Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Seskarö Camping

After checking out of the Storforsen Camping at noon of July 30, we moved on to our next destination: Haparanda-Tornio. These are two municipalities that belong to Sweden (Haparanda) and Finland (Tornio) but considered as one city sharing the Torne River that borders the two countries. Haparanda-Tornio became a common term for these contiguous municipalities.

When we got there, first thing we did was look for a camping site where we could set up our tent before going on a sightseeing expedition. The sites we searched from the internet beforehand didn't seem promising, and so we had to see for ourselves how they looked like. We started scouring from the north, looking for the much-advertised Kuokkolaforsen Camping, which is also beside a rapid. Unfortunately, it was too crowded that time on account of the fish-grilling festival that was being held. So we crossed that out. 

Then we went as far as Finland, to the municipalities of Tornio and Kemi, but that didn't yield good results either. It looks like camping is not a popular thing in this country because we found only one in each municipality, but no tenting allowed.  It's not like in Sweden and Norway where camping sites are found everywhere.

We went back to Haparanda not knowing what to do or where to go. The funny thing is that as we went back and forth, I realized that in just a matter of minutes, I had been to Finland twice. The telecommunications too must have been confused as we kept receiving SMS welcoming us to Finland, as soon as we  crossed the bridge that bounded the two countries, and then again to Sweden, and back again.

At this time, we had established contact with our boss, who happens to be our friend too, and they (he and his two kids and his nephew)  finally made it to Haparanda as he had planned before, though  a little indecisive at first. And so we agreed to meet at Ikea and discuss about where to stay. 

My hubby said that he knew of one camping site in Seskarö, which is one of the numerous islands at the northern tip of the Gulf of Bothnia that divides Sweden and Finland. At first, we were hesitant to go there because it would take us over ten km back from Haparanda, but since we had no other choice, we settled on that. That was not a bad choice because it turned out that the island has several interesting natural spots and fishing areas. The camping site too was cool and almost fully occupied by vacationers. 

Night had set in when we got settled, I and my hubby in our tent, our boss and the kids in two small cabins. It was too late to cook our foods then, so we just ordered our dinner at the camping restaurant and ate outdoor where two musicians entertained the diners that Saturday night. Later on, a boy asked if he could sing with them, and he sang some Eric Clapton's songs with a voice like that of an adult. And yes, he was really good!

We slept soundly that night despite the continuous flapping of our tent as the sea breeze whipped against it. 

The following day, we all agreed to travel around  the Finnish side of the city right up to the north in a convoy. I'm going to write about this trip later.

Hours thereafter, we went back to Seskarö and stopped by a bay to see if we could catch some fish. Unfortunately, the fishes were too small at this time. This one here is so far the biggest that one of the kids caught, though still too small for one man's meal. 

Anyway, just sitting there and watching the evening sun that lingered above the water and looking at the beautiful surroundings felt almost like heaven already.

Back in the camping site, I strolled along the beach with my camera, always on the lookout for something to shoot. The kids went boat-pedaling while my hubby and our boss were sitting beside our tent and conversing happily.

The retreating sun behind the pine trees had cast a soft warm glow over the sea and the sky above it. It was already about 10:00 p.m.,  a cold and windy night, and we hadn't taken our dinner yet. And so we grilled some marinated pork and sausages, which we all gobbled with great gusto. We piled up more woods over the remaining fire to keep us warm and stayed there for some more minutes before we finally retired for the night.

That day was indeed pleasant and full of fun and unspeakable joy. It was our first time to spend a holiday with friends in almost two years since we came to this country.  And that was something new for me, something I'll never forget. May it not be the last time....