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6 June 2017 / leggypeggy

Lappeenranta has unique food—the vety

Pappilanniemi nature trail

A view from the Pappilanniemi nature trail

Our first stop outside Helsinki was at a town called Lappeenranta on the shores of Lake Saimaa (the fourth largest lake in Europe) and only 30 kilometres from the Russian border. Not surprisingly, it is the second most visited Finnish city by Russian tourists.

We were excited to see signs promoting visa-free travel from Lappeenranta to St Petersburg, and were keen to see if we could manage at least a day-trip. We had originally booked to go to St Petersburg from Helsinki, but all the ferries were full. We were destined to be disappointment yet again. Those trips (via the lake and canals) from Lappeenranta didn’t start up again until today, and we left Finland a couple of weeks ago.

But the city kept us well occupied. For starters, there is an old fortress. 

Lappeenranta fortress museum

Museum at the fortress

For centuries, Sweden–Finland and Russia fought each other. This fortress was built to protect the border and formed part of a chain of fortresses between Finland and northeastern Russia. Over the years, it was alternately held by the Swedes and the Russians.

Today it is a tourist destination, with shops, cafés, a museum, a church and parsonage, a commander’s house, and great views out over the lake (pictures above). Most places were closed because we were there on a Sunday, also Mother’s Day in Europe.

So after checking out the fortress, we headed down to the lake to enjoy the boats and buy lunch. We’d been told that we absolutely, positively had to try a vety (pronounced vetu) sandwich. Wow, these things are amazing. So much so that we had them two days in a row. They’re a sort of baked bread pouch filled with rice, ground beef, smoked ham, pickles, onions and more. I’ve started the hunt for a recipe.

Vety

The vety sandwich is found only in Lappenranta. Anyone have a recipe?

To walk off some of the calories, we spent a couple of hours walking to and from the Pappilanniemi nature trail on one end of town. The trail itself is only 1.8 kilometres long, but it took us ages to get there and back. On the way back to town, we cut across a golf course and were careful not to get clobbered by golf balls.

Lappeenranta offered up a few other unexpected treats. It has the country’s oldest still-existing wooden town hall, built in 1829.

It’s also where breakfast included frozen yoghurt and those delightful tins with moomin designs (click through and scroll down to see the pic). A woman at the hotel guided us to a secondhand shop where I bought two moomin mugs. Hope I can get them home without breaking off the handles. For the moment, both are shrouded in bubble wrap. Will show them off when I get home.

A woman in the tourist office also directed us to two other great tourist spots—the concrete sculpture park I’ve already written about here and a museum of mechanical instruments (coming soon). It’s also where I bought my first Finnish beers.

All in all, Lappeenranta was a great start to our driving holiday around Finland. By the way, the town is also famous for an annual giant sand sculpture, but that wasn’t going to be completed until this month. We did, however, see the pile of sand. 🙂

61 Comments

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  1. Curt Mekemson / Jun 6 2017 8:19 am

    That sandwich looks wicked! –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

  2. beetleypete / Jun 6 2017 8:26 am

    That sandwich looks absolutely delicious, Peggy. I am enjoying your tour of the ‘far north’.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. dejahgatz / Jun 6 2017 8:50 am

    I would never think to put rice in a sandwich, but boy oh boy does that look yummy! Let me know when you have found the recipe 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Jun 6 2017 4:20 pm

      The rice and ground meat were cooked together and only about a tablespoon of that was added to the pouch, then the other ingredients on top. And you can be sure I’ll post a recipe when I figure it out and test it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. spearfruit / Jun 6 2017 8:56 am

    Hope you got the recipe for the sandwich. I look forward to more pictures, these were beautiful. Thank you Peggy, stay safe. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 6 2017 3:25 pm

      I’m on the hunt for a recipe. A friend in NYC has sent some possibilities. Hope to post one after I’m home and have had a chance to experiment.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. lexklein / Jun 6 2017 9:05 am

    You are a posting machine these days! 🙂 I love the looks of this place (the fortress reminded me a teeny bit of Suomenlinna (did you get there?), and I also liked the looks of that sandwich even though I’m a vegetarian. Weird, I know, but that combination all stuffed into a bread pouch sounds really good … now that I think about it, maybe the words “bread pouch” are what attracted this carb fiend!

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Jun 6 2017 3:26 pm

      I’ve been posting most days. Maybe it’s because I haven’t had to spend much time cooking! But you can bet I’ll be experimenting on that sandwich when I get home—bread pouch and all!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Zarinah / Jun 6 2017 9:37 am

    Hi Peg, happy travels…Found this from another Peggy, just add the pickle, ham etc. http://cakecrumbsbeachsand.com/2013/07/lihapiirakka-finnish-meat-pie/

    Love you xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 6 2017 4:20 pm

      Thanks so much, Zarinah. Love you too. Look forward to experimenting with this.

      Like

  7. dfolstad58 / Jun 6 2017 10:03 am

    I think that I would be walked into the ground trying to keep up with you both. Maybe the pile of sand was an impressionist sand sculpture?

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Jun 6 2017 3:28 pm

      We’re still wondering what this year’s sand sculpture will look like. I think we were in Lappeenranta about 10 days too soon for their main summer action.

      Like

  8. Sy.S / Jun 6 2017 10:11 am

    Happy Vetuing /Munching !

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 6 2017 3:28 pm

      Thank you Sy, and I see you have emailed me some recipe hints. Many thanks.

      Like

  9. Vicki / Jun 6 2017 10:20 am

    That bread pouch looks scrumptious. I’ll bet it has dill cucumber in it. Maybe you could achieve the same taste by trial & error alone (being a good cook as you are). I tried double smoked ham for the first time this year and like it much better than normal ham-off-the-bone.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Jun 6 2017 3:29 pm

      Oh yes, I be giving this dish a huge run of trails and errors when I get home.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. GlobeTrotters: A Pig's Tale / Jun 6 2017 10:47 am

    Looks great around there. Very interesting facts about it too! Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 2 people

  11. adventuredawgs / Jun 6 2017 10:53 am

    I am all over that sandwich!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. blondieaka / Jun 6 2017 12:25 pm

    Oh, yummy I could double my waistline just reading these posts…lol… I need a walk 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  13. gerard oosterman / Jun 6 2017 12:56 pm

    A good post is one that includes food. The vety sandwich looks so nice I could smell the ham. Good photo, Peggy. It would go down well with a nice Saimaa blonde (pils).
    Did you get to practise ‘Huomentaa?’ or hyvaa paiva?

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Jun 6 2017 3:33 pm

      Not sure about huomentaa, but we said kiitos a lot (thank you).

      Like

  14. Alison and Don / Jun 6 2017 12:57 pm

    A sweet little town, and a truly epic sandwich! Too bad you missed St Pete. It’s one of those places on my wish list.
    Alison

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Sartenada / Jun 6 2017 3:30 pm

    Lovely post. I love Lappeenranta and visit there often enjoying its atmosphere in summer and admiring gorgeous sand sculptures. This year I will not visit there. Sigh.

    Here are some sand scuulptures:

    Sand sculptures 2016.

    Did You now that we have already in Finland gorgeous (must visit when in Varkaus):

    Mechanical Music Museum .

    It is in Varkaus about100 km / 62 miles Lappeenranta.

    How to Vety (translated from Finnish to English)

    Vety (Hydrogen).

    Thank You for this post. Have a nice day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sartenada / Jun 6 2017 3:36 pm

      Sorry. It did not tranlate, but You can test. here is original:

      https://www.carloskokki.com/226

      Like

      • Sy.S / Jun 7 2017 6:24 pm

        I went to this link and there is a clickable to read in English.

        Liked by 2 people

      • leggypeggy / Jun 7 2017 7:19 pm

        Thanks Sy.

        Like

    • leggypeggy / Jun 6 2017 4:22 pm

      Thanks for those links. The sand sculptures look great. We visited the instrument museum and I’ll be posting about that soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sartenada / Jun 6 2017 5:55 pm

        Sounds great. I lived my young hood near to Varkaus. Did You visit Taipale Canal also in Varkaus?

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Jun 7 2017 7:18 pm

        Oh darn, we didn’t know about the canal, so didn’t visit it. Next time! 🙂

        Like

  16. J.D. Riso / Jun 6 2017 4:03 pm

    Finland seems, to me, to be so quiet and authentic. I could wander around those pristine woods forever. I’m curious about the day trip to St. Petersburg…if you just go for a day, do you need to get a visa?

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Jun 6 2017 4:25 pm

      There are several ways to go to St Petersburg without a visa. Most trips are for three days, with two night in St Petersburg. We tried to go from Helsinki (all the ferries full) and Lappeenranta (ferries not running yet—too early in the year). But you need a Russian visa to go beyond St Petersburg.

      Like

  17. Anita / Jun 6 2017 4:57 pm

    great share, thank you so much dear especially for beautiful pictures
    tasty sandwich
    Kisses

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 6 2017 5:35 pm

      You are most welcome, Anita. Thanks for stopping by and for commenting. Kisses back to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Green Global Trek / Jun 6 2017 6:55 pm

    What an interesting place. I rarely eat meat but occassionally while travelling something inspires a taste. This sandwich would definitely motivate me to at least try for the flavor and tastes if not a full meal. I really like the nature shots of the surroundings.

    Peta

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 7 2017 6:36 pm

      I guarantee you that a vety is worth a try. And yes, the nature around Lappeenranta is beautiful.

      Like

  19. The Year I Touched My Toes / Jun 6 2017 9:38 pm

    Oh those Moomin designs are cute.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 7 2017 6:37 pm

      They are adorable. We also bought a clock. I’ll show off everything when we get home.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. pvcann / Jun 6 2017 10:18 pm

    What I get, apart from saliva looking at the food is to go places, such a feast all round.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Tamara Hoerner / Jun 6 2017 10:25 pm

    Wonderful post! I’m jealous! I’ve always wanted to go to Finland. My ancestors came from Finland and we still have distant cousins there. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 7 2017 6:39 pm

      I hope you can visit one day. We had such a lovely time, and hope for a chance to return. Can recommend hiring a car. Very easy to get around when it’s not snowing. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Christy B / Jun 7 2017 7:14 am

    Sitting in the cafe in the fortress or browsing its shop would certainly make me think about the history of the area!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 7 2017 6:41 pm

      Yes, and it helps that most historical places have plenty of written explanations (in English too) about the past.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Christy B / Jun 8 2017 8:48 am

        Oh that’s great to know as I had wondered if language was a barrier. Do you find travelling around that often you can get by with English or do you need to know foreign language basics?

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Jun 8 2017 5:05 pm

        You can usually manage to get around with English only, but I always like to know how to say please and thank you wherever I am. But most museums are only in the local language. We were impressed in Finland and the Baltic States, with many museums including multiple languages.

        Liked by 1 person

  23. Sharon Bonin-Pratt / Jun 8 2017 2:26 am

    Love the way this city looks – and that sandwich looks like you could only eat it with a fork and knife. But does look yummy.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Phil Huston / Jun 8 2017 7:41 am

    I wanted to talk about that sandwich, but this is a family friendly blog and I’m a nice person, so I will say that the old fort looks a lot like some of old Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma. Funny how architecture and trees, sans geographic tags. makes the world such a small place. Thanks! This whole trip of yours has been a big lesson in one world, where the details and the language changes, but some of it could be up the road viewed from the back of my dad’s station wagon. Before drive through food and Walmart were ubiquitous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 8 2017 5:10 pm

      So true, Phil. When we go to big cities, I sometimes feel as if I could be anywhere in the world. Even in small towns, I see buildings that are so similar to where I grew up. Luckily, Walmart and drive-through food places have been completely missing on this trip.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. jeanleesworld / Jun 13 2017 8:46 pm

    Oh, this reminds of me of Door County! The wooded peninsula originally was just a collection of lighthouses to guide ships to Green Bay’s port, but today it’s a collection of hubs for tourists eager to enjoy some nature…and fancy-pants wine and antiques. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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