Day 55: NEW Valamo Monastery and Koti National Park

55.  Friday

Thank you Matti from Mikkeli in the Lakeland area for the monastery suggestion.  Indeed, many thanks for all your suggestions – they are a large part of our route planning.

We overnighted last night at one of the Valamo Monastery car parks.  As usual adjacent to water, but unusually, we had company.  A Finnish van and a Spanish one – even further from home than us.








After our now regular feature of run and Nork (J up to 3 miles :), we visited the Monastery.  We were not quite sure what to expect as last night we googled a bit about it … lots of intrigue: sackings of head Priest and Financial Director, then reinstatement of both, then sacking again … financial short falls … expanding into whisky making (ready in 2018).  However, is was interesting and the female volunteers really helpful.  It is Finland’s only orthodox monastery and was originally in part of Karelia in Russia and the monks had to flee during the Winter War of 1939 and settled the monastery here – hence now called the NEW Valamo Monastery.  The original church was constructed out of two sheds and the new one was completed in 1977.  In both there are lots of gilded icons, which contrast with the wooden rustic walls of the old church or the white of the new.
























The plan was then to do a decent walk around Koli National Park – we even splashed out EUR2 on a walking map.  Both feeling lazy, so parked up (next to our Spanish neighbours of last night), caught the free funicular to the hotel complex at the top of Ukkko-Koli (the tallest mountain in the Park) and then all of 300 metres (up stairs!) to the summit.
















Seriously LARGE ant hill made from pine needles!


All the lakes feature islands


Not cross … squinting!










Now parked up (by water) at Nurmes as will visit the Bomba House here tomorrow (another Matti suggestion :))











6 thoughts on “Day 55: NEW Valamo Monastery and Koti National Park

  1. Hello Katherine and James.

    Fantastic message. I am and my wife is very happy that we could give some tips to You thru my blog where to visit and what to see in Finland.

    I remember You kind words. Thank You.

    All the best to you both.


  2. I wish to You safe travels. I give here last link from my posts just to show how wonderful town of Kemi is in winter!!! I’ll try to visit so often than it is possible, but due to the distance…

    World’s Biggest Snow Castle.

    The castle is unique. It must be rebuilt every winter with new themes. Man can spend night inside it in snow / ice hotel.

    All the best to You. Matti.


    • Hi Matti
      We are now in our 2nd day in Norway – Nordkapp last night. We had planned to take the slow route into Norway via the Tana river up to Nuorgam and then along the coast road, but the weather was so inclement, so we took the short route. We are so grateful for your suggestions and links to your blog. It has truly enriched our journey in seeing and understanding Finland. We had not expected linger so long, but we have really enjoyed the scenery and the lack of people. If you ever plan a trip to the UK, if we are there we would be delighted to host you, and at the very least, help plan your itinerary.
      Very best regards and grateful thanks
      Katherine and James


  3. Wow. I am impressed about Your post. I am very glad that You You visited these two places which have big part in my heart. I love Your post and my wife also. She was very excited and happy after reading this post.

    Funerals are not easy and all the day took 11 hours total including driving. Friday is one of the busiest day in traffic at afternoon, because roads are full of fellow motorists going to their summer places for weekend and vacations.

    I am following with eager Your road trip in Finland and interested to here where to next.

    Happy and safe travels!


    • I am so pleased you are enjoying reading about our travels in your lovely country. We were unsure what to expect when we arrived in Finland … and Kemi in the rain does not give a good first impression. But we have loved being here. The scenery, especially around the lakes and in the North-ish is so attractive and there are so few people … it is all about nature. We had no idea what a difficult time of it that the Finns have had – Swedish, then Russian occupation … the Winter War etc. You are a a very resilient people. We have to be in Bordeaux the 20 something of July and have yet to travel down Norway, but parts of us do not want to leave ….

      Liked by 1 person

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