A day I had been looking forward to, meeting up with my Finnish blogging friend Suvi, author of the lovely blog Destination Everywhere whom I first met on my visit to Finland last year. This time we planned a day out together exploring Lake Tuusula in Järvenpää, about a 30 minute drive from Helsinki. Suvi kindly came to pick me up from my base in Espoo and in warm sunshine we headed north making our first stop at Ainola, the former home of the composer Jean Sibelius.
To concentrate on his music, Sibelius moved to this home on a wooded slope near to Lake Tuusula in Järvenpää. The house was completed in 1904 originally as a log house in the National Romantic style then in 1911 the walls were cladded and a tiled roof was added. It was called Ainola, meaning Aino’s home after his wife Aino. Other artistic families lived in the same neighbourhood providing a lively social circle of friends.
After the death of Jean Sibelius in 1957 his widow continued to live at the house until her death in 1969. Her daughters sold the estate to the Finnish government in 1972 and it subsequently opened as a museum. We enjoyed touring the house which has been carefully kept in its original state. A large collection of paintings adorn the walls and these include works by their artist friends.
A walk around the attractive garden followed and then we returned to the car and drove around the lake to the Hotel Krapi Resort which first operated as a dairy farm in 1911 and is now a hotel and restaurant complex. Suvi suggested we eat lunch in Restaurant Mankeli which was created by combining the old granary and curehouse. The restaurant is open throughout the summer and during the rest of the year for private events only.
We both settled for the buffet lunch consisting of soup, salad, fish and dessert and as it was such a warm day we found a table out on the terrace. The surroundings were very peaceful and an excellent choice for lunch in the Finnish countryside.
Driving on a little further the next place we wanted to visit was Halosenniemi the former home of the Finnish artist Pekka Halonen. The countryside around Lake Tuusula provided him with a rich source of ideas and inspiration for his landscape paintings. Halonen’s studio home was opened to the public in the 1950’s and its lakeside setting was beautiful with large windows looking out across the tranquil lake. We took a self guided tour of the house which had been preserved as if the family were still living there and then strolled through the delightful gardens admiring the lakeside views.
After such a lovely outing it was then time to drive back to Espoo and for Suvi and I to go our separate ways. It was so nice having the opportunity to meet up again and to be able to explore Lake Tuusula together on this our final full day of our holiday.
This post concludes my visit to Finland this summer. If you have enjoyed reading this series of posts you may also be interested to read about my previous visit and of the evening I spent with my Finnish blogging friend Suvi last year.