Vuonislahti is located at the northern end of the Finnish Lakeland, on the eastern bank of Lake Pielinen (the fourth largest lake in Finland).The Lonely Planet guide dismisses it " as a train station in the field", but I guess the author has never really lived in Vuonislahti...because Vuonislahti is indeed a fairy tale village.
The village is a part of the Town of Lieksa, and is about 1 hour by train from the main city Joensuu (there are 2 daily trains from Joensuu to here).
I arrived in Vuonislahti for the first time almost 2 years ago with the aim to conduct a project about rural development and the place has remained in my heart since then.
In Vuonislahti I found great, warm-hearted friendly people: Reino (who is renting summer cottages - you can check Hanhiniemi Holiday cottages at http://www.huvila.net/cgi-bin/pager.cgi?huvila=296&kieli=englanti) Anu (a teacher and absolutely one of the reference persons in Vuonislahti) and her talented husband Markku (who is -among many other things - the cook at Kukko, the " meeting place" of the village), Sirpa (who is promoting with the others activities to preserve the local traditions) and many others.
I have been to Vuonislahti several times, both in summer and winter time ...and no matter if the weather is good or not, cold or warm (hot would definitely be too much for an Italian in Finland) I love it.
Hope you can enjoy these pics.
Pic 1. Herraniemi - a 200 years old farm with a restaurant - which is also a lovely guest house(www.herraniemi.com).
In summer time
Pic 2-3-4. Herraniemi in winter time
Pic 5. Damira, the master student fro Kazakhstan who is helping with the rural development project (well, she is so good she is the project leader) with Barun, a master student from Nepal.
Pic. 6 Herraniemi inside. Lovely isn't it?
Pic 7. Damira, a friend and the owners of Herraniemi
Pic 8. Kukko, the coffee house and meeting point/cultural center of the village
Pic 9. Inside Kukko, where coffee is always served hot, food is excellent, the handicraft on sale amazing and the peole so welcoming!
Pic 10. I forgot to mention they serve the best pullas of all Finland (pulla deserves a picture by itself).
Pulla is a mildly-sweet Finnish dessert bread flavored with crushed cardamom seeds and occasionally raisins or sliced almonds. It is a shame you can 't smell it!!
Pic 11. Outside Kukko
Pic 12. A squirrel climbing a tree at 7.00 o'clock in the morning
Pic 13. Finnish chocolate FAZER in the snow (I love Fazer, check its website at http://www.fazer.com/)
Pic 14 The entrance to Paateri gallery, the studio home of Eva Ryynanen (1915-2001) the most well known Finnish wood sculptor
Pic 15-16-17. Inside the home studio. Some of Eva's masterpieces
Pic 18. Damira, the guide, Reino and me in the museum
Pic 19 Vuonislahti church. Couples came from Japan to get married here!!! The atmospehre inside is amazing: I was enchanted by the beautiful floor.
Pic 20. Reino at the grocery shop of the village (now it's closed because the owner has retired..so whoever might be interested in re-opening it, pls get in touch with local people!)
Pic 20. The amazing Lake Pielinen
What else should I show to convince you that Vuonislahti is worth a visit???
I can just add that in Vuonislahti, like in all other Finnish villages, there are “everyman’s rights” allowing the free picking up forest berries and mushrooms almost everywhere except in the vicinity of private houses. More about everyman’s rights in English: http://www.luontoon.fi/
About Vuonislahti: www.vuonislahti.fi