A Travellerspoint blog

On the road to Hell

sunny 29 °C

We definitely were able to do a lot travelling this summer which I am ecstatic about. I am also ecstatic that I was finally able to cross over something from my ever-growing bucket list. That was visiting Helvetinjärvi National Park (Lake Hell National Park), one of the many national parks in Finland. It is situated on the route to my dad’s house and I had driven by many times but never visited. And of course the ear-worm of the day would be provided by Chris Rea. I will add it below so you can enjoy it with me:

Well, I'm standing by a river but the water doesn't flow
It boils with every poison you can think of
Then I'm underneath the streetlights, but the light of joy I know
Scared beyond belief way down in the shadows
And the perverted fear of violence chokes a smile on every face
And common sense is ringing out the bells
This ain't no technological breakdown, oh no, this is the road to hell

Tuesday

We packed our car + caravan and headed towards Helvetinjärvi, it was going to take us between 3-4 hours to get there from home. Driving would be slower than usual us towing the caravan behind us.

Last kilometers where via road so narrow that we were crossing our fingers that we wouldn’t meet anyone. It would be impossible for two cars drive by each other without one or both of them ending up in the ditch. Luckily, we didn’t come across anyone but signs telling us that we would soon be there. Signs that were saying things like “Boar burger in 3 kilometers” or “Coffee in 2 kilometers”.

There we found big parking lot and across the street small cafeteria/restaurant/info where we got our key to the showers and instructions where we could park our mobilehome. Owner also said that the parking lot is popular with caravans since it is closer to toilets/showers but I wanted to be in the “real” caravan park. That appeared to be grove where they had made spots for parking with grovel. We chose a place farthest away from the maintenance building since there were couple caravans already on the places situated closer and the ones in the middle all had electricity which we haven’t paid for. Our spot had too but we thought it to be fair that ones who had paid for it should be able to pick those places nearer the amenities. And I really liked our spot! It would have shade in the morning and sun during the afternoon.

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Restaurant/Reception

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Maintenance building

Almost immediately after we had made our camp it started pouring rain so we headed to the restaurant to try some of that boar. I almost chose to try ostrich but the boar burger called my name. And it was SO good! The owner kept boars and ostriches so the meals there were made of local products! Always a nice perk!

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Ostrich eggs

Evening went nicely playing Scrabble and enjoying camping. And even with only 2 toilets there haven’t been need for waiting, at least not yet. The shower was quite small but it did what it was suppose to and there was enough hot water for us even we being the last ones to use it that day. You just can’t know beforehand in places like this. We once rented a small cabin in campsite in Sweden and the water-heater was so small that 2 couldn’t take a hot shower back-to-back because the thing wasn’t able to heat water fast enough for it. And we did try to be quick! But no problems like that in here!

And one of the best parts was that the internet sucked in the camping site! I know it is a choice to look at your phone, e-mails and social media, but when that choice is taken away from you, you are forced to leave the phone well alone, very refreshing!

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Camping site

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Our camp

Wednesday

We woke up and had a very lazy morning. We made coffee and had breakfast leisurely and headed to the forest tracks well past noon. The route we were taking is called Helvetistä itään (East from Hell). There is Finnish rock/heavy metal band called Kotiteollisuus and one of their songs is also called Helvetistä itään but I am not sure which one came first, the track named after the song or was the route muse to this song, however, if you like that kind of music like I do, you would like the song! And the route looked great too!

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Gate to Hell

But I do know how the name Helvetinjärvi (Lake Hell) came to be. Old story tells that landlord from Ruokkee took a pike from Sipiläs fish trap. Situation broke in to a fight, both verbal and non-verbal kind. After the skirmish, a witch from Sipilä said that “As long as my nails are soft, pikes won’t rise from this Lake from Hell.” Which happened and pikes didn’t take to baits for a very long time.

There are tracks going everywhere and both, now and in yester-years the area has been sparse. Albeit nowadays there might be slightly more people living in the area than back then. Now we hardly felt that we are middle of wilderness, every now and then seeing people walking on the tracks or hearing them talking in the distance. Place seemed to be popular with dog walkers too.

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Signs on the way

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Signs on the way

In the past people walked in the woods gathering berries, mushrooms and firewood and their cattle pastured right along side them. Boats were kept in both ends of the long lakes enabling people to travel longer distances. Tar pits has also been founded in the area.

Along the route was one camping site in Helvetin Kolu which was built in 1920 and youth have been gathered here away from danceless Sundays for years. Or I think they might not do that anymore but back in the day, church prohibited processions which took place at fifth Sunday after Easter, Prayer Sunday. Those processions danced in the fields asking for a good crop. Church replaced those with processions of their own in 4rd century and the dance ban was lifted in 1960. But the “day hut” are still popular place for people nearby.

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Lake near the day hut

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At the day hut

Helvetin Kolu, is a, by Finnish standards, big ravine, and it was the first place in Helvetinjärvi where nature was protected. That was in 1950’s and in 1960’s the nearby Haukkajärvi was protected too.

Helvetin Kolu is northernmost place which you can come across Frullania tamarisciI (its a type of moss). I didn’t know that when we were there, but to be honest, I can’t differentiate one type of flower from other in a good day, so the odds of me finding this particular moss in the forest radiates between slim to none, hah.

We walked by this ravine and I tried to take photos of it but they just didn’t turn out well. All you can see in them is green and gray, the dimensions aren’t visible at all! But in person its beautiful and well worth visiting.

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Near the Helvetin Kolu

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Near the Helvetin Kolu

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Getting close to the ravine

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Helvetin Kolu Ravine

People have travelled around here from early 19th century and its landscapes has starred Akseli Gallen-Kallelas paintings. He enjoyed coming here so much that he even brought his artistfriend Louis Sparre with him, who was inspired to paint the scenery too.

We haven’t been walked for long before I needed to put on some mosquito repellent, there seemed to be plenty of those around here! Also lots of more pleasant wildlife too. Plenty of birds, squirrels and baby-frogs!

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Few of the gazillion photos I took

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Few of the gazillion photos I took

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Few of the gazillion photos I took

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Few of the gazillion photos I took

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Few of the gazillion photos I took

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Few of the gazillion photos I took

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Few of the gazillion photos I took

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Few of the gazillion photos I took

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Few of the gazillion photos I took

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Few of the gazillion photos I took

Apart from the gnats the scenery was beautiful and we enjoyed walking in the forest so much that when we came to turning point where we could have started back to the camper, we chose to take the route which took as deeper in to the forest. In there we found another camping site and a spot near the lake so beautiful Toni decided that we should build a cabin in there.

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One way to get people out of your photos

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Haukkajärvi

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Spot for our cabin

All in all, we walked approximately 10 kilometers or so, and there were some hills too so I would say we had earned the wine with our Scrabble tonight!

Thursday

This morning I was very glad that we had done the Helvetistä itään-track yesterday! We had talked about doing some other route today, or maybe renting a Yurt sauna, but when we woke up it was already too hot to breathe. Maybe I am being a just a bit melodramatic, but I was already sweating after a trip to the toilets and they were just couple hundred meters away. Thermometer reached almost 30C today, so no walking or sauna for us today, thank you very much!

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We did go to take a peek of the Yurt Sauna

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Pier near the Yurt Sauna

I did make us pancakes just to have something to do alongside with my reading and sunbathing. I had American pancakes mix and that might have been mistake. My Muurikka-pan was so hot that the pancakes either came out from it raw inside or burnt outside. Maybe the typical Finnish-kind which makes thinner crepe-kind of pancakes, would have been better, but you know what they say about hindsight

Evening went like the previous ones, playing Scrabble, and some cards and Yatzy too, just to have some variety.

Friday

Today was Bye bye Helvetinjärvi and Greetings Nurmijärvi. Via Hämeenlinna where we met a friend for a quick coffee.

But before that we steered out from the camping site and took a different route from what we came from. The ostrich and boar farm, was just beside that road. We could have come here yesterday for a wee walk, it was just half a kilometer away from the camping site if we would have known it was so close and could be seen from the road.

In Finnish boar is called villisika, which direct translation being a wild pig, so my question to you is, is boar wild anymore when it lives in a ranch? The purpose of this question, no reason, just a sneak peek inside my brains for you.

My dad lives in Nurmijärvi and my gramps have moved in with them so I had a chance to see him too. We enjoyed our evening there, had a BBQ and couple of beers while catching up.

Saturday

Last night dad said that this time we are going to do something because everytime I visit we are just staying home. I don’t mind staying at home at all. But I also didn’t mind our plans for today either, we were going to visit Suomenlinna and I haven’t been there before.

You reach there by short ferry-ride and 800 people live there year-round. It made in to Unesco Word heritage listing in 1991 for its unique military architecture. Building was started in 1748 under Swedish rule, Sweden being scared of Russia and needed a somewhere to place a military. War in Pommern interrupted the building in 1756 and it never continued, albeit existing building was already named Sveaborg. In 1808 Sveaborg, Viapori in its Finnish name, surrendered to Russian troops thus beginning of Russian rule started.

By independence in 6.12.1917, doing with some technicalities, Viapori remained under Russia and Finland didn’t get it back until the Civil War in 1918 when it got a new name, Suomenlinna.

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My dad and stepmom on the ferry

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View from the ferry

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Almost there

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Suomenlinna

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Something yellow

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Yellow is the color of the day

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And more yellow!

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People enjoying their Saturday

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View towards Helsinki

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Sun was there too at times

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Good photo of my dad and Toni if I say so myself

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Sun and sea

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Sun and sea

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More people enjoying their day out

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The wall has hair!!

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Archway!

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New friends

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Windows on the wall

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Flag

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Cafe

We spent lovely day exploring around the island, and had another BBQ when we got back home.

One thing to be said about Nurmijärvi. It is only 30 minutes away from the airport by car. Can you see where this is going?
You would be spot on if your mind went directly to airplanes.. When we turned in for the night, we booked flights to Krakow! 15 hours to your upcoming trip, what a lovely thing to see on your screen when you are making the bookings!

Posted by hennaonthetrek 18:48 Archived in Finland Tagged #summer #boats #nature #castle #travelling #camping #finland #fortress #nationalparks #summerholiday #forest #foresttracks

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Comments

Beautiful forest scenery. I have been to Suomenlinna years ago. I think I was 19 or 20 at the time. Glad to see you made use of being near an airport. I look forward to reading your next adventure.

by irenevt

Hi Irene and thanks for visiting! :)
Scenery wasn't "Hong Kong jungle" but still very pretty! :)
I think Suomenlinna hasn't change much during the years, albeit we just enjoyed strolling the grounds and didn't visit inside.

by hennaonthetrek

Hei, Henna! I see you had a good time during your stay at that incredible place. Good for you!~ Kiitos jakamisesta!~

by Vic_IV

Hey Victor! Nice to hear from you! We did enjoy our holiday and spend it in some great places! :)

by hennaonthetrek

What gorgeous scenery on your walk, I can see why you thought it a great spot for a cabin! But I had to smile when you said that 'almost 30C' was too hot for walking, as we had 41C in London this summer. Now that is DEFINITELY too hot 😆 By the way, I love your stepmom's hair!

by ToonSarah

Hi Sarah! I would propably be totally useless and just lie under an AC-tree if it would be over 40C!! :)

I said to her the same about her air, but I will tell her that you loved it too! It looks cool doesn't it :)

by hennaonthetrek

So this is the Road to Hell, is it? I must say it looks rather attractive to me, I was only ever in Finland in winter (not my decision, it was for work). The scenery is absolutely beautiful, great writing and great images.

by planxty

Thanks Fergy! At certain places Finland looks beautiful in winter too! I hope you enjoyed the snow while you were here :)

by hennaonthetrek

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