We have been in Finland now for over two weeks and are loving the natural beauty. While it lacks the dramatic beauty of Norway’s high mountains and deep fjords, it more than makes up for it in calm lakes, dense forests and miles upon miles of untouched nature. It’s hard to describe but has a really nice feeling to it. All the towns we’ve stopped at have been centered around the natural environment, making exploring easy and accessible. While driving south from Rovaniemi, we stopped overnight at a rest stop and woke up to this view. How do we keep getting so lucky??
The next day we continued, stopping after a few hours at Kattivankkuri campground near Sotkamo. We had planned on stating just two nights but tonight is our fifth night and we’ll stay at least one more… We happened upon a ski resort town with great hiking, kind people and fun things to do. And one of the great things about our trip is we are super flexible–we have literally no plans. No places we need to be, no reservations, no schedule. It is so freeing. The girls absolutely love the campground because it has a big playground, a playroom and lots of space to run.
There is also a kitchen here, so I took advantage of the opportunity to make some french fries for the girls. I made them once in the camper but the combination of the open flame and huge amount of oil made Steffen and I very nervous. There is an electric stove in the kitchen, so it felt much safer!
On Saturday afternoon, we were able to (reluctantly, with much whining) get the girls to go on a hike up to the top of the ski hill behind the campground. It was gorgeous! First we walked through a beautiful forest.
We emerged from the forest into the fields of the ski slopes and every few feet we got higher, you could see more and more lakes! It was incredible. Olivia and Luisa were playing some game, so they remained in good spirits. Hannah and Charlotte complained–they were thirsty, they were hot, it was too far, etc, etc, etc. All we could do was laugh, encourage them and keep going. I think in the end they were happy to have gone. And they (probably? hopefully? unlikely) learned to bring their water bottles….
You can just see our campground down near the lake. The large clip of white in the bottom center of the photo.
I was browsing through Instagram the other day, and read about a family that decided three years ago to do Sunday hikes. I was inspired so am hoping to get weekly hikes going for us. They don’t have to be long or involved, but just the six of us out in nature for a few hours every week. I will post about them on Instagram with the #weeklyfamilyhikes, in case you want to follow along or join in!
And one more little story: homeschooling is going well still, though sometimes it is hard to get motivated in the morning. 🙂 Olivia made this backpack and notebook for her unicorn so she would have as friend in her class. I love her creativity! And her engineering skills.