Taylors in Finland

The Grand Adventure

Mary Ann's Fulbright Exchange to Oulu, Finland
August 2001 - June 2002

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Kuopio Fulbright get together
to visit Lori and David Heintz

28 - 30 September 2001

28 September 2001, Friday
Sunrise/sunset 0718/1900

We left Friday afternoon. John picked Mary Ann up at school at 1430 and after shopping for road food, we were on our way. After about 30 Km the local traffic was gone and we were basically driving at the limit the rest of the way to Kuopio. Once away from Oulu the roads are two-lane, 100 Kph (62 Mph) and “roll” through the countryside with slight changes in altitude. We ran across one interesting section of highway about halfway to Kuopio. The highway, though still marked two lanes had very wide shoulders, making the road about five lanes wide, and was straight and flat for over one mile. With trees on both sides I wondered if the road wasn’t a standby military runway. I remember that Sweden had developed some Saab Viggen jet fighters with short take-off characteristics specifically so they could use remote strips where they could better support field activities and to disburse their equipment if necessary.

About forty minutes out of Kuopio we saw our first snow in Finland. Little patches along the road and stripes in the furrows of the fields. (No sign of the snow as we drove back on Sunday.) We were “chasing” a storm front that had come through Oulu earlier and we could see dark clouds ahead of us on the southern horizon.

As we got closer to Kuopio we saw more and more lakes. It is hard to tell how big the lakes are as you are driving by and only get a glimpse. Later, while viewing from the Pujio observation tower and looking at a map, I realized that what I thought were separate lakes was really the same lake; a boaters’ heaven.

Highway 88 was rolling hills, through forested areas, clear-cut land and farms. Lots of hay fields with the rolled hay in plastic bags – they looked like shiny six-foot marshmallows lined up along the fence lines.

We really enjoy Mary Ann’s Volvo. Some of you have asked for more details. It is a silver V70 2.4T wagon, front-wheel drive, light-turbo, five-cylinder engine with intercooler providing 200 HP., four-wheel disc brakes, sunroof, alloy wheels, cloth interior, memory driver’s seat (resets itself from key fob or button on the seat), Geartronic (so she has her automatic and I can play Mika Hakkinen), and the cold weather package. While at the Factory Delivery Center in Gotëborg I had the block heater (“engine water heater”), fog lamps and rear roof spoiler added.

We arrived in Kuopio around 1815 and had to call Lori and David who talked us through town to our hotel. After we parked (easily thanks to the notes of Paul Lindfors who mentioned the hotel’s garage was around the corner) David showed up while we were registering. Our room overlooked the Tori (market square). Lori had gone to the train station to meet Elisabeth Young, who was coming in from Lahti. The three of us walked to their apartment, about five blocks away. Lori and Elisabeth showed up a few minutes later and we chatted until 2215. John and David walked to the bus depot to meet Marie-Camille who came in from Tampere. They served snacks while we were waiting for Marie-Camille Havard. One snack was Kalalakukko, which is a round loaf of dark bread with fish meat inside, like a giant pasty with a hard crust. In fact David knocked a tooth cap loose with it and the rest of us were very careful eating it. It is a dish that Kuopio is known for.

Kuopio is a city of 85,000 and is on one of the big lakes in central Finland’s Lake District. It is the center for the Finnish Orthodox Church and the seat of the archbishop. Year-round tourism is a major industry. 


is the City of Kuopio’s web site with some photos.

We all visited past midnight and then Mary Ann and John walked to the hotel.

Saturday morning breakfast was at the “Heintz Haven” which included bacon and pancakes with maple syrup! (We have not found maple syrup in the stores yet but now we know what the label says.) After breakfast we went to the Kuopio Cathedral, the marketplace and on to Lori’s school, Lyseo Lukio, where Lori gave instructions on art lessons. John and Dave took a walk (back to the marketplace and a coffee shop). The four teachers had so much fun. Lori is an art teacher and she “bubbles” when she is teaching and her enthusiasm is infectious. She is very knowledgeable and skilled. John even offered to pick her up in Kuopio and bring her to Oulu for a ‘hands-on” session at the English Speaking Classes in Oulu.

We worked on “feet to fish” drawings, Native American shields, leaf designs, chalk pastel silhouettes, paper weaving, clay pumpkin heads, and clay jewelry.

We went across the street to “Burts” for coffee and lunch and then off to the VB Photographic Centre. Photography is, John suspects, a quiet passion of Lori’s for she began bubbling again as we walked through the museum. Beautiful photos in either black and white or color. Mary Ann remarked that some of the designs she had seen in Finland have their origins in nature. Many photos illustrated the connections between nature and art.

After the photography museum we walked to our hotel where the wagon was parked and drove up Pujio Hill to the tower. The hill has been a resort area for over one hundred years and in the wintertime is used for downhill skiing and ski jumping. There is a tower on the hill with an observation deck (and about 4°C or 40°F and 40 Kph or 25 Mph wind), an indoor deck and a rotating restaurant. The tower is 200 meters above the lake. We stayed for coffee in the restaurant and watched the world pass by below us. The view of the area is spectacular and the lakes stretch off to the horizon in different directions with lots of islands. There were several fabulous cloud formations. During the summer season you can take cruises that last up to ten days without repeating any scenery. If you ever get to Kuopio get to the Pujio tower.

After Pujio Hill we went back to school to continue the lessons. John and Dave went to the Isa Camillo restaurant to start on refreshments. The restaurant is in a building that had housed a bank. They offer a varied menu, including items from around the world. Mary Ann had duck teriyaki and John and Dave had steak. Elisabeth had chicken tandoori, Lori had vegetable samosa and Marie-Camille had stuffed pork loin. We shared a chocolate mousse with berry “droppings” and chocolate antlers! Everyone’s meal was delicious and we visited until 2230. When the “Fulbright weekend” is in Oulu Mary Ann and John need to have a great restaurant set up. The “bar” has been set for us to match.

Sunday morning was hash and eggs at the “Heintz Haven”. We reviewed the calendar and set new dates for the various “Fulbright weekends” then the teachers were off to more school work. After lunch back at the apartment Marie-Camille left for the bus and the five of us went to the Kuopio Art Museum and the Natural History museum. The museums are free on Sundays and we watched some “improv” dancing and a puppet show about death and rebirth of insects.

We left Kuopio about 1630 and headed northwest to Oulu. The only disadvantage to a late departure is driving into the sun sometimes or its “flashing” through the trees. This brings up something Mary Ann has noticed here. The sky seems more blue and the sunlight more intense in Finland. The Finns say it is because there is very little pollution in the air to block or diffuse the light – many brochures say they have some of the best air around.

There were many discussions during the weekend and they included the terrorist attacks on America, the schools in Finland and how they differ. Every school seemed to have different rules and policies. I (John) think that we all expected more consistent rules and policies but in practice they are just like the United States and vary by state and district. Each school, here and in the states, are run with the flexibility necessary for their operation.

We look forward to going back to Kuopio sometime in the spring.

Mary Ann & John

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The mysterious wide stretch of highway. (2757)

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The Heintz Haven in Kuopio. (2689)

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Elisabeth Young, Lori Heintz, Mary Ann and Marie-Camille Havard at Saturday breakfast; with maple syrup no less! (2693)

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Mary Ann in the Kauppahalli in Kuopio. (2695)

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Lori Heintz's school, Lyseo Lukio. (2696)

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Lori is letting everyone into the "castle". Little do they know what is ahead of them. (2698)

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Marie-Camille reviewing art done by Lori's students. (2708)

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The start of "foot-to-fish" drawings. (2712)

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Lori and Marie-Camille. (2714)

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Mary Ann, Lori and Marie-Camille. (2719)

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View from the Kuopio Cathedral doors. (2726)

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One of the spectacular views from the Puhio Hill tower. (2729)

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Dave & Lori Heintz, Mary Ann, Marie-Camille and Elisabeth on a coffee break in the Pujio Hill tower. (2737)

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David trying out a new pick-up line.  It didn't work. (2742)

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Fall colors have started in Kuopio. (2739)

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Dinner at Iso Camillo. (2748)

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They look happy to see us leave! (2751)

Last Update 2003 11 14

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