KotHam Adventure with Visit Kotka-Hamina in Finland!



Last weekend, Julcsi and I got to explore a (to us) completely new part of Finland as we took part in a blogger trip called KotHam Adventure, organised by Visit Kotka-Hamina. We originally heard about this possibility through my all-time favourite travel vloggers, Ikilomalla, whose amazing videos we've been watching for a couple of years now and who live in the Kotka-Hamina area themselves. We sent in an application and were so happy upon discovering that we'd actually been chosen for this experience! #KotHamAdventure, here we come!

Our trip together with a group of around 30 bloggers and vloggers started on Saturday morning as a bus picked us up in Helsinki and wheeled us off to Kotka for a visit to Maritime Centre Vellamo. Kotka is easily reachable from many different parts of Finland - the bus ride from Helsinki took just two hours, and we could've driven there from our hometown Hämeenlinna in pretty much the same time as well.




Kotka is located by the Baltic Sea and at the mouth of the Kymi River in the South-Eastern part of the country. The city centre of Kotka is actually on an island, and the city is extremely green with several beautiful parks scattered everywhere. Maritime Centre Vellamo is situated in the port a little bit further away from the downtown area but it's easy enough to get there by car.

We got to visit several exhibitions at Maritime Centre Vellamo. The Maritime Centre is home to two major museums - the Kymenlaakso regional museum and the Maritime Museum of Finland on Finnish seafaring. One of the temporary exhibitions was called Sex and the Sea, and it was basically all about seamen's longing for intimacy at sea. While as a lesbian couple we didn't really feel that we were the core audience for this exhibition, it's still worth mentioning that it actually challenged the thought of all seamen as heterosexual.









It's also possible to climb to the rooftop of the Vellamo building for some views over the port area. The museum building itself is constructed to resemble a big wave, and it actually also reminded us of the Oslo Opera House a little bit. From the rooftop, you can also spot Tarmo the Icebreaker that is open to visitors in the summertime.

On the rooftop!
The Icebreaker Tarmo.
We had a lovely brunch at the museum cafeteria before continuing our trip to Kultaanranta for various different activities.

Kultaanranta and specifically Erämys-KeisarinKosket Oy offers extreme activities such as rafting and swimming in the Kymijoki rapids. While Julcsi would've been more interested in giving one of those a go, I'm not really into extreme sports and instead chose us the more peaceful river yoga, organised by Yogelina Yoga Studio. This turned out to be the absolute highlight of the whole weekend! The yoga mats were spread on a pier by the river, the weather was perfect for being outside, and the experience was incredibly relaxing. We loved it! And what a beautiful place Kultaanranta is! The river view from the yoga pier was absolutely stunning! I didn't even know that Finland had scenery like that. Kymijoki is definitely called the Amazon of Finland for a reason!





  
River yoga by Yogelina. Picture by Visit Kotka-Hamina.

After the activities, we had black pot coffee and smoothies and heard a little bit more about Erämys-KeisarinKosket and what they have to offer for groups.




We were getting quite exhausted by this point so we were happy that the next stop was our accommodation for the night, Harjun Oppimiskeskus in Virolahti. This place is actually a school for equestrian studies, gardening, agriculture and environmental studies. We stayed at a two-bed student dorm, which was lovely. Harjun Oppimiskeskus is located in the countryside, in the immediate surroundings of the beautiful Harju Manor, and the whole area is stunning!



"Life is full of big miracles for the one willing to receive them" - Moominpappa.

We had a delicious dinner at Harju Manor and then got taken down to Rantaharju for a sauna night by the sea and for hanging out together as a group with a brass band playing in the background. I have to confess that I'm not really a group sauna type of person - I love the sauna, but for me, it's a private thing instead of a way of partying. Therefore, we didn't go to the sauna, but instead stayed in the beach cottage sampling beers by a local brewery called Takatalo & Tompuri.

Harju Manor.

Harju Manor from the inside.

A gorgeous classroom building.

One of the sauna night sponsors was Ole Hyvä.



The Harjunranta beach cottage and sauna.


We were mega tired by the point we got back to the hostel at night and fell asleep pretty much instantly!

The following day started with a hearty breakfast at the restaurant of Harjun Oppimiskeskus. Right after that, we had a horse carriage ride around the Harju area. We might or might not have ended up stealing some apples on the way...Once again, some people went for more adventurous activities like abseiling and riding, while one group went to visit the Bunker Museum in Virolahti. This area really has something for everyone, whether it's history, extreme sports, nature, relaxation or museums that you're looking for.

On a horse carriage ride! Picture by Visit Kotka-Hamina.



Apple orchards.




Horse friends!


Our KotHam Adventure ended in a soup lunch and some lovely words from the amazing people of Visit Kotka-Hamina that organised this fabulous experience. If you're ever in Finland, make sure to pay a visit to this lovely part of the country!

A massive thank you to these Visit Kotka-Hamina and Harjun Oppimiskeskus lovelies for organising this weekend!
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Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with Visit Kotka-Hamina. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are always my own, so like I said - go visit this part of Finland! It's worth it!

Comments

  1. I love that you write about places in your country that most of the people never heard of (me). This is the best way to find hidden gems.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the feedback :)! I was genuinely surprised about the beauty of this area, too, and definitely want to go back to see more of both Kotka and Hamina.

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