Youngsters Blog


Intoxicating evening at Rautajärvi summer market- Heidi Hirmukallio

I rarely visit Rautajärvi now, perhaps a few times a year, as it's on the northern edge of Pälkäne district. It is my parents' home village however, so I certainly went lots as a child to see family members at their cottages. Perhaps for these reasons, the evening summer market drew my attention - a chance to enjoy a twilight summer evening in the tranquility of the villages with mouth-watering smells from the food market drifting around me in the grounds of Rautahovi manor house . 

The drive to Rautajärvi is long, but the tyres on the car are happy now as the tarmac has been renewed - as a child I remember it as a bumpy drive. As we approach Rautajärvi, the buildings seem familiar, but I am still trying to locate the Rautahovi building. I'm thinking of Rautahovi as a large building with a pedestrian area, and roped off areas for the stalls. The truth turns out to be somewhat different...

The large yellow building rises upwards, with the name in big letters - Rautahovi. The building is surrounded by sandy ground, where dozens of cars are already parked. Nearby sellers are setting up tables, placing items on carpets on the ground, and adding clothing onto rails, showcasing their products. Accordion music punctuates the air as they busy themselves. The sun is beating down, and it's becoming a very warm evening. I stroll around the marketplace and find that there are all kinds of items, from toy to clothes, beautiful handmade items and some homemade snacks too.

After a while, more people come and visit the various sellers. Some people have even come to the market dressed in old-fashioned outfits. For a while it feels like I've been transported back in time thirty years. They are not even using phones like eveyone else, thus keeping up the illusion, and making me wonder every now and again if I really have gone back in time.

The kids are drifting around the dirt area, stopping at the flea market stalls to look at the toys. A little girl's fingers are pressed around a plastic animal, and she runs to get coins from her parents. Toy guns are popular with the boys, and a moment later the yard is filled with laughter, screams and kids making shooting sounds as they chase each other around. I overhear one boy asking for an advance on his pocket money for the month, promising not to ask for more.

Everyone seemed to know each other, or maybe it was just a local way of speaking. Everyone talking to each other like old acquaintances, even if they were here for the first time. It has the effect of making everyone feel at home. Still, I feel like a city person who has come to visit the countryside, and maybe I am, because this is the real countryside.

The Sarkanen farm stall offering homemade ice cream draws my attention, as I have not tried that before. From a variety of flavour options, I choose salmiakki (Finnish salty liquorice) and lemon. Wow. The ice cream is so silky and creamy that it melts in my mouth. Now I know why homemade ice cream costs a bit more than the packs at the supermarket. Yummy!


As I turn, I spot a table with leather wristbands and other decorative items. The colours range from sandy-white to dark chocolate brown. After a moment of reflection, I buy a lovely hand-made light cream wrist band. I realised I left my purse in the car, but the seller is trusting, telling me to just put on the band, and come back to pay. That is certainly a country village attitude.

At the end of the market, I head up the steps into the Rautahovi building. Indoors, the old wooden structure looks nice, having changed a bit over the years, but still retaining the old style feeling. The smell of coffee is in the air, and guides me up the steps to the cafeteria. I get waffles and a coffee, for only a small fee. Even though I am sitting here for the first time, there is still something strangely familiar about it all.

The market is slowly thinning out, and people start gathering their products back into the car before heading off, the driveway rocks crunching under the tyres. I leave my car in the field, and we go for an evening walk around Rautajärvi village. I hear stories about people who've lived in modern high-rise city buildings, but now enjoy their old-fashioned terraced houses, and in the calm evening, I can understand it. We pass a former bank building, the library, and a village store. Nearby spruce and birch sprouts from my youth have turned into giant trees, making a complete forest. The neighbourhood children have grown up too, most of the youth of the village now scattered around Finland, studying or working. 

Abroad, I have visited and love these small remote villages with their sandy or cobblestone streets. They feel old and outdated, with flaking plaster walls and worn wooden shutters on buildings exposed to the elements, appearing decrepit to passers-by. For me however, they are real life, the genuine look of what I have always appreciated. I see the same authenticity in the village of Rautajärvi.

I also took a look at the interesting Weber point, which was placed in the village of Rautajärvi in 1979. The monument, that has now been seen for decades, indicated the demographic centre of Finland, meaning on average, all Finns were within 191 kilometers of this point. I admired the mottled surface of the sign, enjoying being at the centre of Finland for a moment, then jumped back over the ditch to the gravel road. The Weber point is quite unique. I think I would like to live on this road.


The sun still beats down from the sky on this summer evening, and the silence is almost tangible. A tiny gust of wind blows the leaves of the trees, animating the scene. It's real life. This modern world, where children are taught from an early age about safety consciousness, with warning signs and fences everywhere is not one I appreciate so much. I for one want my own children to enjoy climbing trees, perhaps falling or getting a splinter, and grow up learning common sense, not relying on warning signs. Everyone has to live a little.

Someone once said that the attractiveness of a place is not so much how many visitors there are now, but by how many visitors will come again. During the evening I imagine the future of Rautajärvi. Time will tell, it comes into being.

So, head to Rautajärvi for a summer evening market and enjoy the countryside as the breeze drifts across the village. Dare to enjoy the rural freedom and open your eyes to the beauty that too few people ever appreciate. The evening markets take place in Rautajärvi - Rautahovi's yard - on the last Tuesday of the summer months, starting at 17 o'clock. The events are organized by Rautajärvi village association along with groups from nearby Luopioinen and Kukkia. Free entry, and all are welcome. Maybe even setup a stall yourself, or just sell from the car boot - there are no booking fees but arrive early for a good spot. Sausages and coffee are available in the market, along with the lovely ice cream, of course - welcome!

31.07.18 from 17:00

28.08.18 from 17:00

25.09.18 from 17:00


More information on the evening market   (in Finnish) can be found here:


Takahuoneita ("Backstage") Photo exhibition at Mikkolan Navetta's old grain store - Atte Tornikoski

Cool exhibition at Mikkolan Navetta!

The "Takahuoneita" (Backstage) photo exhibition from Juha Tyyskä embodies the moods of the artist back rooms, from the point of view of rockers, circus artists and actresses, in stunning black and white images. In the captivating pictures, the main part is obviously the artists themselves, before or after a performace, and many celebrities have been recorded at the Helsinki Tavastian rock club and the Pori Jazz festival. The pictures were taken between 1986 and 2000 and it is fun to see the likes of punk rock band Eppu as youngsters!

The two-story building is impressive. The old brick storeroom is a very unique showroom, and therefore a memorable destination. I believe that the artworks fit perfectly in these surroundings. I have visited the Mikkola grain barn exhibition space once before, that time the exhibition was based around death.

I look forward to a show that stands out from the crowd, and images like this impress me. The black and white imprints echo days gone by, and I am sure many older fans will appreciate this bit of history, reminding them of styles and trends. OK, now on with the show!

At the entrance, my eye first catches the Summer Vacation supplement article from Sydän-Hämeen Lehti newspaper, which provides a great background to the exhibition. If you read the article, you may get even enjoyment more from the show. I drift through the dimly lit rooms of dim lighting - the rustic setting works, the exposed brick walls and weathered wood complement the black and white scenes, giving a seemingly personal exhibition experience. Many people in the pictures stare back at me, the others are focused on their craft. The pictures are across two floors and in many rooms, so be careful not to miss anything - the place is almost too rambling, a little like a backstage room itself.

I did wonder what Tyyskä way saying with the pictures. Does the photographer do justice to the artists on quick breaks? Was he possibly hoping that people would be more sympathetic to those who have chosen the showbiz industry? At least he wants to widen the understanding of people in the hidden areas of entertainment. It is clearly not meant to document just back rooms, but it is something else. That is why the name of the exhibition is somewhat misleading to me, but still very interesting.

Additional information on their Facebook page -


Just give yourself time to be alone - Heidi Hirmukallio

Syrjänharju water tower. A familiar destination since childhood, but the views of the landscape still facinate me, even now. As a child, counting the stairs was the most interesting thing about the tower, and who would get to the top first. Looking through the metal lattice steps was always a worry too as a child - they looked so thin - and I often thought they might suddenly give way. As I got older of course, it stopped worrying me, and soon I was racing up them with neighbourhood friends, but I had the hometown advantage!

The water tower rises 150 meters above the ridge, and has been offering views across the landscape since the 1970's. Over the years, works of art have been added to the tower, such as the Vera Svetlova artwork "Flying Kiss", which adorns the outer wall. The inner wall on the viewing platform has a humorous series of images by Tommi Lahtinen, a comic strip of about a traditional cottage trip. The rural landscape, which extends out from the viewing tower, is itself a continuum of artistic creations that spreads as far as the eye can see.


This time I get up the stairs quickly, almost without looking at my feet. However, my hand is forced to keep a firm hold of the curved metal handrail. My thoughts are wandering. Climbing the stairs is some kind of magic bodily automation, because every step of my journey always pushes my mind further away from climbing itself, without even stumbling.

Leaning against the side of the observation deck, the smooth carpet of green and yellowish fields speads out between the lush pine trees. The roads and paths disappear into the horizon, hedges and ditches divide the fields into squares of different sizes. Somewhat further away, a reflection is visible from a large farmhouse, that seems only like a matchbox in the distance. The tops of some pines have curved, obscuring part of the landscape.

The air is cool. The forest that awakens in the morning seems to respect the silence, which I always appreciate. I gaze down at the sides of the tower and just listen to the wind blowing through the trees. It has always been one of my favorite songs, bringing to mind the chilly nights of last summer, when a coat was often needed to protect against the wind. This summer should be warmer though, so hopefully no jacket will be needed!

I rub my fingertips on the rough surface of the concrete edge. Even at this height, the tops of some trees are still towering in front of my eyes, some are shorter than me, and it feels like I can almost reach out to touch them. A small patter is heard from the forest floor below. A carefree, wandering squirrel hops onto a rock for a moment, before leaping onto a nearby spruce branch, then jumping higher from branch to branch. That is too much rushing around for me, and does not seem to fit my lazy summer morning routine, although the views have me wide awake now.

On the other side of tower, the surface of Lake Mallasvesi glimmers in silver. Perhaps it is due to mist, which has crept in slowly during the summer night, covering the lapping waves. I can now distinguish subtle vibes on the otherwise calm surface of the mirrored lake. My thoughts, and gaze, drift into the distance as I breathe in the fresh, scented, morning air.

I then climb the metal ladder up to the highest level. When I get up there, my gaze drops back down. I feel a bit shaky, and hope my wobbly legs will get me back down. The dirt road that led to the tower now reveals dark skid marks that cars have made. How odd I did not notice them on the walk here. Perhaps it is height-induced - the higher we rise, the better we notice things, and our clarity improves when seeing things from a larger perspective. Surprisingly, it is a welcome reminder of how many everyday problems would just disappear if we were to think of how we are small parts of this big universe. Still, it often feels that there is a whole world within your own head, crying to get out.


Scattered across the lakes are dark green islands, full of lush trees. The beach shores sweep along the waters edge, and quickly change into dark, dense forests. The forest cover continues untouched, until it finally merges with the blue skyline.

Take a moment from everyday life and visit the Pälkäne water tower. Come and enjoy a summers day, gaze at the lakes and give yourself time to be alone. The water tower is right next to the center of Pälkäne, so you can easily take a walk here, perhaps even a short break during a work day to clear you head. Dare to give yourself time to think. You may be surprised where your thoughts will carry you...



Six youngsters, six weeks - Summer tourism advisors blog about their tourism experiences and also help to guide tourists

(Picture: Atte Tornikoski)


This summer, from 18 June, tourists to Pälkäne will be pampered with good service, as our young tourist advisors begin their work. These young people will be based in Pälkäne, and also occasionally in Luopioinen, working in pairs for two weeks. They will be found mainly in the foyer at Nuijantalo, at a tourist information point "pop-up" at the Aapiskukko rest stop, and also at the Tervepirtti summer forest. Other times you may spot them in their black and green "Visit Pälkäne" branded T-shirts, riding on electric bikes between various tourist attractions in the area. So, if you see them, don't forget to ask for summer holiday tips or tourism related ideas about the Pälkäne area.

In addition, these youngsters will write blogs here on Visit Pälkäne's pages about events and travel destinations in the area, along with their experiences, as well as social media updates, so don't forget to also checkout Visit Pälkäne's Facebook and Instagram feeds!

Below is an introduction to each of our summer interns.

18.06 - 01.07


I'm Atte Tornikoski, a 20-year-old from Pälkäne centre, where I have lived all my life. This spring I graduated from high school.

I am quite musical and creative, and intend to further my studies in the field of art - a Master of the Arts degree would be great!

At this moment, I'm looking forward to what life will bring: in autumn I will move to Espoo for civilian service, working at the Finnish Visitor Center. My appreciation for nature is great and I enjoy photography - fortunately Pälkäne has a wide variety of beautiful nature!




Hi There!

I'm Heidi Hirmukallio. I'm studying at Pälkäne high school and I start my matriculation examinations next year. I have lived in Pälkäne my whole life, that is, for 17 years. My favorite places in Pälkäne are the Niitty-Seppälä strawberry farm, Pakanranta beach, and the Frisbeegolf course near the Kostia river. I like reading, writing and travelling. Foreign languages have always interested me, and I'm currently studying five different languages. My goal is to start the sixth next autumn. In addition to languages, I also play the piano.









02.07 - 15.07


I'm Iiro Moisio, a 17-year-old high school student from Luopioinen. I've played basketball for over seven years and do a lot of exercise. I go to high school in Pälkäne, and have lived in Luopioinen for around 11 years. I like sports and summer, but do not enjoy mosquitoes. The best thing about Pälkäne, in my opinion, are the diverse sports facilities and nature areas - especially the waterways. For your visit, I would recommend a hike in Laipanmaa.









I'm Eveliina Virtanen, a 17-year-old high student at Kirkonkylä school in Luopioinen. I consider myself to be positive and creative, and I engage in all kinds of culture, especially music (I play the kantele), theatre, singing and writing. In my leisure time I also like to read, go on nature walks, listen to music and just dream. In my opinion, Pälkäne is a wonderful place to stay because there are plenty of recreational opportunities here and nature surrounds you. My favorite places in Pälkäne are Mikkola Navetta, and its surroundings, Kukkia lake and the Luopioinen summer market.





16.07 - 29.07


I'm Kiira Sihvola, a 20-year-old Pälkäne resident. My hobbies include outdoor activities with my dogs and photography - I nearly always find myself out with a camera. I also love travelling, having just spent a gap-year in Australia. After those adventures, I'm excited to be back, exploring Pälkäne as a tourist destination this summer. My favorite place in Pälkäne is definitely our cottage on the shore of Lake Pälkäne, and the lovely shops around Laitikkala.







I'm Henriikka Hintikka, a 19-year-old from Pälkäne. I enjoy yoga, writing, reading and drawing. My interests are history, culture, nature and the environment. For me, the best places in Pälkäne are the views from Syrjänharju tower, Kostia river and the surrounding forests. Welcome to our town!










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