On the way from Lapland

You know you are kind of obsessed when you plan your skiing holiday around museums. And when you realise your journey home with all the diversions to museums would take around 2 days.

While enjoying Lapland with all its frolics we decided to take a short break from skiing and made a little trip to Kittilä and Levi and visited local Särestöniemi and Samiland museums.

Särestöniemi museum is a true gem: located in the middle of Lappish nowhere (I like I like!) is the old home of Särestöniemi family.

Their most famous member was Reidar Särestöniemi, a prominent Finnish artist. Apparently the Särestöniemis lived there until the very end; the last member of the family, Reidar’s brother Anton, died in 1997 – and visitors who managed to make it while he was still alive could meet him, talk to him, ask questions, take pictures…

… I would have definitely asked about the swimming pool in the gallery building: why, for the love of nature, why would you build a large swimming (not dipping) pool in the middle of the forests? And on the top floor of a building which has been used, well, for living? I see, sauna and all that, but really…

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Artists, hey. Anyways, I was surprised how open not only Reidar but all his family were. When Reidar wanted to travel and see the world in his 20s and 30s (that is in those times when mass tourism was nothing what even a Helsinki Finn would typically do), his parents helped him financially. As long as he earned the money by collecting and cutting wood. It warms my heart to see tolerant and oddity-liking or oddity-interested Finns – or to know of them.

Oh and some examples (yes, I did take pictures of artwork again) of Reidar’s work:

I could watch them for hours: those simple strokes. The structure. The colours (either really strong and in contradiction to what he could have experienced in Lapland or mild, light Finnish shades of grey, brown, grey and blue).

Nowadays, the museum feels really warm and homey: there are very few museum guards around, you are simply asked not to touch or steal anything. The cafeteria staff makes own buns – and talk a lot. You are welcome to share a piece of the creative atmosphere.

And now a few words about Samiland: it is great for those who want a change from skiing and partying in Levi, or a foreign tourist longing to learn more about the indigenous Sami. It is also fine if you are willing to read a lot of facts on the displays. And if you love reindeers, it is pretty damn awesome, because you will meet some (alive and walking around) there and for a moment you will forget that you are actually in the hotel yard (the main exhibition is in a hotel’s cellar) and that the name of the place is Samiland (ouch).

With the magical Museokortti not only you save money, but you will also get a free coffee (or hot chocolate with marshmallows) with your visit. But as I mentioned on my other blog, I highly suggests chipping in additional 3 € and buying a bag of lichen for the reindeers. They will adore you.

 

On the way back we passed Jyväskylä. Due to the general fatigue and our time schedule we did not make it to any of “real” museums, however, we managed to make it to the Finnish Airforce Museum in Tikkakoski.

Planes. Helicopters. Missiles. Catapult chairs. Models. An open fighter jet cockpit you can climb into. Air traffic communication devices. Lots of swastikas (Finnish pre-WW2 airforce marking). Quite relaxing walk and a nice change to sitting in the car.

 

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