One thing leads to another and finally the words have turned into actions. I bought an Inter-rail ticket for two months in May 2022, with no plans in my mind. Then a few months later my company was accepted as a partner in the European network project called Forestwell, managed by VSGT, Vocational College of Hospitality and Tourism in Maribor, Slovenia.
The kick-off meeting was organized in November 2022 in Finland, hosted by my company and when the next meeting was decided to be held at the turn of May-June 2023 in Slovenia, I said out loud that I would travel to the place by train. When you say something out loud, it's already in a way a promise you keep, and so it was now, even though there were also doubting voices.
I started my journey on the 24th of May and arrived back home on the 9th of June. The route from Finland via Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Austria to Slovenia and back from Slovenia via Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark and Sweden back to Finland was as following:
1st day: Hyvinkää - Turku - Stockholm ( 1st night on board)
2nd day: Stockholm -Copenhagen - Hamburg
3.-4th day: Hamburg- Vienna (2 nights´ stay in Vienna)
5.-10th day: Vienna - Maribor, Slovenia ( Forestwell meeting, 5 nights)
10th day: Maribor- Venice- Milan - Zurich
10. -13th day: Zurich- Interlaken - Grindelwald (hiking in Jungfrau area, 3 nights )
14th day: Interlaken - Basel - Hamburg
15th day: Hamburg- Malmö
16th day: Malmö- Stockholm -Turku
17th day: Turku- Hyvinkää.
The journey was all together about 6100 km long return, including the ferry transfers and domestic transports.
The main destination: Maribor, Slovenia
The actual destination of the trip was Maribor in Slovenia as my company is involved in the Forestwell project financed by Erasmus+ and we had a second meeting with this team. The goal of the project is to produce an online training package for tourism, experience and wellness companies and educational institutions. The content is the utilization of the welfare effects of the forest and, on the other hand, on the other hand, ensuring the welfare of the forest.
The project is managed by the Slovenian VSG educational institution and the other partners are educational institutions and marketing and digitalization companies from Iceland, Ireland and Denmark. Mood of Finland company is the Finnish partner. You can find more information about our project and partners here: Forestwell
We stayed four days in the mountainous area of Kope, where Alex Gesse from Forest Therapy Hub gave us a forest bathing short course. On the way from Maribor to Kope, we visited the wonderful nature site of Rogla.
About 60% of Slovenia's area is forested and it is the third most forested country in the EU after Finland and Sweden. The scenery in Slovenia is amazing! Rugged mountains and a diverse forest with big trees. There were no lakes in our area, but there are plenty of them in the country. I think I will return to Slovenia at some point for a longer hiking trip. There are plenty of hiking trails, for example in the northern part a 600 km long route with reservation cabins along it.
We visited several rural tourism companies and wineries. They were very well and stylishly maintained, the wine was good and the food tasty. In some places, the offer was very meat-oriented, and as a vegetarian I could settle for a slightly more modest meal. This is not a problem for me, but especially vegans should ask in advance if there is suitable food in these places.
Is traveling on land a climate act ?
This was a great trip and I will continue to make business and leisure trips by train. I have been combining work and leisure trips for years, and the last time I flew was in the spring of 2019. Of course, sometimes schedules are limited and you have to use flights, but this was such a good experience that the threshold for flying is even higher now.
I find interesting to measure the greenhouse emissions, leaving no information up to guesswork. If I had flown between Helsinki - Maribor - Helsinki, the emissions would have been from 620 kg (Myclimate) to 930 kg CO2 (Atmosfair) depending on the calculator. The compensation fee would have been 17-22€. According to Finnair's calculator, a round-trip flight from Helsinki to Ljubljana produces around 270 kg of greenhouse emissions and compensation fee is 14€.
I have estimated my journey´s emissions ( CO2 kg) as following:
The total emissions of my journey would be apr. 284 -422 kg CO2.***
* None of the hotels published the emissions so I use the number used as an average 30kg CO2 kg which is quite high
** Unfortunately it is almost impossible to calculate the emissions caused by train. I use here the figures from the carbon independent website, which are probably high for the real emissions of European rail traffic. I think all the trains I used were electrified, but I can't find exact information about the sources of electricity production (renewable / fossil) by country. I don't remember traveling on a diesel train at all and from this I conclude that the actual emissions could be around 120 kg. There is also an other page to visit for those interested in calculating emissions: EcoPassenger
*** I am used to calculating emissions with coefficients that take into account all greenhouse emissions and the number is reported as carbon dioxide equivalent, but the coefficients I found now only took carbon dioxide emissions into account.
It is also worth noting in the figures that on the way back I did not take the most direct route back, but took a detour through Switzerland.
In summary, it can be stated that unbiased and easy-to-use counters are needed to support a truly comparable emissions calculation. Based on the results obtained now, one can get the impression that the consumer can find a calculator with which one can present the results sha/he likes. Perhaps more important is raising awareness and changing attitudes.
Slovenia is very well connected to many European cities, by plain and by train. Others of our group flew to the meeting; one to Venice, a couple to Ljubljana, one to Zagreb, one to Vienna. All those cities are a couple of hours away by car or by train.
I hope this article gave you some useful tips and I hope I managed to attract you to visit beautiful Slovenia and to a journey where really moving from one place to another is an important and beautiful part of the whole.
Anu, Mood of Finland