A Guided Tour of Kyrö Whisky and Gin Distillery

In part two of a two-part episode, I speak with Kalle Valkonen , Co-Founder and Head Distiller at Kyrö Distillery. He gives me a personal tour of the distillery, taking me step-by-step through the distilling processes of both Kyrö Rye Whisky & Kyrö Napue Gin and answering questions, such as: What is malting? And what are the ‘heads and tails’?

Preserving the Culture of a Lost Karelia

I speak to Marjo Matikainen-Källström, Satu Hallonberg and Markku Pulli about Karjalaisetkesäjuhlat; the commemoration of the evacuation of 430,000 people from Karelia after World War 2 and a celebration of continuing Karelian culture. I then speak to Satu (now Mrs Wiltshear) who shares some of her family’s memories as evacuees from Karjala.

“Ammunition, Fascism, Photography” A Few Steps Through the History of Lapua

As part of my guided tour around Culture Centre ‘Vanha Paukku’ in Lapua, we stop for an extended visit in the Lapuanjoki Museum. Museum Director, Sakari Hanhimäki and Cultural Director, Susanna Oversteyns regale me with historical tales of Espionage, Poisoning, Fascism, An Attempted Coup… and Photography!? Includes an intriguing revelation from Susanna’s family history.

Finnish rugby. Seinäjoki Rugby. Snow Rugby!

I speak with Olli-Pekka Tuomaala & James McDade from Seinäjoki Rugby club talk about rugby in Finland; the history of the game in Finland, the development of rugby in Finland as a summer contact sport and how Finland is no longer the worst National rugby team. We also discuss the annual snow rugby competition because, if rugby isn’t a tough enough sport, the Finns have found a way to take it up a notch.

A Guided Tour of Kyrö Whisky and Gin Distillery

In part two of a two-part episode, I speak with Kalle Valkonen , Co-Founder and Head Distiller at Kyrö Distillery. He gives me a personal tour of the distillery, taking me step-by-step through the distilling processes of both Kyrö Rye Whisky & Kyrö Napue Gin and answering questions, such as: What is malting? And what are the ‘heads and tails’?

3. Conservation, Medication and Procreation: The Vet’s Life at Ähtäri Zoo.

When talking to the Vet from Ähtäri Zoo in Finland, it is natural for talk to turn to the giant pandas Finland has recently brought to Ähtäri Zoo resort, . Heini explains that she has many different things to do in Ahtari Zoo, not only caring for snow pandas Lumi and Pyry. She cares for a wide variety of different animals, from the selection of Scandinavian animals and Nordic wildlife, to the growing collection of wild Asian animals and the petting zoo which features domesticated Finnish animals.

Heini also explains that she is driven by contributing to animal conservation in zoos and wildlife conservation in Finland and is proud to play a part in China reintroducing pandas into the wild.

A Winter Visit To Ähtäri Zoo & SnowPanda Resort

In Winter 2018-19, I was commissioned to make a pilot series of a new podcast; The Ähtäri Zoo Podcast. This episode is a selection of stories from the first three interviews with people powering Ähtäri Zoo. I’m sure you will find this a fascinating look, at the workings of a modern-day zoo. Search for “Ähtäri Zoo Podcast” on your podcast player to find the whole pilot season.

Introducing The Ähtäri Zoo Podcast

Hello. Welcome to the Ähtari Zoo podcast. My name is Mark Wiltshear, and during this series I am going to take you behind the scenes at Ähtäri Zoo.

This short pilot series is a fascinating look at the workings of a modern-day zoo. You will hear an introduction to Ähtäri Zoo resort, a conversation with the Panda Keeper and an interview with the Zoo Vet.

Mark Wiltshear’s 12 Minute Conversation with Engel Jones

For this episode, I am grateful to Engel Jones for allowing to rebroadcast an interview that first went-out on his 12 Minute Convos podcast in January 2018.

Engel is an Entrepreneur & Podcast Host who set himself a goal: 800 recorded conversations in 12 weeks from Sep 19th – Dec 12th 2017.

In this conversation, hear me on the other side of the mic (for a change) talking about why I make the Explore Finland Radio Show, the motivation behind founding Xport, writing a blog for Visit Seinäjoki and the relevance of the Diana Ross song ‘Chain Reaction’.

If you know me, you won’t be surprised that my #12minconvo lasted 18 mins!

Preserving the Culture of a Lost Karelia

I speak to Marjo Matikainen-Källström, Satu Hallonberg and Markku Pulli about Karjalaisetkesäjuhlat; the commemoration of the evacuation of 430,000 people from Karelia after World War 2 and a celebration of continuing Karelian culture. I then speak to Satu (now Mrs Wiltshear) who shares some of her family’s memories as evacuees from Karjala.

A Tour Around Lappajärvi, Europe’s Largest Crater Lake

In this episode, I speak to Teemu Öhman who is a Craterologist or, to be more precise, an Earth and planetary scientist and lecturer at Arctic Planetary Science Institute.

Teemu explained about the creation of Lake Lappajärvi in Etelä-Pohjanmaa, and then gave some recommendations of places to visit in the Lappajärvi area. All of which you can discover for yourself, using the new virtual Craterlake Geotrail

Kristina Vänni’s ‘Homefarm’ Cookbook: Taking Finnish Cuisine into American Kitchens

I speak to internationally recognised culinary authority and TV host, Kristina Vänni, who is also a food writer, TV host, recipe developer, cooking contest expert. We discuss her upcoming cookbook, Homefarm, but also her Finnish roots in Peräseinäjoki, Etelä Pohjanmaa.

She tells the the story of her Great-Grandmother, Josefiina Pitäkranta’s emigration to the USA in 1899 and how Kristina came to connect with her distant relatives, her ‘return’ to Pitkäranta Farm and the inspiration for her book.

Exploring Finland: Putting The Podcast Into Practice

During summer 2016, I had the opportunity to visit the wilds of Eastern Finland, near to the town of Kitee.  I was invited to join Satu at her Grandparents’ old home, right on Finland’s border with Russia. During this trip, I found myself saying ‘yeah, I know about this, I covered it in the podcast’, for example; sauna with vihta, foraging in the woods, the evacuation of Karelia and Finnish ice cream.

I thought I’d share with you some pictures of these activities, and the podcast episodes they came from.

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