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Expedition Finland

14th - 18th January 2012

Preparations for this journey started 8 weeks before it when I got a message that my puppy was born :-) The most difficult task was getting a permission for carrying a pet in the cabin. My request was rejected several times because the size of soft crate approved by Finnair was actually too big for the flights I had chosen! The dimensions given with each rejection were smaller and smaller so when they finally approved the request, I was afraid that the puppy won't be able to fit in. As a consequence of the delay in attending to my request, the plane ticket was getting more and more expensive. Quite annoying...

Finally, D-Day arrived and I set out. Everything went fine until the Prague-to-Helsinki airplane somehow picked up delay. I was supposed to board on the next flight at 16:10 but the first flight hadn't landed until 16:20. To my horror, the two gates were far from each other so I had to sprint several hundred meters across the hall to find out that my gate was empty, because the bus with passengers had been already gone. It was 16:30, 5 minutes before the airplane's taking off. Fortunately, the airport's employee called another bus for me. Soon, another three latecomers appeared so I wasn't the only one who caused the 30-minute delay of my flight :-D After this, I wasn't really surprised when I didn't find my suitcase at the airport in Tampere...

There was also something positive on my arrival to Tampere. Finally, I met Milla with her smooth girls Reeta and Uma. I had never met SO much open, strangers-loving and physical-contact-seeking collies before. My ideas of smoothies started changing a bit. However, this wasn't the last surprise. The next one awaited me in Lempl. Yes, I was warned that the puppies are rascals but the reality caught me slightly unprepared. After getting into the puppy pen, an avalanche swept over me. I was totally overwhelmed and at first, I even wasn't able to recognize individual puppies which I had known from the pictures. There were only three of them since the only boy, Gsta, had already left to start his life in the "big world". Well, it's hard to describe them, you would have to meet them to really understand :-))

The next day, Sunday, was full of new experiences for the three sisters. First, we visited their grandfather, Patu, and his owner Antti. Being in completely strange place with strange people and strange dogs seemed to have no effect on the puppies. They spend a long time running on the slippery floor, provoking adult dogs (some of them really huge) and playing with everything or everyone they bumped into. In the meantime, I got some very useful advices, training tips and answers from Antti, many thanks!!! The next stop was in Hyvink where an agility competition took place. We had to part with Ruu who left to start living with her new owner, Heidi. In the evening, my suitcase finally arrived due to Milla's persuasive skills, otherwise, I wouldn't have it until Monday.

After parting with Ruu, there were only two puppies left at their birthplace - Krimi and her monster sister Myrtti who reminds of gentle and tender collie only by her looks. Together, the two sisters (armed with sharp teeth, strong bites, some mysterious source of renewable energy and determination not to give up) carried on the Fight Club. If they managed to attract some human victim into their pen, it ended by bitten wrists, pierced clothes and teared hair. No mercy.

On Monday, Krimi visited the vet to get a confirmation of being able to travel. The price of having a look at the puppy and giving one signature to her Pet passport was fascinating. I would recommend a holiday in Finland to everyone who keeps complaining about everything being so expensive in the Czech Republic... You can multiply our prices five times to have an idea. A word "expensive" gets wholy new dimension in Finlad. But every cloud has a silver lining. Finland is a country with magnificent nature. Well, I would certainly appreciate it more in other season than the middle of January :-D Never mind, the walk in one of the extensive woods was nice anyway. The biggest problem at the moment are local cross-country skiers who are not very keen on dogs (even if they don't step on the track). The warning proved justified after meeting the second skier who shouted something not very polite. However, all the other Finns I had an opportunity to meet were really kind people :-) After returning from the walk, Noora with Gsta came to Lempl. Finally, I could see the last puppy and Krimi could play with her brother and bite him for the last time.

On Tuesday, the last day of my visit, Milla gave me a tour of Tampere. It was nice to see the city center with interesting comments (I was lucky to have such a good guide). If I can judge after visiting Tampere and flying above Helsinki, I really like Finnish cities. They might not be as historical as our cities but there are many trees, even woods and lakes instead of concrete everywhere. On the way back, I had an opportunity to see the second largest agility hall in Finland. There were four full agility courses with artifitial grass. If we had such halls in the Czech Republic, I wouldn't mind competing in winter...

The next day early in the morning, a long journey home began. In spite of her loud protest, Krimi ended closed in a slightly small bag. Luckily, she gave up her efforts to get out of the bag when we boarded on the first airplane and beared the flights like she had been flying ever before. Nobody bothered to measure or weigh my "extra" baggage so everything went fine. Krimi was sooo happy to by released from her bag at the airports in Helsinki and Copenhagen! She tried to greet all the passers-by and chased their suitcases. Obviously, she didn't care at all about being somewhere else than at home :-) At Prague airport, Krimi managed to welcome the customs officer who checked her documents. By the way, he was slightly confused and had no idea of what documents are necessary so he used my printed email from State Veterinary Institute as a help. Finally, he wanted to keep Krimi as a drug-searching dog :-D The rest of the journey would be quite calm if Krimi didn't tried hard to welcome the other passengers again. Once at her new home, Krimi has been busy ensuring that nobody is bored in her presence. She is really successful at this task. Well, I have what I wanted :-)

Thank you for everything, Milla and Jussi!!!

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