In the last few weeks Brigitte and I have had two short trips to the municipality of Kirkkonummi (= church moor), roughly 30 km west of Helsinki. Kirkkonummi has an interesting history – it was leased to the Soviets from 1945 to 1956 as part of the peace settlement. Finnish trains could still travel through the area, but all windows had to be closed! You can read more online at Helsingin Sanomat.

Our first trip was to visit fellow South African Willem and his family in their newly constructed home. They have a great location, right on the edge of a patch of lovely forest, and finished building their house themselves at the end of last year. It was great to help Willem make (and then eat) some real boerewors! Interestingly, near their house there are the ruins of Soviet fortifications – it will take a long time for all that Russian concrete to crumble away.

Looking out over the Baltic sea from the southern tip of the Porkkala peninsula.


My second trip to Kirkkonummi was with Miska and his son last weekend – we headed down to the Porkkala peninsula to do some birding (spring migration is currently happening…). We had some good luck, spotting lots of Common Eiders and Long-tailed Duck on the sea and a White-tailed Sea-eagle in the distance. I was glad to spot a Crested Tit, and got quite familiar with identifying Arctic Terns (top tip – short legs when perched). You can find some more information about Porkkala (and other nature areas to the west of Helsinki) on the city’s website (pdf).

Hiking in Porkkala


You can find another panorama from Porkkala (slightly overexposed) on our Dermandar portfolio. Dermandar is a great website that stitches together photo’s to create wide angle shots and 360° panoramas – it’s worth checking out if you’re looking for a simple online tool.

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