Repovesi National Park in Winter

Among my many aims during the winter months was to spend a night camping. I had been camping many times but in the U.K temperatures generally stay above zero and the chances of snow is almost none. To winter camp in Finland would be an interesting experience and, more importantly, a test of what I could endure.

With a few friends we drove out to Repovesi National Park with the aim to spend a night in the Finnish nature. Luckily, the temperature was a pleasant -8°c., not too cold but cold enough.

Repovesi National Park in Winter

Repovesi National Park in Winter

While walking it was easy to stay warm, normally stripping back to only the necessary layers but once we stopped it became important to put those layers back on.  My difficulty has always been my toes, no matter what I do when I stop they are the first body part to get cold and the hardest to keep warm.

Repovesi National Park in Winter

Hiking during winter had one great difference, there were short cuts everywhere, when ever we needed we could just cut across the frozen lakes rather than keeping to the trails, making the national park very accessible. There wasn’t much snow cover so walking without the assistance of snow shoes was comfortable.

Repovesi National Park in Winter

Our aim for the day was the rock formation Olhava and we arrived a little before sunset, though there would be little chance of seeing one. The clouds broke for a moment when we arrived but more rolled in as made the climb to the top.

Repovesi National Park in Winter

After spending some time on Olhava, we decided to camp in the area and use the fireplace by the lake to cook our dinner and supply some much needed warmth.

Repovesi National Park in Winter

After dinner we headed back to Olhava across the frozen lake to take a few night time shots, using our headlamps to create different light effects on the iconic cliff face.

Sleeping was the time I was dreading the most, it was easy to stay warm while walking but during the night that might become more difficult, especially if the temperatures dropped. I layered up, almost wearing more clothes now than I had been wearing during the day. I was determined to sleep well.

Repovesi National Park in Winter

The next morning we broke camp and hit the trail without breakfast, aiming to be back at the car park before lunch and indulge in a pizza on the drive back to Helsinki. It wasn’t as cold as yesterday but by the time all our gear was away we needed to start moving to warm up again.

Compared to the others I had similar experience but I didn’t have the gear. I had to pack more to make sure I was prepared, extra clothes. two spring sleeping bags combined with a liner,  and two sleeping mats. Everything was used to ensure I ‘survived’ the night.
Repovesi National Park in Winter

A short route was planned with some backtracking involved. We wanted to take in the view from the viewing tower, a place I had also visited during the Autumn. Repovesi National Park is full of excellent viewing spots and we had managed to visited a few of the best during this short trip.

After the viewing tower we cut our way back across lakes to find the shortest and most enjoyable route, making any detours that we desired until we found out way back to Lapinsalmi Bridge. This time we crossed the lake underneath it rather than crossing it as we had done the day before.

Repovesi National Park in Winter

If you have enjoyed this then my other experiences in the Finnish nature may be of interest to you.

Further Reading:

Repovesi National Park in Autumn

Three Nations Border Point

5 Things to do in Finnish Lapland in Summer

Pleasure in the Pathless Woods

Pleasure in the Pathless Woods

 

“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.”

Do you know the quote? If you have any quotes about nature I would like to hear them.

Colourful Copenhagen

When visiting Copenhagen I was expecting a city similar to Helsinki or even Stockholm, and in some ways it was, but one thing I wasn’t expecting was to find these splashes of colour on almost every street corner. Even on a gloomy winter’s day I was surprised how colourful Copenhagen was.

Colourful Copenhagen

These weren’t the only urban bird houses I saw, there were rows of them doted around the city. I am not sure if they are purely for decoration or home to some nesting birds, either way they should be encouraged.

Colourful Copenhagen

Colourful Copenhagen

I stumbled across a few great pieces of street art, especially around Christiania. There were areas of Copenhagen where the line between art and graffiti had been crossed but in most cases it gave the city personality.

Do you see it as art or as graffiti?

Colourful Copenhagen

Christiania was a pretty colourful neighborhood even during the winter. Most visitors snap a photo of the entrance before putting their camera away for the rest of their visit. I covered Christiania in more detail in another post and you can read that HERE.
Colourful Copenhagen

One of the most colourful and most famous rows of houses in Copenhagen has to be those in Nyhavn, a popular spot for tourists and a few love locks.

Colourful Copenhagen

Each Neighborhood had its own design, some with rows and rows of identical houses. The houses around Grundtvig’s Church is another example, you can see my photographs from the church and its surroundings HERE.

Colourful Copenhagen Colourful Copenhagen

There was plenty of construction taking place in the city but your attention isn’t always focused on that, as the fences were often painted in lines of colour or surrounded by an obscure piece of colourful art.

Colourful Copenhagen

The area around Superkilen was very unique in many ways, there were plenty of photo opportunities including this rainbow coloured bike rack.

Colourful Copenhagen

Even at night there were colourful spots to be found. See another view of the National Opera House HERE.

What did you think? If you have colourful shots from Copenhagen I would like to see them, share your links in the comments below. I am also on Instagram and would like to see any photos there that you love.

Christiania – The Troubles of a Freetown

When heading to Copenhagen I had little interest in visiting Christiania but I had heard from friends that it would be worth it, after all it is Copenhagen’s second most visited place in the city.

Christiania began Forty-five years ago when the military moved out of what had been a long standing military base and squatters moved in. The community grew and grew with the government finally legalising the squat in 1983. In 2011 Christiania’s future was threaten so the residents set up a foundation to buy the land from the government, many people were happy to donate and 12.5 million kroner was raised.

Christiania - The Troubles of a Freetown

Photos are prohibited within Chritstiania and I was happy to follow the request. After a few snaps at the entrance my camera went into my bag and in we went.

Because of the drug trade the area had lost some of its charm in my opinion, it could have also been the time of year. Visiting in the summer I am sure the atmosphere would be different, there were plenty of areas for people to gather in the sun and the natural surroundings would be picturesque. But on this gloomy winter’s day it wasn’t the most welcoming,  especially when we stumbled across the ominously named ‘Pusher Street’.

I hadn’t read much about the area before my arrival and I had no idea about the change that Pusher Street had recently gone through. Huts that had once lined the roads had recently been torn down in an effort to reduce the drug trade that had been dominating Christiania. It is estimated that 1 billion kroner changes hands on Pusher Street with many people looking to grab a piece, leading to other problems. The most recent being a shooting in August 2016 where a policeman was shot and two others injured.

Christiania - The Troubles of a Freetown

Flag of Christiania

Now, the huts had been replaced with groups of guys standing around, some huddled around burning trash cans. I never felt unsafe or threaten as I walked through but it was far from a comfortable situation. The residents have never wanted Christiania to be only about the use of cannabis and since these incidences they have decided to move away from it, encouraging people to buy elsewhere.

Once through the group of buildings we walked along the embankments that ran next to the water. Christiania was at one time an operational military base for hundreds of years and has a number of sites under national heritage protection.

Christiania - The Troubles of a Freetown

Christiania within the city of Copenhagen

Houses continued all the way back to the waterside, some were old buildings that had been re-purposed, others were more make-shift, made from recycled materials crudely knocked together. It would have been nice to walk along the water, and even to the other side, but my trip was restricted by time, so we walked back to the road in search of Danish pastries.

Even now I still don’t know exactly why the people of Christiania are allowed to in habit such a large area of Copenhagen, and with the growing need for development how much longer it will exist, but I think it is great in this modern world that there is a place where people can build their own society and community with values of their own.  And that is something to see and experience.

Christiania - The Troubles of a Freetown

Further Reading: 

Paradise lost: does Copenhagen’s Christiania commune still have a future? was helpful read when learning about the community and the problems it had faced.

Read more about the Darker Side of Tourism which Christiania would be a contender.