Travel Diary: 2020 Summer Highlights

With the summer of 2021 just around the corner, now seems like a good time to look back at last year’s summer. Although I spent the majority of the summer of 2020 battling chronic migraine, not every day was a bad day. In addition to gorgeous sunsets and good food I got to visit an area of Finland I’d never seen before. Here’s a blog post with some of the highlights of the summer of 2020.

A Different Summer

For most of us, the year 2020 looked nothing like we expected what with a global pandemic wreaking havoc. In my case, the summer was also different since I’d become increasingly ill with chronic migraine (among other health issues). Most of the time I was in pain and when I wasn’t I always seemed to be too exhausted to do anything.

However, when I look back through the pictures I took last summer, it’s clear to see it certainly wasn’t all bad.

I rarely travel abroad during summer and especially not last summer due to the pandemic. So all of my summer highlights took place in Finland. But as you can see, there’s plenty of lovely spots to revisit and new places to explore in Finland.

Below are some snapshots of my favourite moments from the summer of 2020.

Starting Summer in the Archipelago

Flowers in Korpoström

The Uusimaa region in Finland was made a quarantine zone during the spring of 2020. This meant we couldn’t visit my family’s summer cottage in Korpo, located in the archipelago of Turku. When we were finally able to go in May, we enjoyed every second. Even though May isn’t technically a summer month, last year we pretended it was as we had a week of summer vacation.

Read more about the week in Korpo in my previous blog post: Travel Diary: Island Life Instead of a Trip to Spain

Channeling my Inner Horse Girl in Inkoo

Beautiful summer day in Inkoo

Although this was just a short visit, this is absolutely one of my favourite memories from last summer. I got to visit my friend’s lovely senior horse in Inkoo. The evening was beautiful and summer had just begun. I got to pet both my friends horse as well as another horse my friend’s horse lives with and it really made my day! Inkoo is always so lovely during summer.

Midsummer Yoga in Korpo

Midsummer yin yoga in Korpo town

Just like last year, we spent Midsummer in Korpo. This year I really tried to find my inner peace and participated in a Midsummer yin yoga session. This was such a lovely event as the weather was fantastic, the yoga was outside and we all got some beautiful roses to smell during practice. Perfect for connecting with both nature and the present moment! Definitely got my zen mode on.

Road Trip to Petäjävesi

Petäjävesi Old Church, one of Finland’s Unesco world heritage sites.

If visiting our families’ summer cottages doesn’t count, our road trip to Petäjävesi was actually the only “real” travelling I was able to do last summer. We were on the road for just two days, which gave us just enough time to see this lovely region of Finland. Visiting this place in the height of summer definitely showed of Petäjävesi’s most picturesque side. Flowery meadows, open roads, still lakes to reflect colourful sunsets, old farm houses and the occasional sheep all added to the beauty.

Lemettilä farm bathing in the last rays of the sun in June 2020. Lemettilä farm is located in Petäjävesi right next to Petäjävesi Old Church.
Beautiful sunset at Petäjävesi in June 2020.

Revisiting Koli

Beautiful sunset over Lake Pielinen in Koli.

We spent some time in North Karelia in Koli in July. In addition to revisiting some of our favourite spots we did some exploring. This time we headed to the sculptor Eva Ryynänen’s home and atelier as well as Paateri church for a guided tour. Eva Ryynänen was born in 1915 and died in 2001. During her lifetime she made around 500 sculptures, most of them made from wood. I love how she didn’t hide any knots or imperfections in the wood she wanted to use. Instead she’d use them to spark her creativity, for example turning knots into eyes or flowers.

Read more about visiting Paateri: Where wood comes to life – Visiting Sculptor Eva Ryynänen’s Paateri Museum

Some of artist Eva Ryynänen’s work in her atelier in Lieksa, North Karelia.

Admiring Skyline Views

Dinner at Lucy in the Sky in Espoo.

To celebrate my mom’s birthday in August, we had dinner at a new restaurant in Keilaniemi in Espoo. Lucy in the Sky is located on the 20th floor of the iconic Accountor Tower building. The views are amazing and very diverse as they include both urban Helsinki, the archipelago and plenty of green nature.

Ending the Summer Season in Koli

Views from Ukko-Koli
Admiring the views from Ukko-Koli

Although technically not summer anymore, in September we headed to Koli once more. As my fiancé’s family have a cottage in Koli, we usually stay there. However, this time we wanted do something special and booked ourselves two nights at Break Sokos Hotel Koli, the only hotel in Koli located within Koli National Park. We had visited the hotel several times for dinner, a trip to the spa and even the music festival Ruska Blues. But we’d never slept there. And wow! We had the most amazing view over Lake Pielinen! And the weather was even clear for half the trip (usually during the autumn there can be quite a bit of fog which is a bummer if you’ve paid for a room with a view and all you see is grey). We hiked, enjoyed the spa and had a fantastic dinner.

During one of our two days in Koli in September we had some typical autumn views: foggy. A great day to spend in the spa. As there weren’t a lot of people during our stay we finally got to try out the outside hot tubs (they’ve always been full during my previous visits to this spa). The spa at Break Sokos Hotel Koli is one of my absolute favourite spas. It has a great selection of different saunas and you get a nice set of products included in the entrance fee.

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