Finland 2

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Finland 2
70
TRAVEL
SUNDAY EXPRESS April 3, 2016
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SUNDAY EXPRESS April 3, 2016
71
Saunas, sun and so much fun for all
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NATURAL
BEAUTY:
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TAKING IT EASY: The resort of Jarvisydan, in Southern Savonia, is the perfect
spot to relax and try and spot the endangered Saimaa ringed seal, inset
ABOARD NORWEGIAN EPIC
traveloffer
12 NIGHTS DEPARTING THURSDAY 14 APRIL 2016
Day 1: Reims, France
We leave our UK departure points early this morning
for a mid-afternoon channel crossing to Calais. We
will then head towards our first overnight hotel near
Reims, making a suitable break for dinner on the
way. Reims is located in the Champagne-Ardenne
region and its famous Cathedral was the traditional
site for the crowning of the Kings of France.
Day 2: Dijon, France
After breakfast we head for the centre of Reims
where you could visit one of the famous Champagne
Houses that Reims is famous for. There are 250km of
cellars in the Champagne appellation area with many
well-known names such as Veuve Clicquot, Lanson
and Taitinger. We then head to Dijon for our lunchtime
stop. Dijon was largely spared during the FrancoPrussian War and the Second World War, despite the
city being occupied. We continue our journey through
the south of France to our overnight hotel, making a
break for dinner on the way.
Day 3: Avignon, France
We leave the hotel after breakfast this morning and
go to Avignon. The historic centre, which includes the
Popes Palace, the cathedral, and the Pont d’Avignon,
became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.
During the Avignon Papacy, seven successive popes
resided in Avignon and in 1348 Pope Clement VI
bought the town from Joanna I of Naples. Papal
control continued until 1791 when, during the French
Revolution, it became part of France. The town is
one of the few French cities to have preserved its
ramparts. We then cross the border with Spain and
continue our journey south along the Costa Brava,
also known as the Wild or Rugged Coast, before we
reach our hotel just outside Barcelona.
Day 4: Barcelona, Spain
Today we arrive in Barcelona to board your cruise
ship. After checking in you might like to have a look
INSIDE
around before sail away. With its grand boulevards
and exquisite architecture, the Catalonian capital
of Barcelona provides a vivid mix of ancient and
modern.
other, very elegant hotels fronted by expensive shops.
Day 5: Leisure at sea
Located on the Mediterranean coast, Marseille is the
oldest city in France and was founded in 600 BC.
Among the many terracotta-roofed buildings lies
many intriguing sights including the Cathedral of
Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde. Other places well worth
visiting are the city of Avignon and the quaint villages
of Le Baux & Aix en Provence.
You’ll have plenty of time today to acquaint yourself
with Norwegian Epic whilst spending a day at sea.
Find your bearings and pick out a favourite spot.
There’s lots going on for you to join in with. Plan your
week and book your excursions or let it all unfold
whilst you relax by the pool.
Day 6: Naples, Italy
Today we reach Naples, home of the pizza. Also
famous for the sleeping volcano, of course. Pompeii
is the big draw here for possibly the most famous
excavation in the world. Or you might fancy the swish
cliff-top resort of Sorrento or a trip to the Island of
Capri.
Day 7: Rome
(Civitavecchia), Italy
On arrival in Civitavecchia today why not take an
excursion to the “Eternal City” of Rome? There are
a breathtaking array of monuments, palaces and
churches, quite unlike any other European city.
Day 8: Pisa / Florence
(LIvorno), Italy
This morning we wake up in Livorno, in Tuscany. The
centre of Livorno is walkable from the port and has
some pretty bars, cafés and chic shops but most
cruise visitors head straight for Pisa or Florence.
Day 9: Cannes, France
After docking this morning in Cannes you could
take a stroll along the main waterfront promenade,
La Croisette. On one side there’s the beautiful blue
Mediterranean sea lapping a pebbly beach and to
BALCONY
Day 10: Provence
(Marseille), France
Day 11: Vichy, France
After disembarking this morning we leave Barcelona
and travel first along the coast of Spain before
heading north into France. We cross the famous
Milau Viaduct, the tallest bridge in the world. We skirt
passed the edge of the Auvergne Volcanoes Regional
Park as we head to our overnight hotel near Vichy.
Day 12: Paris, France
After breakfast we head to Sancerre, a medieval
hilltop town overlooking the Loire River that is noted
for its wine and its goat’s cheese. We leave the
vineyards behind us and make our way to Paris and
our last overnight hotel. After time to freshen up we
head into Paris for our included evening sightseeing
trip. There will be time allowed for your evening meal
at the beginning of the excursion. Then we will have
a guided tour of the some of the most famous sights,
including a photo stop at the Eiffel Tower before
heading back to the hotel late this evening.
Day 13: Home
We work our way around Paris’s infamous Boulevard
Peripherique before continuing our journey home
towards Calais and our mid-afternoon crossing to
Dover. We then start our drops off as we make our
way back up north with the last disembarkations
being late evening.
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so smoke from the wood-burning
heater lingers until the sauna is hot
enough and it is ventilated out. What
you get is a slow release, soft heat that
feels like a big, comforting cuddle.
In the heat of the summer, for the
area benefits from the continental
weather of Russia and temperatures
can climb above 30C, children can
safely play in the shallow, sandy
beaches around the resort.
What strikes me is the sense of
privacy. If you don’t wish to socialise,
the cabins are built well apart, giving
that real feeling of “we are alone here”.
The main building has a reception
area, bar and restaurant, plus a beer
garden, so there is plenty of action for
those seeking someone to chat to.
The 20 Lada Nivas are used for
safaris across the woods, swamps and
granite rocks so typical of the region,
while crowds, including the emergency
services, head to Kuus-Hukkala’s
snowy track in winter to brush up on
their driving skills with pro instructors.
Owner Markku Huopalainen admits
the safaris and driving is a pull for men
but adds: “Women are not so keen on
the cars at first but, once you get them
out there, they don’t want to stop.
“Besides, because they listen more
than men, they are the better drivers.”
He knows how to keep us on his side.
You can hire a bike to cycle around
the area, water ski, go on a boat ride,
fish, and wander about the woods to
name but few of the activities. And, of
course, you can swim. Even in winter
there is an opening in the ice for a
cooling dip from one of the saunas.
Within a 50km radius is the city of
Savonlinna with its medieval castle,
Olavinlinna. The stunning 15th century
fort stages an opera festival every
summer and is every bit as amazing
as the castles closer to home.
A walking distance away is the
former military barracks of Riihisaari,
now a museum with ancient steam
ships, and a 20-minute drive from the
city you’ll find the town of Kerimaki,
which boasts the world’s largest wooden
church big enough for 5,000 people.
Slightly further away is Punkaharju
with its interactive forestry museum,
Lusto, tall trees and famous, protected
national landscape known as the ridge.
Flour mill Rapion Mylly, which has
been operational since 1812, is within
cycling distance from Kuus-Hukkala
and has a small cafe shop and a theatre.
Everything is surrounded by water
so it’s hardly surprising to learn
cruises on steam ships, old barges and
various other vessels are a huge hit
around the Savonia region.
We continue our journey to the
nearby resort of Jarvisydan, which
translates as the heart of a lake.
It is right on the edge of Linnasaari
National Park on the shores of Lake
Saimaa, the home of the endangered
Saimaa ringed seal with only about 310
of them surviving.
Despite a trip across the ice on
kick-sledges, we don’t spot any of the
cute mammals but our guide tells us
one was seen sunbathing nearby just
the day before.
The Heiskanen family has run a
guesthouse in the area since 1658 and
the current generation, the 10th in the
line, has expanded the business to a
luxury hotel and spa with self-catering
cabins bigger than the average house.
There is access to ice swimming and
a hot tub, and it doesn’t take a genius to
guess which one we opt for.
The hotel has a marina for visitors to
sc*
Japan Land of the rising sun
Departures from June to October 2016 & March to July 2017
Discover the very best of Japan’s stunning temples and shrines, intriguing
pagodas, manicured gardens, fast-paced cities, incredible cuisine and
outstanding natural beauty
CALM: Kolkonjarvi lake
l getting there:
Various airlines fly to
Finland but direct routes
are only available over
summer. You can hire a
car/motorbike or take a
train/bus to Savonlinna,
Mikkeli or Varkaus and
arrange a pick-up.
Prices in Kuus-Hukkala
start from £36 per cabin/
night and in Jarvisydan
from £110 per room/night
including breakfast.
For more information,
visit www.kuus-hukkala.
com, www.jarvisydan.
com and www.savonlinna.travel
sc*/gas
drop by and can moor large yachts and
sailing boats.
Stand-up paddling, jet-skiing, hikes,
swimming and boat trips to the national
park are big hits in the summer, but
visitors opt to cross country ski, skate
or kick-sledge in winter around the
miles and miles of maintained tracks or
hop on a snow mobile for a longer trip.
On a colder day – temperatures can
drop below -30C – you may wish to
settle down at Restaurant Piikatytto
for a meal of locally sourced produce.
Foraging is huge in Finland so wild
mushrooms and various herbs and
greens, game and freshly caught fish
are available in abundance.
Jarvisydan has the largest wine
cellar in the region. Markus and Tanja
Heiskanen, who are already training the
11th generation to take over, only serve
wines that have a link to Finland, which
makes sourcing “challenging fun”.
There is a feeling of time standing
still – the place oozes medieval spirit –
yet the surroundings are modern. It is
a bit like an Alpine resort without the
mountains and appears wild yet safe.
Cities and towns are not too far and
both destinations cater for opera fans
with special deals and even lifts to and
from the annual festival.
There are two golf courses nearby
and the doors are open for hen and
stag parties looking for wilderness
experiences. But, most of all, these
resorts are about family and friends.
Wherever you come from, both
places make you feel very special. The
rest is up to you.
Price includes
• Return flights from London Heathrow
• Stay in hand-picked four-star hotels, with daily breakfast and three meals
• See the famous sights of Tokyo - the Meiji shrine, Omotesando Street,
fashion-setting Harajuku and the Akihabara electronic town
• Visit the stunning Nikko National Park, with its outstanding Shogun-era architecture
and a UNESCO World Heritage site
• Take a scenic boat trip from Tokyo’s traditional Asakusa to the luxury shops of Ginza
• Enjoy views of Mt. Fuji from Lake Kawaguchi and the mountain spa resort of Hakone
• See the volcanic Owakudani ‘Boiling Valley’ by aerial gondola
• Travel at 189 mph on the incomparable bullet trains
• Reflect on the horrors of war at Hiroshima’s Peace Park and museum
• Experience the spectacular 300-foot Kegon Falls and Lake Chuzenji
• Tour Kyoto, former Imperial capital and essence of traditional Japan with wooden
houses, geishas, stunning temples and Zen gardens
• Guided tour of Nara, Japan’s first capital with its huge bronze Buddha
• Opportunity to stay the night in a ‘Ryokan’, a traditional Japanese Inn
• Opportunity to learn origami, traditional flower arranging or Japanese cooking
• Escorted by our experienced tour manager
Call 0871 988 8374
To request
a brochure
To read more about this offer visit www.expsriviera.co.uk
Calls cost 10p p/min from a BT landline. Mobile and other providers’
costs may vary. Prices based on per person sharing a twin room,
single rooms available at a supplement, optional insurance extra.
Holiday organised by and is subject to the booking conditions of
Riviera Travel, New Manor, 328 Wetmore Road. Burton upon Trent,
Staffs DE14 1SP. Offered subject to availability. Additional entrance
costs may apply. ABTA V4744 ATOL 3430 protected. Image used in
conjunction with Riviera Travel.
3430
ABTA No. V4744