I can’t believe it’s been more than two weeks since I’ve gone abroad.

Oulu is so cold that every time I get back into the house after being outside, I just want to hibernate for a winter. It’s been a steady -8 degrees Celsius today and that’s brutal for someone who likes to walk everywhere. I accidentally set my alarm for 6PM instead of 6AM today, so I ended up waking up around 10AM instead. I walked to the cathedral, but it still wasn’t open. I can try again tomorrow, but not sure if I want to or not.

After that, I headed to Kauppahalli. It was actually not as small as the comments on TripAdvisor made it seem. I think it’s probably because I was expecting it to be small that I was pleasantly surprised. I had salmon soup (lohikeitto) here for lunch with bread and it was actually really good. Definitely something I’d like to consider making on my own some time. I also bought some sort of donut today, but didn’t get a chance to eat it yet. I’m planning on eating it tomorrow at the library probably.

salmon soup

kauppahalli

After the Kauppahalli (and also seeing the Toripolliisi bronze sculpture), I attempted to find Oulu Castle. Unfortunately, my wifi is pretty spotty, so I tried walking in the direction I thought it should be in. I actually did find the castle, but ended up walking past it for another 2-3km before realizing maybe I had gone too far after looking at a map on one of the bus stops I passed by. I walked back and by this point was almost frozen. I told myself the next building I passed, I would go inside of because I needed to warm up and get internet. Fortunately for me, I managed to pick the library. That’s how I found out that I had passed by the castle, not only once, but twice.

oulu castle in the distance

at the library

The library was a nice break though. It was also a pretty nice library. It was a few stories high and had lots of glass windows everywhere which reminded me a bit of the library back in Bristol, TN. They had mostly books in Finnish, but there was also a “Books in Foreign Languages” section which included English. I spent the rest of my time in the library trying to plan out my next place which was Nallikari Beach. It was a 37 minute walk from the library according to Google Maps, but it definitely felt like a different story while walking.

Going to the beach in the winter sounds insane, but it seems like Scandinavia is full of contradictions. It’s hard to see much since everything looks the same, but it was a different experience. All the sand was frozen and covered, but you could tell where the sand was mostly by the landmarks nearby as well as the color of the ice being slightly yellow. I kept walking out, but sometimes my foot would sink a lot and I’d start flailing. I eventually made it out far enough that I was on the water, but I didn’t want to walk too far out because I didn’t know how sturdy the ice would be. My hands were also freezing because I would have to take them out every so often to try and take pictures. I was pretty much the only person on the beach (because who goes to a beach in the winter?), but it was nice to be out there. It felt like the ocean, but at the same time didn’t.

view of the beach

me on the frozen water

My hands were practically frozen by the time I made it to the nearby hotel. I had to defrost there for a while before I could make the walk back. I got back too late to visit the market hall again so I ended up going to Pannukakkutalo which serves 93 different types of pancakes. It was a bit overwhelming. The pancakes range from savory pancakes to sweet ones. I bought two: a savory one with bacon and apple and a sweet one with blueberries and raspberries. The sweet kind comes with cream on the side which was really really good. I liked this place and the serving sizes were decent for the price.

sweet pancake

I’ve scrapped my idea of going to Rovaniemi tomorrow (because it’d be $60 just to get there and back…), so I guess I’ll chill and spend more time around Oulu. The day after, there will be a lull in posts because I’ll be at an Ice Hotel for the night and can’t guarantee I’ll have Internet access. Oulu has been a lot better than expected so far, so here’s to tomorrow!