Helena-Reet: With children on a road trip around Finland (VOL8 – from Rovaniemi through Ranua, Pudasjärvi and Puolanka to Kajaani) + PHOTOS!

Helena-Reet: With children on a road trip around Finland (VOL8 – from Rovaniemi through Ranua, Pudasjärvi and Puolanka to Kajaani) + PHOTOS!

NordenBladet – On the eighth day of our trip around Finland we headed from Rovaniemi (read the journey description HERE) towards Kajaani. Quite a long journey was ahead of us. Google distance measurer displayed ca 385km (4h 45min) when driving along E75 and E8. Since we were not in a hurry then we took our time and drove quietly, taking stops wherever we pleased.

From Rovaniemi to Kivitaipale, Narkaus, Ruonakoski, Portimo, Nuupas we drove towards Ranua. It was a small municipality in Lapland with less than 4000 inhabitants, 1.13 people per one square metre – very cool! I like it when people are not cramped together. The little municipality is divided into 21 small villages (Asmunti, Hosio, Impiö, Kelankylä, Kortteenperä, Kuha, Kuukasjärvi, Mauru, Nuupas, Petäjäjärvi, Pohjaslahti–Piittisjärvi, Portimo, Putkivaara, Raiskio, Rovastinaho, Saariharju, Saukkojärvi, Sääskilahti, Teerivaara, Telkkälä and Tolja). Ranua is known for its beautiful nature and large number of lakes – the little minicipality has as many as 569 of those! A source of popularity is also the Zoo of Ranua. It Europe’s northernmost zoo where one can see various arctic animals – for example the polar bear.

Further on our road took us from Ranua through Asmut, to Pudasjärvi. This is a small place, for some reason or other, at that moment is gave us a slightly depressive impression.

From Pudasjärvi we drove through Jatko, Hirvakoski, Ervasti and Auho Puolanka. Almost two hours of driving in complete abandonment… Perhaps a few cars passed us by during that time. A look to the right – there is forest, a look to the left – there is forest again. On the one hand this might be boring yet on the other hand it makes you happy. For once there are not factories and rubbish at every step where people have been. And in one place we also saw reindeer again, although I mentioned in the previous blog post that reindeer were not seen anymore. So now while reviewing the photos again I remembered that we still did see reindeer – these were tagged.

Puolanka (Puolango) is even less densely inhabited than Ranua municipality. In the 17 villages of Poulanka (Aittokylä, Auho, Joukokylä, Kivarinjärvi, Kotila, Kongasmäki, Leipivaara, Lylykylä, Naulaperä, Puokio, Puolanka, Rasinkylä, Suolijärvi, Vihajärvi, Väyrylä, Yli-Oterma, Törmänmäki) there are 2637 people according to the 31.08.2018 census, this would mean 1.07 people per one square kilometre. Like in Ranua, the municiplaity of Puolanka is only Finnish-speaking (as you may know, most of Finland is bilingual – the spoken languages are Finnish and Swedish. However, regardless of the latter fact you can hardly meet a genuine Finn in Finland. For some reason I had the idea that the countryside is untouched and not spoilt in that respect, that there are mainly Finns. But the streets are colourful in Helsinki as well as in Northenrn Finland. There are Iranians, Iraqi, Turks and people from other nationalities 50:50 with local people. The white Scandinavian porcelain skin is more and more rare, as well as the fair hair and blue eyes that used to be so common only 25 years ago. I guess the Nordic woman is alive only in folkrore and the epics a hundred years from now – provided there still remain people who value the culture. Nowadays everything has been mixed up. Even beside the two sexes, man and woman, there is the third gender. The social media has been praising robots, artificial intelligence, for many years already. Robot-influencers (i.e. @lilmiquela) have more followers than actual people. I am very curious about haw long it takes that people will say “now this is enough for me, I won’t go with the flow any more”. When do people start to appreciate reality?! Well, in some sense this is the society’s new reality. I guess VIP/Glamour versus Reality/Genuine have changed places and nowadays the actual things are luxurious products and everything that has been desirable and unattainable for years is now mass commodity.

But about Puolanka. Finland’s largest waterfall Hepoköngäs is located 16km from Puolanka centre, in the national park. There is plenty of beautiful, pure nature! An interesting fact about Puolanka is that Finland’s current Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, grew up there and spent his early days exactly there. This is a good example about a venturesome and ambitious person breaking through into big politics and business from this small place. I am glad that someone as high up the ladder has their roots in a small place and is aware of the life outside the capital city.

In Puolanka we briefly stopped for lunch. We stopped at the local Ester Restaurant (Ouluntie 4, 89200 Puolanka). The food was great and service was quick. We ordered a pizza (9.50), chicken salad (16.90), French fries (5.50), a jug of water (1.-) and coffee ( 1.60).

Now we were already looking forward to reaching our destination – Kajaani. There were a little less than 100km driving. We rolled through Leipivaara, Paltamo and Jormua to Kajaani where we parked the car and checked in to the hotel. I will write about Kajaani already in the next blog!

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