My wife Miriam and I have traveled the world ...
Aug 22 - Sep 9, 2023
My wife Miriam and I have traveled the world together for the last 40 years. Usually independent, self-guided. An occasional small group tour.
We asked kimkim to plan a 3 week private trip to Finland. August/September. Goals: to experience out of the way rural and urban destinations, visit skilled artisans in their workshops, sample good food, both hearty and simple, and learn what gives Finland its special character.
To fill every day’s schedule completely/sensibly, but with time/flexibility to veer off and see what was around the next corner.
Kimkim’s Moonika delivered exactly what we wanted.
And then some.
We explored fantastic landscapes, met intriguing people. Each day was singular and always in a different way than any before.
Studied with the most amazing artisans who shared details of their time-honored family trades, workshops, sometimes centuries old. A contemporary leather handbag designer/craftswoman personally demonstrated how she produces her beautiful work and sources her supplies.
Helped bake a favorite dessert with just picked berries … which, still warm from the oven, we enjoyed at the end of an action packed visit with a nationally recognized artisan family.
Bear watching in overnight wetlands blind • day trip to Estonia • Iitalia factory • sleeper train to Rovaniemi • dogsledding training tips • learned the different shapes and fuzz on reindeer antlers
While large groups of tourists plodded by, our local nature guides stopped to point out unique Finnish plants, trees, insects, rocks … and told a beloved folk story about the bird that just swooped by.
We learned the names of everyone’s family at home … their pets, too.
Thanks, Kimkim and Moonika, for making it all happen.
David and Miriam
Old-fashioned but totally contemporary and fun. Best night of sleep over all the nice hotels. Wish we could go again.
The Park Hotel was a highlight. It was different from the modern ones and we loved the old one.
The resort was the best. It'll be exceptional when it's done. The staff was superb and accommodating.
Easy to rate - because Barbara was hands down the best trail guide ever. Funny, smart, forward thinking ... plus taught us to use a fire starting flint, shared amazing stories and nature details from start to finish. But - we taught HER how to make a Finnish variation of our traditional "smore". Substitute a ginger cookie, delicious Finnish chocolate and strawberry flavored marshmallows for the traditional plain old graham crackers, dull American chocolate and white marshmallows ... grilled over a fire started with her flint.
Our guide "tried hard" but no aurora seen that night. But exceptional fun sitting around fire at his house with his devoted dogs, learning about his family and talking "horses". Visited stables andsaddle room of what might be the farthest north "western horse" operation. Unexpected fun,
My guide got mixed up with another group but the hotel staff and everyone involved were so helpful and friendly, turning the situation into a really fun memory.
Despite the rain, the guide made it fun and interesting. The cruise was a highlight.
The tower was super and the local craft shop was interesting.
The workshop was an unexpected highlight and the stories around the fire were in-depth, really interesting, and not touristy at all. The guide was passionate and knowledgeable, which made the experience even more special.
The Bird & Wildlife Watching Tour was superb, the guide was retired military and passionate about nature. The Aurora Adventure was fun, despite not seeing the lights.
This was one of the very best stops of the entire trip! The hosts spent endless time with us. Super memories of lots of dogs barking, people laughing … and learning so much.