We have now been on the road for one week, and goodness has the time flown! We are slowly establishing our new routines in the mobile home, and things have gone pretty smoothly. Of course, there have been some minor hiccups and Olivia has definitely had some difficulties, the new surroundings and new routines are life-changing for her as they are for us as well. But she is slowly adjusting and she’s been loving to go to different parks & adventures.
We started our grand adventure in the early afternoon on Sunday the 25th of September.
Day 1 - Sunday 25th of September
Savonlinna - Kitee
We drove from Minna’s parents in Savonlinna to Kitee Zoo. What better way to start our trip than with a visit to the zoo! After an hour and a half we arrived and parked our mobile home on a gravel patch next to the zoo adjacent to road 6. This turned out to be a mistake as lots of cars and trucks drove past throughout the night. Lesson learnt there!
It rained the rest of that evening so we played inside the van, ate our first meal in our new home and once Olivia had fallen asleep we popped the cork on a bottle of champagne and laughed at ourselves for making such an amateur mistake of parking next to the main road.
We drifted to sleep to the sound of the whirring traffic with excitement in the air for what the future would bring.
Day 2 - Monday 26th of September
Kitee - Koli
On a chilly Monday morning, it was time to visit the zoo, Minna and Olivia were excited! We had so much fun spotting and searching for all the animals and enjoyed a pleasant walk around the park. Olivia got to feed & pet the sheep which were the real highlight of the day. The walk in the zoo is around 2km and by the time we got back to the van, we were both hungry and tired. After Jake finished up some work we had lunch and headed on our way.
That afternoon we arrived in Koli, a Finnish national park and a must-go place in the autumn! We took the lift to the top and raced up the many stairs and rocks to get to the lookout point on the highest peak before the sun disappeared behind the horizon. The view up there is breathtaking. Nature in its full pallet of autumn colors, the lake as smooth as glass and the sun setting the sky ablaze with pastel colors of pink and purple. Our hearts melted with joy when our three-year-old Olivia gasped in awe at the view.
At that moment we knew all the hard work was worth it; if this doesn’t make you forget all your troubles, then what does?
Day 3 - Tuesday 27th of September
Koli - Vuokatti
The morning was filled with adventures in the forest and jumping in puddles. After lunch, it was time to head to the next place on our map. We had to stop in Juuka to fill up the water and empty the toilet & grey water, this process took us about 15-20 minutes. Then we continued our journey to Vuokatti and the Katinkulta spa to treat ourselves.
That evening we went for a stroll around the area and found a park where Olivia did some climbing and playing.
Day 4 - Wednesday 28th of September
The area and its commodities in Vuokatti were so great and since we had some extra time in our travel schedule, we decided to stay two nights there.
The next day after (our) nap, we headed to the Katinkulta spa. We were surprised at how big the place actually is. Lots of different pools, a sauna world and even a smoke sauna. Definitely worth a visit! Olivia was swimming by herself, she was so thrilled about it. We got pretty hungry and went to have dinner in one of the restaurants over there.
Day 5 - Thursday 29th of September
Vuokatti - Puolanka
In the early morning we noticed that the heating had gone off as our electricity from the leisure battery was running low and didn’t have enough battery to restart the heating, but lucky enough the night wasn’t so cold and we have big blankets with us. Before breakfast, we started the car and let it run for an hour to recharge the battery. So that was something new again that we learnt!
We ate some lunch and then started driving to Kajaani where we emptied the toilet & grey water and refilled the water. It was time for Minna to grab on the steering wheel for the first time ever and she got us safely to Puolanka on Thursday afternoon, 29th of September, which is a really small village. We parked our car by a really windy shore with a beautiful landscape.
Day 6 - Friday 30th of September
Puolanka - Ranua
There wasn’t that much to do or see in Puolanka but we spent our evening and morning playing outside in the chilly weather. We had something to eat and started our journey towards Ranua on Friday at noon.
We filled up our bad boy with some diesel and Minna jumped behind the steering wheel again, she needs the driving experience before we head ourselves to the busy European roads. We arrived in Ranua and found a quaint and quiet parking spot nearby the health centre. We went to explore Ranua city centre, took some photos and headed to bed as the following day was going to be a busy one.
Day 7 - Saturday 1st of October
On Saturday morning we went to a nearby park and needed to empty the toilet and grey water & fill up the water in the Ranua Zoo Camping area. After lunch, it was time to go to explore the Ranua Zoo! Olivia had been waiting for this for so long, and finally, this day arrived. The zoo itself was very well maintained, and we spent a good three hours spotting the animals. Unfortunately, the brown bears and polar bears, which we were so excited to see, were all enjoying their nap time, so it was a bit of a disappointment that we missed them. After the long walk around the zoo, we were all feeling a bit “hangry” and decided to go to enjoy some coffee and lovely pastries at the nearby café. The pastries didn’t stay on the plates for long, we can tell you that!
After our bellies were full of the local delicacies and we could feel the sugar rushing in our veins, we went to have some fun in the big park outside the zoo. It was amazing! Long zipline, different climbing gyms and big slides. What more could a little toddler need? It was a long day with lots of walking and no naps, so bed called us all earlier than usual.
Day 8 - Sunday 2st of October
Ranua - Rovaniemi
After breakfast and usual morning routines, Jake and Olivia headed to a nearby park to have some fun while Minna deep-cleaned the mobile home. We have been of course cleaning and hoovering every single day, but now it was time to change sheets, organize laundry, wash windows etc.
Soon it was again time to fill up our bellies with some food and continue our journey to the North. On that afternoon we reached the highest point of our trip, Rovaniemi and the Arctic Circle. As the first thing to do, we went to see Santa Claus. Olivia had too many butterflies in her belly and didn’t want to go talk to him or sit next to him, but the main thing is that she got to see him. We agreed that we will send Olivia’s wish list to Santa by post. Santa’s Village and Arctic Circle was really nice place and we got ourselves into the Christmas spirit for sure. If we only would have the Christmas tree with us! 😉
The week flew by and we are slowly getting our heads around travelling with a mobile home and establishing our new routines in the compact space.
So far so good, we are eager to see what the next week has to offer!
*Services include camp sites, laundry, septic tank services, water, electric, etc.