Finnish Roadtrip: Jyväskylä to Kuopio (day 4)

On day four of our Finnish roadtrip we began our morning Jyväskylä and make our way to Kuopio. Despite the national holiday we were able to see many beautiful parks, as well as a wonderful wildlife park. We did have a little bit of rainy weather, but overall it was quite a beautiful day to be outdoors.

Jyväskylä

This morning we walked though town to again find everything closed. I was actually planning for us to have breakfast at the vegan cafe, Beans and More, which looks amazing. Thank god the Espresso House was open. We had so far stayed clear of this generic coffee house, prefering boutique coffee shops. However, it was such a lovely site to see this hip coffee chain open for business.

The Espresso House is actually the largest coffee chain in the the Nordic coutries of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark. It is very similar to a Starbucks, but the coffee is much better and the food is far better quality. The fridges were stocked with fresh salads, juices, bircher museli, sandwiches, pastaries, cakes, muffins and powerballs.

For breakfast I had a oat milk coffee and O and I shared a ham and cheese croisant and a chia seed and fruit pot. The coffee was pretty good and the food was nice for a quick bite.

After breakfast we had a walk around town to make sure everything was shut. I was planning to do some shopping on Kauppakatu on the pedestrian street. If your visiting on a regular day, check out these tips on Shopping in Jyväskylä.

So after we packed our bags and we made one last stop in Jyväskylä. Puutarhurin taivas or the gardener’s sky, is a installation that overlooks the Jyväsjärvi lake. It was made by the Finnish sculpturer, Pekka Jylhä. It represents a cultivated carrot and pays homage to all Finnish home farmers, who enjoy gardening, tracking growth, harvesting and consuming their produce. The watering can represents man’s attitude for care. Adjacent to the sculture there is a text panel, which is in Finnish unfortunately. It is quite a serene, quiet place which is nice to take children and some family photos.

On our way to Kuopio we had to meet our Airbnb host at Jari-Pekka Hankasalmi. She was actually hiring our her apartment for the Midsummer holiday, while she was at a summer house with friends. This traffic station has cafe, shop and a variety of fastfood dining options. It also has tractor and grassy area for kids to play. It was actually surprising to see so many people inside considering we had hardly seen anyone this morning. While we were there we found a filer for another zoo, which we would pass by on our way to Kuopio. Luckily it was open today, so we could take out daughter for some animal fun.

Kuopion Elainpuisto Zoo

Kuopion Elainpuiston Zoo is only an hour from Jari-Pekka and another 20 minutes from the centre of Kuopio. It is one of several wildlife parks in Kuopio. These are perfect for young families and animal lover alike.

Kuopio Elainpuisto Zoo is a family friendly wildlife park, which features traditional farmhouse animals. Many of the animals live permanently in the zoo and others visit to graze during the summer season. So you will probably see different animals when you visit. So its a great place to interact with happy animals, have a picnic or a nice meal in the cafe in this beautiful natural setting. There is also a small playground and lots of grassy areas for kids to run around.

Kuopio Elainpuisto Zoo is open most of the year. The ticket price is per adult is 10 euro and 8 euro for children between 2-12 years. It has a small cafe for lunch or snacks and a store with merchandise.

The zoo has has a duck pond with quite a few geese. I was glad to see them behind an enclosures becuase they can be a little agressive. They also had an array of birds in the Bird Garden. These included Silkie chickens, Golden pheasant Guinea fowl, turkeys, peacocks, and ducks .

Probably O’s favourite enclosure was the cat house. Shes a bit of a cat lover. She also loved the bunnies too, but she couldn’t annoy them too much as they were safe in their enclosure.

There were only a couple small cows and one large highland bull. He was gorgeous and very friendly to anyone who wanted to give him some long juicy grass.

O’s second favourite animals were the ponies, who were absolutely adorable. They do bite, so we had to be carefully not to get too close to them.

The horses were definetley more gentle and just as friendly. There was even one that looked a bit like Spirit.

There was a mother and baby donkey, which were my favourite. Very friendly and also very smelly.

The very fluffy friendly pig is a Villasika eli Magalitza, which is means wooly hog. It is a Hungarian breed of domentic pig. I’m not sure what type the rest were.

The sheep and goat were fairy friendly and were smaller breeds.

Probably the most exotic farm animals were the alpaca and reindeer.

The zoo also had some old style trackers and bikes in the shed.

And lots of beautiful flowers growing in the grass and potted plans.

We had lunch at the cafe on the grounds. It offers a variety of quiches, sweet and savoury pastries, hot and cold drinks, baby food and gluten free items. They also offer other items during the year, including crepes and panini, but I am not sure how often this is. Everything is relatively cheap, costing no more then a few euros per item. You can enjoy your meal inside or on the balcony. There are also plenty of toys for little ones to play with.

For lunch we ordered ham, cheese and capscium quiches, sausage roll, filtered coffee and jam donuts. It was pretty nice for such a cheap lunch, so we can’t complain.

Kuopio

After the zoo, we drove straight to lakeland habourtown, Kuopio. It is located in the Northern region of Savonia and is the 9th most populated place in Finland. Much of its land is covered by bodies of water and lush forest and there are plenty of green spaces through out the more densly populated areas. It is a bit of a cultural hostpost and hosts many events, incldig Contempory Arts Festival, Kuopio Wine Fesival, Kuopio Dance Festival and Finland Ice Marathon.

My orinally plans for Kuopio was that we would visit the, Kuopio Market City Hall and Pikku Pietarin Market Alley, Kuopio Cathedral and Puijo Tower. We were able to see the catheral and tower the following day, but the shops and markets were all closed for the weekend. I also wanted to visit the Hanna Partanen’s bakery, which is the best place in the city for Karelian pies and Kalakukko fish pastries; as well as the first Mommin cafe, Muumi Pannari Kahvila and old Finnish caf, the Trube Cafe. However, they were all closed. We did attempt to visit this cafes the following without luck.

By this time it was late afternnoon, so we went straight to our Airbnb. This had to be one of the most stylish apartments we had stayed in during this trip. It was also incredibly warm, spacious and modern. So we were very happy here for the evening.

Since it was still early and we weren’t ready for dinner, we walked down to Pikku Kakkosenn Puisto Leikkipuisto/Brahe Park. This park has situated on the coast line of the Kuopio gulf and the Kallavesi lake, so it has a beautiful view of the water, and plenty of lush grass and gardens.

Brahe Park is the most popular city park in Kuopio. It offers plenty of things for kids to do. There is a labyrinth, playhouse, climbing frams, swings and workout equipment. There were quite a few people who were around enjoying the late afternoon sun.

For dinner we visited the classic Finnish restaurant, Muikkuravintola Sampo. I was so happy that one of that restaurants in my original itinery was open. Muikkuravintola Sampo has been around since 1931 and is one of Finland’s most renown restaruants. They specialises in vendace, which is a freshwater whitefish.

The restaurant has a interesting decor, which is quite homely and lively. The menu offer a several dishes with vendace, but also other mains meat and vegetarian mains. They all come with mash potatoes, salads and other trimmings.

For dinner I had to try their speciality, so I had the Fried Vendace à la Sampo, which came with mash pototes, tomato, cucumber, lemon and dill. Marco and Octavia aren’t as adventous. He ordered the the local Sausage from Savo with and Mash Potatoes cucumber, tomato, pickled cucumber and sour cabbage. Octavia had the kids weiner which had same sides. All the meals also came with warm oat and cranberry bread rolls with butter and also ordered we also had crepes and icecream (with kids meal) for dessert. I was quite impressed with the food. The vendace was really nicely cooked and not too oily. The mash potatato was very creamy and the sides were very fresh. The sausages were all very flavoursome and we all love those bread rolls. As for the crepes, they were pretty darn delicious as well.

After dinner we made one last stop for the evening, to Väinölänniemi. This city park is located on a cape surrounded by the Kallavesi lake. This is the 10th largest lake in Finland and is 478km squared. Väinölänniemi offers multiple views of the lake and the plenty of space to explore. On the park grounds you can also find the beach, Väinölänniemen Uimaranta, which is popular during the summer season. There is also the Väinölänniemi Stadium, which is used for atheletics.

Tomorrow we will vist the Puijo Tower and Cathedral in Kuopio before travelling to Savonalinna to see the castle of Olivinlinna. Only two more days to go.

Singapore Zoo: animal wonderland, rainforest oasis

On the third day of our holiday, we planned to have a break from site seeing in the city and visit the Singapore Zoo instead. The weather was meant to be perfect and Octavia was really excited to see all the animals.

Before we made our way to the zoo we thought we would have breakfast close to our hotel. I found it hard to find any cafes that were opened before 10am. Luckily attached to our hotel there an arcade with some restaurants and cafes. This is where we found the cafe Killiney Kopitiam.

This Hainanese coffee shop was originally opened in 1919 in Killiney Road, in the River Valley district of the city. It was known for its famous charcoal- grilled toast and hot coffees and teas. It was bought by a regular customer, Mr Woon in 1993, renamed and later franchised in 2001. You can now find Killiney Kopitiam locations throughout  Singapore, Asia and even in Melbourne, Australia. They offer classic Singaporean breakfast sets, such as kaya toast, french toast, soft boiled eggs and chee cheong fun. They also offer classic dishes including Chicken Curry, Mee Siam, Laksa etc.

For breakfast, I had a Kaya Toast set which included soft boiled eggs and Chinese Tea. Marco had the French Toast set with eggs and Kopi. This was my first time ordered kaya toast and I really liked it. The kaya was delicious and tasted like a coconut custard and the butter was nice and thick and melted nicely between the toast. My Chinese tea was also very nice and tasted like English Breakfast. Marco also liked his French Toast which is a nice variation.

 

Continue reading “Singapore Zoo: animal wonderland, rainforest oasis”