When is the last time you have had an outdoor adventure and went somewhere new?
I’d like to join Toyota RV4 Adventure Club and MapMyRun to inspire you to go on an outdoor adventure. It can be a full blown road trip with your car, or a small walk in your own neighborhood by using a different route than before to discover something new – or anything in between! Read this post sponsored by Toyota to discover my latest adventure in my old ‘hood in Finland, and how you can to win a TOM TOM GO LIVE! to keep you on the map – even when your adventures take you off road.
Impromptu Road Trip in Finland
Our latest adventure? Last week. We did a Midsummer trip to Finland, we spent a long weekend at my parents summer cottage in Turku archipelago, and then did an impromptu road trip visiting my sister in Tampere before heading to Helsinki, where we took a cruise ship back to Sweden. This meant about a two hour drive on both days (we stayed overnight in Tampere).
When I grew up in Finland I traveled a lot around the country, usually by bus to some sporting competition. I haven’t lived there for 15 years, and our last road trip in Finland as a family was over 7 years ago, and kids barely remembered a thing. After doing massive road trips in the US, the difference is quite big. There are no road side restaurant chains like in the US, (no Starbucks!), and the “highway” isn’t always even a four lane large highway. There are no traffic jams, not much traffic (compared to the US roads), no billboards to look at, but just country side, and I was keeping my eyes for moose, the biggest danger on the roads.
We didn’t see moose but saw some lambs, cows and horses. Does that count?
Nuutajärvi Glass Factory Stop
We didn’t really plan anything. Because that takes away from the adventure.
We didn’t really have a schedule. Because that ruins the possibility of finding something new and exploring it.
And when we were driving from Turku to Tampere, in about midway I saw a sign for Nuutajärvi glass factory and Glass Village. I of course had heard about Nuutajärvi before, but had never visited before – and it made a perfect stop on our road trip!
The Nuutajärvi Glass Village includes an old glass factory, art gallery, artisan shops, glass blowing school and Iittala Factory store. The oldest factory of Nuutajärvi Glass was founded in 1793, and it is the oldest glass factory in Finland that is still in function and produces Finnish art glass. The famous birds of Oiva Toikka are made in Nuutajärvi, and we were also able to see some amazing Oiva Toikka glass art in the exhibition – and of course filled our car with Iittala home products from the factory shop, and ate cinnamon buns in the factory cafeteria.
If I had planned a road trip — I could have added a visit to Nuutajärvi Glass Village as one of the must dos, but it was even nicer to be surprised and find it on our road trip adventure.
Quick Stop before Helsinki
On our way to Helsinki, we realized that Hillary Clinton was visiting the city the same day, and there was also a the European Athletics Championships sporting event, and we were a little worried everything going on might affect the traffic, and decided to stop for lunch before heading to the city. We of course we still in the New York state of mind, and forgot how few people there still are in Helsinki, most people use public transportation and the traffic in general flows much better than what we are used to, and there are pretty much no long traffic jams, and we should have probably just driven directly to the city.
But nevertheless… we stopped for quick lunch at a road side gas station, and had Finnish Hesburger hamburgers for old time’s sake. Hesburger is like McDonalds, only better, and while we didn’t eat much hamburgers when I was a kid, it was my favorite chain and I wanted to take kids there. Kids were absolutely stunned – we never eat fast food, not really even on the road trips, and they are not used to stopping at gas stations – to eat! But everything is different in Europe, and at least we had already seen the fancy espresso bars in some gas stations in Italy earlier this year, and kids were just excited of a brand new dining experience.
The food — well, it certainly wasn’t the highlight of our trip, but that’s irrelevant. The point is that we did something completely out of ordinary and made it an adventure. By the time we were in our cruise ship waving good-bye to Helsinki and Finland, I realized we had done it again – made our impromptu trip extraordinary and created unique vacation memories we will remember a lifetime.
Toyota RAV4 Adventure Club
Feeling adventurous? Join the Toyota RAV4 Adventure Club, a new club on MapMyRun inspiring you to take an outdoor adventure and share it with others. You can create and share routes with the community members and by creating and sharing an unexpected adventure group members are entered for a chance to win a TOM TOM GO LIVE! In addition, the Toyota RAV4 Club member who creates the route with the most votes will win a $500 Visa Gift card for their next outdoor adventure.
Toyota motivated me to break out from the norm and discover something new in my old neighborhood. There is an adventure waiting around every corner, tell us about your unexpected adventure below for a chance to win a Tom Tom GO LIVE.