July 01, 2003 GMT
Finland - Part 1

As you may have gathered from my previous remarks about the countries I visited, it had been a very positive experience. So positive in fact, that the boat trip to Helsinki started with a "rude reminder" that I was back in familiar territory: the price of beer had quadrupled. - Just as well - drinking and driving really do not mix.

I arrived in Helsinki without problems (a super fast ferry, 1 1/2 hour for a stretch of approx. 100 km). Here I re-entered the more traditional form of living that I had been so used to before I went on my trip: I received a warm welcome by the Teinilä Family.


Teinlia.jpg

"My generous hosts in Helsinki"


"Click for larger version of this picture"

Timo and I had been colleagues a long time ago; more recently, we had some common business contacts and we have mutual friends in Switzerland ("Gruezi" to the Schurr Family in Horgen). When Timo heard about my trip earlier this year, he extended a spontaneous invitation to stop over at his place.

After being on the road for about six weeks, I spent four great days at his family's home just outside of Helsinki. I still do not know what I enjoyed more, the beautiful location of their house just above a small bay of the Helsinki archipelago, the fun of entertaining the two children Ramona and Arn with paper folds (specialty: paper gliders....), the fact that I had access to a fast internet line, or the washing machine... - I am getting carried away, here. It was certainly the warm and generous welcome by the Teinlä's which I totally enjoyed.

I came to Helsinki just in time for the mid-summer celebrations (20th to 22nd of June) - THE national summer holiday with lots of bonfires and even more alcohol (generally speaking - not in our case). We went on tour around the city, but unfortunately the weather was "unsupportive": it was cold, overcast and it was rainy - This is probably the reason that this year only 2 people drowned as a result of inebriation. A widely observed statistic in Finland, as I was told....


bonfire_hesinki.jpg

"Many such bonfires in celebration of mid-summer"


The next day I explored the city of Helsinki, in particular the area around the harbor. I took a ferry to visit the historic fortress "Suomenlinna": a short ferry ride (15 minutes or so) gets one to four islands which were originally connected and fortified in defense of Helsinki/Finland. The place is very large and I only saw the main island and fortification. Still, a real attraction - worthy of visit - and one also gets a tour of the harbor, a home for many cruise ships.


Suomenlinna_view.jpg

"The Suomenlinna Fortifications protecting Helsinki Harbor"


"Click for more historic facts about Suomenlinna"

Helsinki_habor.jpg

"Helsinki Habor"


After four enjoyable days with the Teinilä family I decided that I was time to move on (I was also running out of ideas for making paper folds for the children.....). At the recommendation of my guests, I went north towards the city of Jyväskylä. A scenic route - carefully planned and stored on the GPS. Well.....I messed up the stored data, took a wrong turn and missed some of the scenic stretches. But, in the end, I still arrived.

I found a very nice very nice campground near the town of Keuruu. What was probable the best aspect about my stay there, was the public library and the free Internet access it provided. I was able to up-load my "Baltic Report" and establish contact with the "horizonsunlimited" community in Kajaani, Finland - namely Heikki Lukkari.


Keuruu_library.jpg

"Keuruu Public Library - beautifully located"


Heikki Lukkari proved to be a valuable contact. He recommended two camping sites and he was especially helpful with regard to interpreting some of the information on the BMW website for Finland. I needed an oil change for the GS and was looking for some dealer that could do it. I had already identified one in Oulu (on the Baltic coast up north) but I was not sure about what the offered etc. Heikki confirmed though that the name I had found before was indeed a proper dealer who should be able to help me.

So I sent two e-mails to see whether and when they would have some time to do the service. There was, however, no response. It was with some kind of uneasy feeling that I rode towards Oulu.

Heikki had provided me with a map of the location of the BMW dealer. It was an excerpt of a larger map and I needed some time and the help of a fellow biker named "Lasse" to find "Euro Motor Center" www.emc.sci.fi.

I approached Lasse in front of a motorcycle equipment shop hoping that he might know about the BMW dealer. Not only did he know it (they had recently move their quarters), he offered to guide me there. Even more so, he introduced me to the mechanics (in Finnish). That turned out to be helpful but the people of EMC spoke perfect English. - Still, I was very impressed with the spontaneous help by a fellow motorcyclist.

I had already resigned myself to an extended waiting period before the service could be done. To my utter surprise, the EMC staff said that they could do the service the next day (which happened to be a Saturday). According to Heikki, garages in Finland typically to not work on Saturdays (same as in Germany) - so EMC must have been doing me a favor. - A big "Thank you" for that.


EMC_Oulu.jpg

Spontaneous help in Oulu - Much appreciated!"




With the motorcycle serviced, I felt ready to go on. After looking at the roadmap, the Finnish north-east, the Lapland area, seemed to be the most interesting. Not very densely populated, small roads, not too close to the typical tourist trails. I decided to establish "base camp" in "Kuusamo".

My road map suggested that this should be a somewhat bigger city, hopefully with access to the internet. Kuusamo is about 40km west of Russian border and 100 km south of the arctic circle. It is here that I start preparing for "Part 2" of my Finland trip.

More to follow.

Posted by Heiko Neumann at July 01, 2003 08:01 AM GMT
 
 

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events

 

Latvia to Australia, an inspirational 5 month journey full of unexpected adventures!


Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!