• Finland,  Kuusamo

    Ajakka – Reindeers, nature and magic of the Finnish north in Kuusamo


    This year has been very exceptional in many ways and one of the exceptions is that I haven’t written any travel plans for this year on purpose. All of our travels have been only inside our home country Finland and even those weren’t planned ahead, at least not a lot.

    The first longer trip of this year was our road trip from Tampere to Kuusamo. We had a few ups and downs on the road and our car faced a few problems, so we had to stay overnight in Kuopio on the way, but finally in the end we made it all the way to Kuusamo and to the peaceful lakeside of lake Ajakka.

    Ajakka offers idyllic accommodation and tourism services with northern activities and lies right next to the lake Ajakka, 40km from Kuusamo and 18km from the Ruka Ski Resort. Ajakka Bed & Breakfast is created in an old wooden village school, two historic old buildings and a few rustic cabins. There is plenty of great things and activities to do and the place offers something for everyone.


    ACCOMMODATION AND LOCAL FOOD INSIDE AN OLD VILLAGE SCHOOL

    This old village school that consists of two big wooden buildings offers beautiful and different sized rooms with a private kitchenette for accommodation in the middle of the northern countryside. There is also a restaurant for up to 50 people and the restaurant offers local traditional Finnish food made with love by the owners. The food is hunted, fished and collected locally and the goal of this B&B is to be as self-sufficient as possible. The restaurant also provides food for vegans and other special diets.

    The owner Miia Oikarainen is also famous for beeing on the TV Show Farmer wants a wife, where she found her partner Kimmo. Now Miia runs the Ajakka B&B with his help and you can feel the love of this family all around the area as they have put their heart and soul into every detail of the place. In addition to running this place, Miia is also a batch guide, a game manager and a passionate chef. The most important values of Ajakka are naturalness, self-sufficiency and respect for nature.


    NATURE ACTIVITIES AND GENTLE STEAMS IN THE SAUNA

    Ajakka offers many activities to do and to enjoy in the summer and in the winter. They offer guided services around the surroundings and you can also just ask for the best local secrets and tips. In the summertime Ajakka offers canoes and rowing boats if you want to go enjoy the lake, where you can also go swimming whenever you want. In the wintertime you can dip into the icey lake to refresh your body after enjoying the warmth of a 100-year-old wooden sauna. Next to the sauna there is also a jacuzzi. For a relaxing evening snack you can grill some sausage under one of the atmospheric huts outside. If you like skiing, there is only a short car ride to the amazing hills of the Ruka Ski Resort.


    REINDEERS, GOATS AND OTHER ANIMALS RIGHT OUTSIDE YOUR DOOR

    If you aren’t convinced yet, then what about having your own reindeers right outside your door? In the middle of Ajakka lives beautiful reindeers with their little friend Tellu the rabbit. It was so much fun to look at the reindeers and Tellu the rabbit together as they really enjoy eachothers company. I am a big bunny lover, because I used to have bunnies before.

    Also living on the yard there are two goats, Hynynen and Kyllikki, who really like the attention. In addition to all these fantastic animals, there are chicken, a rooster, dogs and cats and they all love to be petted and talked to.

    It was such a dream to wake up every morning and go outside to say hello to all these cute animals. If I didn’t travel this much, I would have so many furry friends too. My travel partners and I used to laugh a lot during this trip that we didn’t look the time once while being here. We just lived in the moment and embraced life as it is. No rush to anything and just figure out the daily activities and exploring as we felt comfortable.


    NATURE ATTRACTIONS FOR THE SUMMER AND THE WINTER

    I don’t like skiing so we didn’t go the Ruka Ski Resort, we only drove passed it. The center of Kuusamo isn’t really that fantastic either so this being said, the attraction of Kuusamo is definitely the surrounding nature and the nature activities. There are lakes, rivers, mountains and National Parks. We went to explore the nearby Oulanka National Park and its amazing forest and rapids. We also climbed the beautiful mountain of Riisitunturi and went on an unforgettable husky safari to see some adorable huskies. I will be making separate blog posts about these places later, because not everything fun can be packed into one single post, right?


    LOCAL FOOD AND SELF-SUFFIENCY WITH LOVE

    As I already told before, Ajakka has a nice reastaurant. The restaurant can cater up to fifty people and it offers local food that is very traditional Finnish food. They also cater very well to special diets and vegans for example, so even if you can’t find a suitable dish on the menu, feel free to ask for options. Now, during the covid, the restaurant is unfortunately closed, but you can still order your meals to your room. I did get to take a look at the restaurant and for the future knowledge it is very charming and I can’t wait to go back and eat inside the restaurant.


    REST FOR THE SOUL AND MIND IN THE COUNTRYSIDE

    This one day sitting in the hot sauna I couldn’t help but to wonder how wonderful it has been to relax, enjoy the peace and quiet of the nature and countryside and forget all the outside stress and anxiety and the news of the world. The animals, the nature and the magic of the north truly saves the soul – even this hectic soul.


    I wish to return to Ajakka next time in the summertime to enjoy the lake and go swimming and canoeing. The Oulanka National Park also left a lot to explore and let’s face it, you can never spend enough time with the adorable huskies. 🙂

    Book you Ajakka holiday: Ajakka Website



    Have you ever been to Finland and to Lapland? Would you like to visit someday? Tell me in the comment box below! 🙂

    <3: Tiina Johanna

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  • Spain,  Valencia

    VIVA VALENCIA!


    *This article contains affiliate links

    Greetings from the sunshine!

    Last sunday we finally arrived in Spain and firstly to Valencia, which was a perfect choice for a great city break in the sun. The weather has been fantastic and the people here are so kind and lovely. Right now I am enjoying the hot 30 degree weather by the beach and sipping my cold mango frappe, soon I will have to go for a refreshing swim in the ocean!


    We have been spending a lot of time on the beach chilling and enjoying the weather. This city is also great for walking around, sightseeing and for example riding the bike everywhere. Our lovely AirBnb home is located right next to the beach area in the old fisherman’s area called El Cabanyal. All the buildings are so versatile, beautiful, historic and soulful in this neighbourhood. If you like historic places, you should definitely also explore the historical city centre of Valencia, called El Carmen. It is so beautiful with it’s wonderful architechture and sights!


    We have enjoyed many meals out in different restaurants and our stomachs are already so full of great tapas and wine. The famous spanish dish paella is originally from Valencia, so this is the best place to eat paella! Everything is very cheap here, because Valencia is not quite as touristic as for example Barcelona. You should always go where the locals go for food though, because they know the best places and otherwise you might end up in a more expensive tourist trap. If you stay at a rental home like us, it’s also a great option to cook at home once in a while, because the food and wine is very cheap in the markets and shops as well.


    I really recommend Valencia for everyone. It is a warm, beautiful and historic city with lots to see and to do. There are modern and old city vibes and wonderful beaches, delicious food and cheap prizes.

    Check out the best local activities and guided tours for Valencia region here:


    <3: Tiina Johanna