Last week I spent four days in Finland. The reason I was there was to review a Porsche 911 Dakar powered by e-fuels.
As it happened, as well as reviewing the Porsche, I also drove a brand-new electric Mercedes EQE.
As well as experiencing two different solutions to the fossil fuel question, I also had some time to be a tourist in a country that was recently voted the happiest in the world.
I spent four days in the beautiful city of Jyvaskyla. Around 260km north of Finland’s capital Helsinki, it is a city known for its great beauty and for hosting some very special guests.
In between trying out the future, this was my experience of four days in Finland.
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Jyvaskyla has a population of around 140,000 people, making it the third-largest city in Finland.
On the flight over on Friday evening I asked a Finnish passenger what Finland is known for and what I should try.
Alongside some traditional dishes, which I was sadly unable to sample, they told me Finland was known for its coffee.
As a twice-qualified barista before working as a journalist, I was keen to sample the local brews.
One of the coffees I tried was in a Finnish coffee chain known as Robert’s Coffee, one which felt like a higher quality version of Starbucks with friendly staff who were very happy to chat.
According to their website, Robert’s Coffee was founded in 1987 by one Robert Paulig who opened his first shop in 1992. 30 years on, it is one of the most popular coffee chains in the region.
The coffee – and accompanying pastry – didn’t disappoint. The other brew I tried was of a far more racy affair – literally. As it happened, the World Rally Championship (imagine F1 on gravel) was based in Jyvaskyla and one of the drivers had a special blend named after them.
Jari-Matti Latvala is a renowned driver. The coffee was tasteful, and memorable, and had just enough of a kick to get me going. The rallying, however, wasn’t the only show on in Jyvaskyla.
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At the local art museum, there was a display dedicated to man’s best friend. Over two floors there were a bevy of paintings and sculptures dedicated to the dog.
Some of these were very amusing photographs alongside expertly done paintings. Others, meanwhile, were downright bizarre. Artwork can inspire many different emotions in someone and some of the sculptures were terrifying, unnerving, and frightening.
What emotions one was meant to feel at the Uber Hund display I’m not quite sure. If it’s still on if you go, it’s worth a visit.
Jyvaskyla wasn’t just about the coffee, rallying, and art.
As a city, it is blessed with great natural beauty. It wraps around a lake and just off its centre is a massive hill with a gun and observation tower at the top.
Powered by coffee and intrigue I marched up the hill and found that the observation tower had a café at the top. Both the gun and the café were out of operation the day I found them, but they had positive reviews on Tripadvisor.
During my whistlestop visit to Finland, I found the country beautiful and the city of Jyvaskyla engaging.
The local people too were incredibly helpful and very patient as they realised the only words I knew in Finnish were Thank You and Sorry.
I can only say that if the mood takes you I would recommend Finland and Jyvaskyla too.
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