stuck at a draw bridge, mere meters away from where we intended to stop. It was worth it for the impressive views of Olavinlinna castle though.
As we arrived around 10pm, we only managed to admire the castle from the outside. Savonlinna hosts an annual opera festival which was taking place whilst we were there and had we had longer than a few days to plan our trip, we would have tried to schedule in seeing one of the shows inside the castle.
Despite being host to an event, the streets and park surrounding the castle were still relatively quiet and we took the opportunity to stretch our legs before hitting the road again.
The calm before the storm...
See that above cheese-fest of a picture... That didn't last long. As we waved our goodbyes to Savonlinna, we clambered into our home on wheels and had our first, road-trippers tiff. Scott, being blessed with the button-bashing skills of a mischievous toddler, decided to tamper with the on-board 'hub' and left us minus electricity. To say I wasn't amused is probably a misrepresentation of facts. An hour's worth of translating Finnish camper van instructions and Googling camper van FAQs later, we were back in business; albeit with tempers a little more frayed than what they were when we set off.
Two hours of additional driving and two roast chicken sandwiches later, we found a cosy spot just outside of Kuopio to make our bed for the night. Brushing my teeth with a soggy, soap-laden toothbrush sealed the deal on our first day of travel.
With an alarm set for 9am, and Kuopio set firmly in our sights, we fell asleep, excited for the next day's adventures to begin.
P.S. - I can vouch for the fact that leaked Clinique skincare products taste absolutely vile!