Saturday, 19 February 2011

Saturday 19th February

Is this the right way to go?

Walking to the lake at Sami and Annika's homes.
The sun through the trees.
A welcome at Annika's house.
The view to the lake. It's a truly beautiful place!
The ice hole!

The block of ice from the ice hole.... 67cm thick!
Now, we try to drill another hole!

Happy girls, on the way to Sami's home.

Getting ready for the snowmobile.

George ja Mikko :-)
An experience of a lifetime!
Mr Purves, about to set out on his own!

The final full day of activities proved to be another outstanding one!

We started by having a lie in, until around 9am, when we had breakfast. Jyrki arrived soon afterwards at Seurakuntakoti, our accommodation, and we got ready to spend the day outside with the penpals and parents at the lake where Sami and Annika live. To get there, we went again on the coach, around 3km past Kuvansi. It wasn't so cold today- in fact it seemed almost balmy at 10am as it was only around -20C!

Once we arrived at the lake and were welcomed by Anne (Sami's mum) we walked down onto the frozen lake and were shown a hole that had been drilled by Mika (Annika's dad). Mika explained how this winter has been very cold and how the ice is much thicker than normal. We measured the ice that had been brought out from the drilled hole and found that it was 67cm thick! Truly amazing! Then we had a go at drilling our own holes, which was great fun.

After this we walked from one lake to another, and through some forest. We arrived at Sami's house, and the scene that greeted us was amazing. There was a roaring fire, next to the lake, with reindeer soup being cooked by Kari, Sami's dad. He is from Lapland- and it was as if we were all in Lapland. The scenery was truly outstanding. As we sledged down through the trees to the lake, Mika showed the class three different snowmobiles, and explained that the children could all be taken for rides on them, in groups of four, sitting in a trailer being towed by the snowmobiles. We then all had a series of brilliant rides on the snowmobiles, across the lake and through the forest. Although I don't have individual quotes from the children, I can say that each and everyone of them thought that this was one of the true highlights of this wonderful week. Many came off the snowmobile saying how much they had enjoyed their rides. I was then allowed to drive two of them myself, which was a highlight for me too! :-)

We ate, drank, ate more and drank more, and each and every one of the children was catered for individually. It was amazing! (Just like everything else this week, to be honest!)

At around 2.30pm, we left for the spa hotel in Varkaus, after saying goodbye to the penpals, and we spent the afternoon swimming and enjoying the flume rides and the jacuzzis.

At 6pm, after getting ready, we were then treated to a really fantastic meal at a restaurant in Varkaus, where Jari the headteacher from Kuvansi, along with Jyrki and Marjo the teachers, joined us. Everyone learned to sing Auld Lang Syne in Finnish and enjoyed the meal and the great atmosphere. Jari gave out gifts to each of the children, and we then finished off with a quiz, set by Jari and Jyrki. A really wonderful end to a most amazing week. I have never experienced such hospitality, and I know that the children have all been overwhelmed by the experience.

Tomorrow morning, we leave for home. It has been a great experience for everyone. And, an experience that I am sure they will recall for the rest of their lives. I want to thank each and every one of the hosts for their wonderful friendliness during the whole week. Hopefully we will be able to repay this in Scotland soon!!


Lisa Kielty said...

Thank you for your dedication and diligence Mr Purves, in keeping all of we parents at home informed!
Your last day looks and sounds as though it has been fabulous!
I thought the ice in our back garden was thick this winter... and I've decided that we definitely need a snowmobile now! We actually had a wee bit of snow this morning and the hills are quite white now, although it didn't lie for long in the village.
I want to thank you, Mr Purves, and ALL of the parents and teachers involved for being so warm and generous in their welcome and for giving my child memories that I know he will NEVER forget.
Hopefully one day we can offer them the same in return.
Have a safe and happy journey home tomorrow.

Daniela said...

Hi Mike, How did Mr Purves do on the snow mobile, do you think he will give up his day job? Thankyou to the teachers and helpers for keeping the children safe and entertained. Safe Journey. Look forward to seeing you tomorrow night. Mum, Dad and BJ

Lindsay Brown said...

Hi everyone what a day you have had again, it looks like fantastic fun. You lucky things. We are so jealous.

One more sleep till you are all home, can't wait to see you Ewan. xx

Dave, Mairi and Claire said...

Hi All,
Another fantastic looking day. The place looks so beautiful and the activities today look absolutely amazing. We ask you to pass on a message to the Finnish Hosts to thank them most sincerely for their hospitality and making the trip such a special experience. It has truly been a trip of a lifetime.

Future trips to Benmore may not have the same appeal this is going to be a very hard act to follow.

Enjoy your last night and we all wish you a pleasant and safe trip home tomorrow.

Thanks again to Mr P and all the other travelling helpers who have made all this possible.


Linda Hummel said...

It all sounds magical and incredibly warm, despite the cold! A huge thank you to Mr Purves, the rest of the team and all the folks in Finland, for all the hard work, and especially for giving up hard-earned holiday time to give all our children such an amazing opportunity. Wishing you a safe and smooth journey home - get some sleep if you can on the way! Very much looking forward to seeing you Katrina. xxx

trotter family said...

hello everyone-another great day-to echo what everyone else is saying ,well done and thankyou to all involved in making this trip possible-loads of good things to remember for each pupil-hi to amy-looking forward to having you home see you dad n adam.x

Diane Marshall said...

Hi Dean, what another fantastic action packed day you all seem to have had. The snowmobile ride sounds like great fun. It's been great reading the blog every day to catch up with all the activities you have been doing and can't wait for you to come home and hear all your stories. Have missed you lots.
Love Auntie Diane and Uncle Alex

The Riva Family said...

Another wonderful day for all! WOW the snowmobile ride looked amazing. The experiences the children have had on this holiday have been unique and I am sure will be remembered. A massive thank you to everyone who has so generously provided hospitality. Mr Purves please pass on our sincere thanks.

The pictures are wonderful from today and we will miss reviewing them every night. However, we are really looking forward to you coming home.

Take care and safe journey home.
Love from
Andrew, Tracy and Beth Riva

Stephanie Heawood said...

What an amazing day! Many thanks to Mr Purves, Mrs Hilsley, and all the rest for making this such a fantastic trip.
We can't wait to see you tomorrow, Catriona, and to hear all about it.

Fiona Edwards said...

Hello everyone
I'm disappointed that I can't actually be in Finland with you all as planned, but I'm certainly with you in spirit as I read this fantastic blog. What an adventure you've all had! I can tell by your comments and all your wonderful photos that it has been a huge success.
Well done Michael and Jyrki for all your hard work and great efforts in making this trip something which will be talked about for a long time and probably never forgotten!
Have a safe and happy journey home to Scotland.
Kind regards and Best Wishes
Fiona Edwards
(I wonder who will make it to school on Monday!)
(Michael - sighted any Saami yet? - only kidding!)

Gunn Family said...

The day at the lake looked wonderful and full of fun especially the Snowmobile. A really unique experience for you all. Thanks to everyone involved with making this so special for the children. Looking forward to hearing all about it. The blog has been great.
Safe journey home.
Kathleen, Robert, Craig and Cody

Fiona Kent said...

Another fantastic day for you all, Finland looks amazing. I can imagine you had the time of your life on the snowmobiles ryan LOL i am so jealous. A big thankyou to everyone who made this trip possible and thankyou Mr Purves for the fantastic pictures.

Have a safe journey home, we are looking forward to seeing you. Love everyone back home xxxxx

Lea VisitFinland said...

Hi Mr P and all his pupils

I'v been reading the blog and I am very delighted you all seem to have had such a great time. I know it is mainly ment for parents and friends to comment here but I wanted to write couple words on behalf of Visit Finland. First of all thank you for visiting Finland and I hope you all travel home with great memories. I also want to wish you and your families welcome to travel back to Finland some day.

jere-petteri said...

Was it fun to be on a snowmobile?

Noora said...

Do you like snow? Did you have fun in Finland? Was really nice Kathryn teaches skiing. He knew how to ski really well. You were all really nice.