Snowshoeing in Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park (Finland)

At the beginning of this year, we went for a winter hike in Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park in Finnish Lapland. We went there by car from the Rovaniemi area. Although we started a bit late in the day we still caught some nice hours, seeing the sun go down and even some northern lights!

img_7937

With the car on the way!

Surprisingly, we didn’t see any reindeer next to the road (except for one in captivity in Levi). It’s good that none went on the road, but I would have liked to see them from afar since everyone is talking about how they are everywhere in Lapland!

img_7941

img_8068

At the visitor centre, we hired one pair of snowshoes (we had already brought another one) for 15 Euros (for the whole day). It was a nice place, you can also buy tea or souvenirs there and find out more about the national park.

img_7950

img_7960

At first, we walked on the ‘regular’ snow, which was much harder than walking on the path, like we did later. Uphill was especially tough sometimes!

img_7965

img_7990

img_7996

img_7997

There was a place with many huts that we came to at some point. It seemed very nice, also to stay in them in summer! I don’t think people stay there in winter, it’s way too cold!

img_8001

img_8015

img_7993

Then we came to Orava Ave (‘Squirrel Ave’) where those funny sculptures are placed. Unfortunately, it was too cold to get my fingers out to handle the camera properly, so I was just hoping for the best!

img_8020

img_8025

img_8030

img_8036

img_8046

img_8053

img_8066

Back to the (then closed) hotel and the visitor centre!

img_8072

img_8087

On our way back we went to a viewpoint to take some photos of the aurora. We had read about how to take those pictures with long exposure settings and it really looked beautiful! But my toes were almost freezing off! (I’m glad they didn’t)

It was a great day and I think this National Park is a very beautiful and enjoyable place to visit any time of the year! I’m happy that I got to see it in a wonderful winter!

Rovaniemi, Finland

Two days after visiting Oulu (see my last post) we went from the cottage (Mökki!) near Rovaniemi to see the city centre. There weren’t that many people because it was the first day of the year.

Before we went to the centre we went up Ounasvaara, where you can ski and do all kinds of sports. We went up to the hotel rooftop and saw some remains of the New Year’s Eve party that must have taken place there the night before!

img_7808

img_7813

Then we went to the centre and took pictures. Not many shops were open and there were some groups of tourists. It was nice and not too cold to walk around. We also had some coffee in a coffee shop.

img_7820

img_7833

It was -8 degrees to be exact!

img_7847

 

img_7853

img_7867

 

img_7884

 

img_7888

The german translation seems a bit funny, but we get what they mean!

 

img_7889

“Reindeer man’s road” hihi

 

Then we had some time left and went to see the Santa Claus Village. It was very touristic, but I it’s also nice for people who love Christmas and kids! It’s supposed to be open the whole year, so you can always have Christmas there. People go and take photos with Santa or buy gifts and souvenirs.

 

img_7902

img_7909

img_7914

We saw some animals, too, that was nice. Although I did feel a bit sorry for them!

img_7921

img_7930

During my whole time in Lapland, I didn’t even see one reindeer in nature. And people say they are everywhere!

 

 

 

Oulu, Finland

This winter we went from Helsinki to (Finnish) Lapland via Oulu. This was the cheapest option: we took a plane from Helsinki to Oulu, then a bus to Rovaniemi. Both times, on the way there and back, we had some hours to see Oulu. The first time it was rainy (30th of Dec 2016) and the second time (4th of Jan) it was snowy and very cold!

I liked the town, even though the second time it was windy and freezing (in my home country temperatures hardly go below -10!). I found the statue of Toripolliisi funny and cute and took many pictures of it (or him).

img_7639

 

img_8197

 

I think the sign says that postcards sent from the market hall next to Toripolliisi will have a stamp with him on it.

Here are some pictures of the market hall:

img_8239

img_7635

img_8199

We had some salmon soup in the market hall (twice, actually, because it was so good!) which included (delicious) bread and butter. The price was € 7,90. The only thing I didn’t like was that you had to pay a euro for going to the bathroom, even if you were a customer.

img_8205

img_7643

Some more images from the area around Toripolliisi, there even was a skating rink on the market square. Some dangerously living person was biking on it.

img_8233

img_8216

img_8208

img_8224

 

img_8247

Statue in the centre

I would definitely go back to Oulu to see more of it and have more salmon soup!

 

img_8210

Once more Toripolliisi!

 

 

Travel Memories – Canal Lachine, Montreal

This is more a photography post than one about travelling. We went to take pictures at Canal Lachine in Montreal in December 2014 and we caught the perfect day for doing so!

img_2617

img_2619

img_2621

img_2626

img_2630

img_2635

img_2646

img_2648

img_2650

img_2656

img_2661

img_2675

img_2696

img_2698

img_2716-1

img_2748

img_2755

It was a very enjoyable walk and I recommend going there when being in Montreal! Now I want snow even more, but it’s not snowing this year, apart from one short time. I guess Canada has more snow than Austria!

Travel Memories – Québec City

Almost exactly two years ago I went to Québec City. I was there once before that trip, but that time had been in summer. So Québec City in snow was a first for me!

I went with friends by car from Montreal and we stayed in a nice hostel named Auberge Maeva. Our trip lasted one weekend. I really liked seeing the city in snow and for people who like Christmas decorations, it’s a great place to go to! Québec looks even cuter in the time before Christmas.

img_2126

img_2141

img_2144

Skating rink

img_2161

A pub we went to shortly

img_2171-1

img_2183

img_2184

img_2222

Chateau Frontenac

img_2226

Funny little restaurant building 🙂

I’m not that happy with the sky on my pictures, I hope I am better at taking photos now. Back then I had only bought a better (amateur DSLR) camera a few weeks before and was still figuring it out!

After visiting Québec we went to see the Montmorency falls, it looked amazing in snow!

img_2328

img_2246

After writing this post I feel two things: I’m missing Canada and I’m wishing for snow. Unfortunately, here in Austria, I might have to wait a bit longer! If you have the chance to go see Québec City in winter I suggest you give it a go, it’s really worth a visit!

Travel Tip: Riegersburg and Zotter Chocolate Factory (Austria)

Our trip to Riegersburg and Zotter Chocolate Factory was about a year ago, in November 2015 and we had beautiful weather. I really recommend going there in autumn because of the colours, it just looks amazing.

Both, Riegersburg and the chocolate factory, are in the same area, easily reached from Graz. Graz is located in Styria, South of Austria.

img_4653

First, we went to Riegersburg and had Pizza at the restaurant (“Seehaus”) at the lake. The lake looked so nice, it must be fun to swim there in summer. Then we drove to the castle Riegersburg, parked in the town and walked up. We had to pay a fee at the entrance. I remember we couldn’t go inside the castle because it was too late in the year, but we enjoyed the place and the views anyway! Please check their website before visiting because opening times can change.

img_4665

img_4670

img_4678

Funny dude watching us

img_4682

img_4684

Afterwards, we drove to Zotter chocolate factory and did the tour (we had booked it before by calling). These are the prices.

img_4694

You get to see a short film about the history of Zotter Factory and then the tour begins. Ours was with audio guides and the best part is that you get to taste tons of different kinds of chocolate! Even hot chocolate and really weird ones with Tequila for example. I especially remember the Tequila one being pretty good, so I bought some in the shop later to take it home. Also their Soja white chocolate, it’s very tasty!

img_4695

img_4702

Last, we went to the zoo (price is included in admission) and looked at some animals. Unfortunately, it has gotten dark, so we couldn’t see some animals anymore. There were bunnies, pigs, horses, goat, …

img_4710

I really recommend visiting the area! There also are many different walks you can do and it’s especially beautiful in autumn. Maybe go a bit earlier than we did, to still see the inside of the castle Riegersburg! Also, there are many more things to see and do in the area, so we might even go there again some time!

Links

Riegersburg (Their homepage had some troubles loading fully in my browser, but if it works in yours, you can click on “Deutsch” and change the language this way!)

Seehaus Riegersburg

Zotter

If you like ham, Vulcano Schinken is close and easily reached by car.

A Walk In The National Park Gesäuse, Austria

Hello readers!

Two days ago we went on a trip to see the (Stift) Admont Library in Styria, Austria and afterwards the national park Gesäuse, which is pretty close to Admont. The national park was beautiful, even though it was cloudy. The mountains looked amazing, the tops covered with snow in combination with the colourful trees.

First, we parked at Stift Admont and went to see the library and museums. This is their website. We paid the student entrance fee (5,80 euros), the regular entrance fee is 10 euros. We also paid for one photography ticket (5 euros), so we would be able to take photos of the library. I asked and they told me that I can’t publish those photos online (or anywhere else). The library is great to see, still. Here is a link with official photos.

img_6709

Admont, church next to the monastery

After eating in Admont, at Gasthaus Kamper (Kamper restaurant), which offers warm food even after lunch time (we went there at like 3pm), we went off to the national park!

The following pictures are from our stop at the Eisenbahnbrücke, where I assume the rafting starts in summer!

img_6775

img_6781

There we only walked around a bit, since we were both recovering from having a cold! I’d like to go there another time, to hike properly. The map we got at the information centre in Admont showed many great trails!

We parked at the junction where you can take a right to Johnsbach (coming from Admont). There is also a rafting centre (something I’d really like to try in the area!).

img_6822

img_6818

We walked at the river to take photos and then went on the ‘Leierweg’, which offers benches and games (I’d recommend going there with children, they would clearly enjoy that!). It is also accessible with a wheelchair, as the sign said. It is going upwards for a longer time, though.

img_6861

One of the games, we couldn’t get the ring on the poles, just from very close!

img_6857

A place to relax in the woods

img_6893

Colourful trees!

It ends at a very nice viewpoint and you can get water from a well on the way.

img_6900

Viewpoint with hut

img_6883

View from inside the hut

Then we drove to see the campsite (‘Campingplatz Forstgarten Gstatterboden’) and I decided to maybe go there some time with a group of friends and then hike in the area. In summer, of course. You can also rent a hut there, but on Friday everything was empty. The season is over, with the cold coming.

img_6911

The empty campsite (it even has a beach volleyball court – on the right!)

I have to say I enjoyed being in the national park a lot. It’s very beautiful and it was a calm day, without many visitors!

Link

National park Gesäuse

Travel Memories – Botanical Garden, Montreal

This post is going to be about my trip to the botanical garden in Montreal (“Jardin Botanique”). I went there twice in October 2014, the day pictures are from my first, the night pictures from the second time. I think the botanical garden is very beautiful and I’d recommend everyone to go there when visiting the city. I found out online that “Gardens of Light” takes place in 2016, too: Link

If you are in or close to Montreal, you should check it out!

img_0418

In the Japanese Garden

img_0439

In the Chinese Garden

img_0441

img_0451

img_0556

Exhibition about insects, also very interesting to see!

img_0594

img_0630

At night it even looked more amazing!

img_0669

I would definitely go again if I visit Montreal once more. Judging from this link I haven’t seen all of it anyway!

Hiking In (Lower) Austria

So I went on a hike this September (about two weeks ago) in Lower Austria, to be more exact at Schoberalm. I took a train to Wiener Neustadt, where I got picked up and then off we went, after parking the car close to Haltberg.

img_6514

Start of the hike, through nice forests

img_6523

I like my country, but I find it easier to see the beauty in other countries, on my travels. It’s probably because I am used to seeing the views in Austria, all my life. Of course, I can’t see mountains every day, even if sometimes people believe that Austrians live in the mountains. I do live in a city!

When trying to see the beauty of my own country it helps to look through my camera lens. I’ve been watching the British TV show “The Hoarder Next Door” once or twice lately (just for relaxation after busy days, and yes, I’m a bit ashamed when admitting it) and in one episode the psychologist tells a hoarder to take pictures of the mess, to realise it fully. It’s a bit like that with me and Austrian views.

So, we went to Schoberalm, parked the car and hiked up. It was an easy hike most of the time, just when going up it was a bit hard. It took us 5 hours, but we had a (great!) lunch break at Öhlerschutzhaus with mushroom sauce and dumplings.

img_6521

img_6526

img_6529

Great for refilling water bottles!

img_6532

Funny looking tree in the middle of the meadow

img_6537

Short break before hiking up there

img_6542

img_6544

From Schoberalm you can nicely see Schneeberg (“snow mountain”- not covered in snow in September!) and very far. It was a clear and warm (but not hot) day and I enjoyed it very much!

img_6550

img_6556

When hiking down from Öhlerschutzhaus we took a road, and I think there would have been nicer ways to walk down again (there were a few options to pick from). Still, there were some nice views, like this one:

img_6569

All in all, it’s a great hike to relax a bit and get away from the city. It’s not very challenging and has amazing views. I recommend hiking in the area highly!

 

Links

This is not the exact hike we did, but about the area (only partly in English): Bergfex

This link is in English and also about the area: Summitpost