Paddling and laundry and bears, oh my!
We made it to Finland! The highlight so far has been a trip to Wild Brown Bear where we spent the night in a hide just by the Russian border. We have a new appreciation for David Attenborough's film crew... patient we are not! But we were very lucky and saw two adult bears and three cubs.
Some bear watching companies also offer the opportunity to hunt bears, but we deliberately picked Wild Brown Bear because they don't allow hunting on their land. Worth researching if you're planning a visit.
We learnt so much about bear behaviour just from sitting silently and watching. There were quite a few seagulls in the area, and when the female bear went to get food for her cubs, the seagulls swooped down (as they had been eating the food) and scared her away! A bit like me with my chips on Broadstairs beach. The male bear wasn't quite as scared and wouldn't give his food up to them, but both adult bears were very jumpy as you can see in this short video.
Watching them walk, it looked as if the bears were moving in slow motion, but the moment they got spooked and broke into a run I realised just how fast they are. I definitely never want to be chased by a bear, they would definitely win!
The cubs were so fun to watch. Two of them would stick together and watch for their mother's guidance on when it was safe to move. The other one was only really interested in food and constantly lagged behind eating and investigating, then had to run to catch up with the others. You might have even noticed the straggler at the end of the video. A very curious little bear!
Because of its flexible laws on wild camping, it's been easy to find some great spots to stay overnight. Being a country full of lakes, there have been plenty of opportunities for paddleboarding too.
Not staying in campsites does mean that it's a little trickier doing our washing, but we've found that you can meet some very interesting people in laundrettes! Hello to our latest blog followers who we paired up hundreds of mystery socks with! They later found out that the socks were collected to be handed out to the homeless. It certainly kept us occupied while we were waiting for our washing!