Day 8: Ivalo – Nurmes

Saturday, March 3rd, 2018
Distance covered: 824 km
Driving: 9am – 8pm
Weather: Sunny in the morning, later cloudy
Lowest temperature: -21C
Border crossing: none

This was going to be a very long drive! As we wanted to spend a full day without driving in St. Petersburg, we had to drive through almost all of Finland today.

After a good breakfast with German Army souvenirs on the wall, we started our drive with a clear blue sky and -21C and a nice singing performance (from minute 4:30 to 08:30 in the video, don’t miss it).

Around lunchtime we reached the bigger town Rovaniemi, featuring a Santa Claus Theme park, which we avoided, but allowed us a brief stop at a nearby German Military Cemetery. It is located at a beautiful spot in a quiet forest, next to a lake.

While the first few hundred kilometres of this longest drive still presented a somehow interesting landscape, later the day it just got completely boring, dark forests, some snow, faceless towns.

We made a quick stop in Oulu, a larger town at the northern end of Baltic Sea, which was completely frozen with many ice fishers on it.

After some more hours driving in the dark, we finally reached Nurmes. We chose this tiny town with 7.000 inhabitants, as it is located at the northern shore of a frozen lake and with an official road of 7km from one shore to the other, which we wanted to drive on the next morning.

Though surrounded by the beautiful lake and next to a river, Nurmes turned out to be as ugly as many other Finnish towns and the hotel was no exception: classic “KGB chic”.

Until now, this seemed to be a “lost day”, but few hours later it turned into one of the highlights of our tour: from Champagne Supernova to Karaoke Supernova!


After a quick and healthy dinner in the local fast food restaurant (the only open restaurant on a Saturday evening), we visited the local Pub and started a super funny David Lynch style evening.

The Pub was as ugly as in some remote East German places and at the beginning populated by people in their 40s and 50s, all looking at least 10 years older, already quite drunk, with bad skin and a very Finish fashion style. One after the other went up to the Karaoke screen, sang a Finnish song without any emotional expression, and went back to its seat. We just felt like being in a weird mixture of “Fargo” and “From dusk till dawn”.


But having said that, these people were extremely nice and friendly, asked us if we were test drivers and started some funny chats with us. And it’s no surprise, that Arndt and myself very soon ended up as well in front of the microphone. More and more people entered the bar, wanted to meet “the tourists” and we just had a great time!





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