On a sunny end-of-May Sunday, I headed down to Kalajoki for the day with my daughter Amaya. After the long and snowy winter, I was keen to see Kalajoki in its more summer-style attire, especially the sea without the ice and snow. Our first stop was the Kalajoki Sand Dunes. We parked our car on the top of the highest part of the dunes and walked down the wooden steps and path towards the sea. Even though it looked sunny and summery, the wind blowing from the sea was still quite bitter. But still, it was the open, fresh summer sea. I was excited!
We walked along the long wooden paths, and the air smelled gently of the sea, seaweed, fish, tar-coated boats and freshly painted seaside houses. There were benches along the paths for sea-viewing and resting but we decided to sit right on the sand, covered from the wind behind a sand dune. I had a cup of coffee from the thermos, Amaya an oat-milk chocolate drink and we had bought biscuits on the way. We sat there quietly, just drinking coffee and cocoa, breathing the sea air and soaking in the lovely atmosphere. We laughed at one bird, which struggled to stay put mid-air in the wind and wait for his mate. When the other bird arrived, they lazily let themselves be carried away by the wind…
The sea, the sand and small red houses by the sea reminded me of Tove Jansson and how the sea was often the key part of her stories, both Moomin and the other stories, novels and autobiographical works. How she liked to spend her summers in an island by the sea.
I had promised Amaya that she could visit Super Park, a children’s indoor activity park, in Kalajoki. The Kalajoki park of the chain had just opened in the new Raitti shopping mall only the day before our visit. She ended up playing there for several hours, while I had a look at the shops, had a coffee and even went out for a long walk… In the shopping mall, I was happy to have a chance to visit Pisa Design’s new lifestyle shop called Aito (read my other blog text about Pisa Design). There was was also an Iittala Outlet shop upstairs and in another shop, I bought some cute cotton fabric for Amaya. (She is planning to do some sewing with her grandmother during the summer holiday.)
We had lunch at a restaurant called Lohilaakso, just a few minutes’ drive away from the new shopping mall and the Santa’s Resort & Spa Hotel Sani (where we usually stay if we stay the night in Kalajoki). The restaurant is in a log house by a small lake where you can also do fishing and have your caught fish smoked in the restaurant. Lohilaakso’s speciality is smoked fish.
After playing at Super Park, Amaya was starving. She chose a kiddies’ salmon meal with a fried salmon steak, creamy potatoes and a large piece of rye bread.
As there was a lovely smell of smoked fish outside the restaurant, I wanted to eat smoked fish. I had smoked white fish (siika, シーカ) salad. It was just what I needed!
I wish we could have stayed the night in Kalajoki too… go to the spa, have a relaxing sauna and stay in the spa hotel over-looking the sea. Next time definitely.
Monika Luukkonen is a Finnish lifestyle expert and published non-fiction author.
Monika’s new bookマイタイム 自分もまわりも幸せになる「自分のための時間」のつくり方 by Discover 21 has come out in Japan in April 2018! With this book, she wants to tell you how Finnish working parents can handle both family life and career at the same time. With adding the concept of ”my time” to your days, you can find balance in your busy work-family life situation and learn to nurture yourself. This new book is Monika’s third book published in Japan and it continues her series of books about Finland, its people and the Finnish lifestyle. Read more about this book at www.d21.co.jp/shop/isbn9784799322543
You can find information on her previously published books ふだん着のフィンランド andフィンランド人が教えるほんとうのシンプル through these links:
Monika has a nearly 20 years of experience dealing with the Japanese market. She also has a background in international marketing and sales (e.g. in telecoms, medical technology, and business consultancy). Monika has lived both in Japan and the UK twice and is currently living in her home town of Oulu, in the Northern Finland, with her daughter. Monika enjoys reading, walking, meditation and spending time in the nature.
You can follow Monika on Twitter and Instagram at