Cycle Trip Through South-Eastern Finland 
Friday, 04 .August, 2006, 00:52 - English Entries, Cycling, Finland, Photographs, Travel

cycle-trip-2006
The trip

I kept a very short log of last weeks cycling trip with the camera and flickr-posting function of my mobile phone. Below you find the entries and some more pictures re-posted.

It all worked very well, also due to my bike, which at no point gave me any trouble or problems. It just stayed with me for six days and about 580 kilometers. The main reason why I ended the trip then was, that my sitting organ could just not be convinced anymore to have further contact with the saddle of the bicycle. Going further was a very tempting thought, but I was strong enough to resist it.

Road
The Road


Day 1: Tuesday, July 25th 2006 - from Helsinki via Porvoo to Loviisa

Today I started on a cycling trip towards Eastern Finland. I started at 13.00 from my home in Helsinki, with two fully loaded bags at the back of my bike.

Already last year i went by bike to Porvoo. It is a very beautiful city and they built some modern wooden buildings there since then, which really fit in very well with the old ones.

Lifeblog post Lifeblog post

I arrived in Loviisa, which is about 90 kilometers East of Helsinki, around 20.00. It's a nice town too.

Lifeblog postFor the moment i am just exhausted and tired. I have not done a longer bike trip for quite some time, so my body keeps telling me that it needs a bit more training. We'll see how the next days turn out to be.

Anyhow the route was very beautiful. I followed the kings road (road number 170) and it was not much traffic there. The temperature was quite high, around 27 degrees. But the landscape was just fascinating. Still i could not convince myself to stop and take pictures. The cycling was just too good and i could not stop. Anyhow, once you stop, sitting on the saddle again is pain (at least from a certain distance on).

The last longer cycling trip i did was in 1999, through all of Austria. Quite a while ago.


Sunset
Sunset in Loviisa


Day 2: Wednesday, July 26th 2006 - from Loviisa via Hamina to Virolahti

Hamina

Hamina is for sure one of most beautiful towns i have seen in Finland and i can only recommend visiting it. It has a lot of impressive buildings and a great seaside. I regret a bit that i did not stay there for a night.


Lifeblog post
A perfect place. A perfect moment. Close to Hamina

Lifeblog postI am very tired now and will keep this short. I went from Loviisa to Kotka and on to Hamina. After a break i went on to Virolahti, where i stay this night in a hut. Seems there are no hotels around here.

The next day, when I awoke, I layed for at least 20 minutes under both blankets and did not dare to move. It was unbelievable cold in the hut. From that on I only took hotels for the night.



Sky, Trees, Land
Sky, Trees, Land


Wooden House in Hamina, Finland
Wooden House in Hamina, Finland


Day 3: Thursday, July 27th 2006 - from Virolahti via Lapeenranta to Imatra

Unsurfaced RoadThat's what my map calls an unsurfaced bicycle road. They did not indicate that it means to push the bike instead of riding it. Did an 11km detour to see the Russian boarder. It was not visible, maybe Russia joined Schengen without me noticing it. Or the map again promised too much. Cheers :)


River close to LapeenrantaToday i followed the Via Karelia, first North to Lapeenranta and then North-East to Imatra. It was just great cycling, easy and good. The landscape was nice, but today i was more concentrated on moving on.


ImatraAfter more than 9 hours and nearly 120 kilometers i arrived in Imatra. The day was not so hot, which made it easier to cycle. Nevertheless there was a lot of wind coming from the North, but it did not manage to block me.



Cry
Seagull in Imatra


Alvar Aaltos Church of the Three Crosses (Kolmenristin Kirkko) in Imatra

Bell Tower

Even before I started the trip I had in mind to visit this building. It was maybe the only goal I had for the trip. It is located outside of Imatra, along a quiet road, sorrouned by pine trees and birches. I came there on a Friday morning and everything was absolutley silent.

How the Altar Receives Light

One of the most impressive things I ever saw in a church is how the altar receives light. The window in the ceiling is a hole for light, that falls onto the altar. Like in some pagan places of worship, where the light fell on a specific point at the day of midsummer or midwinter.

The whole Church of Three Crosses seems to be built only to emphasize one thing: Light. Every window is different, the light has so many different sources. Most likely the light falls even during the dark and long Finnish winters through that hole in the ceiling. Imagine a cold day in February, the nights are still longer than the days and then the altar gets enlightend.

And then - the window is not straight - that makes the shadows also uneven. The shadows of the crosses look different than the crosses themselves.

I have no clue about architecture, I do not believe in God and yet I stood there and could not grasp it.

All my pictures of the Church of the Three Crosses can be found here.


Day 4: Friday, July 28th 2006 - from Imatra via Ruokolahti to Sulkava

Day 4 of my cycle trip: from imatra to sulkavaI started at 11 and took it slowly. For nearly an hour i visited the church of the three crosses in Imatra. An amazing building, one of the most impressive i have ever seen.

For more than 90 percent of todays route i say no sign of civilization, besides cars and the road. No town, no filling station, no coffee place. It was wow!

The last 35 kilometers were only hills. Never before in my life was i that happy about growing up next to the Alpes. Finally, after 107 kilometers, i arrived in Sulkava.


Towards the Sky


Day 5: Saturday, July 29th 2006 - from Sulkava via Rantasalmi to Varkaus

Cycle trip through Finland - day 5: from Sulkava via Rantasalmi to VarkausToday i was close to giving up. Shortly after Sulkava came another 12 kilometers unpaved road, my right knee started to hurt and shortly after i got a cramp in my right leg. So i decided to take a hotel in Rantasalmi. But when i arrived there, the town did not really attract me. So i took something to eat, a coffee and a beer (for muscle relaxation) and went another 45 kilometers to Varkaus. It was then again much easier than thought.

My sitting organ emits pains that i never thought possible. The easiest is to just stay on the saddle. The moment i get off it, all hell breaks loose.

The landscape today was beautiful again. I was happy that the hills got less steep. I say cows today and there was fresh cut grass - i have not seen that form of earning yet in Finland. It reminds me very much of my home.

Most of the time on the bike i was singing all kinds of songs and had conversations with me. There was nobody around. As it was saturday there were even hardly any cars. So i sang along and entertained myself.

Varkaus has the bigger building that i remember in Finland. It is this hugge factory, that you can see on the picture. It supplies the whole city with a certain sour smell. At least i assume that the smell comes from the factory. Or maybe i started smelling. :)

It was a good but also a hard day.

A nice weekend to all of you.


Industrial Building, Kuopio
Industrial Building in Kuopio


Day 6: Sunday, July 30th 2006 - from Varkaus to Kuopio

Cycling Finland - day 6 - from Varkaus to KuopioI sit at the market place of Kuopio, the sun is shining warm, after it was cloudy and fresh most of the day. When i started in Varkaus it even rained for a while. Although i only went 82 kilometers today, i felt them quite heavily. But it still was fun to just go further. At the moment i am not sure whether i will go further from here or back to Helsinki by train. At the moment the sun is the best thing.



Juha Leiviskäs Männistön Pyhän Johanneksen Kirkko, Kuopio

Männistön Pyhän Johanneksen Kirkko, Kuopio, Finland

In a way this church was the ending point of the trip. I learned from the travel guide that it exists and walked there on Monday morning. Also here the impression was overwhelming.

Organ and Colours

All my pictures from the Männistön Pyhän Johanneksen Kirkko can be found here.


Day 7: Monday, July 31st 2006

On the seventh day God rested and I decided to go back. I spent the day in Kuopio and took the train back to Helsinki in the evening. The train ride took over 5 hours and my bike and I arrived save at home around 23.00.


Kuopio Market Place
Market Place in Kuopio

All my pictures from the trip can be found here.


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out cycling 
Tuesday, 25 .July, 2006, 22:32 - English Entries, Finland, Travel
I finally decided to do a cycling tour. Not sure how long I will survive out in the Finnish wilderness, but I try to go as far as I can.

As it is rather hard to write this blog from my mobile, but very easy to post pictures from the phone to flickr, those who are interested in my progress can follow it at http://www.flickr.com/photos/georgmayer (only pictures from my phone's camera will be available until I return)

Once again: have a nice summer!
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Impressions from Sodankylä, Lapland 
Thursday, 06 .July, 2006, 16:58 - English Entries, Finland, Photographs, Travel

Here are some impressions from the 21st Midnight Sun Film Festival. The festival takes place every year around midsummer in Sodankylä, which is located 120 kilometers North of the Arctic Circle.

Sodankylä, Lapland
View across the River

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Impressions from the Midnight Sun Film Festival

Library, Sodankylä, Lapland Building in Sodankylä, Lapland
The library and an old wooden building

The old wooden church in Sodankylä The new church in Sodankylä, 

Lapland
The old wooden church and the new church

Gravestone at Sodankylä Graveyard Grave at the Sodankylä Graveyard
Sodankylä Graveyard

River through Sodankylä Land of the Midnight Sun
Land of the Midnight Sun


Code of Arms of Sodankylä


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Midnight Sun in Sodankylä, Finland 
Tuesday, 20 .June, 2006, 01:23 - English Entries, Finland, Photographs, Travel
These are the first impressions from the 21st Midnight Sun Film Festival in Sodankylä. It was my first visit to Lapland.

Midnight Sun in Sodonkylä, Finland

Midnight Sun in Sodonkylä, Finland

Midnight Sun, Sodankylä, Finland Midnight Sun, Sodankylä, Finland

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Jewish History in Warsaw 
Wednesday, 31 .May, 2006, 16:02 - English Entries, History, Photographs, Travel
Yesterday we took a guided tour on Jewish history in Warsaw. Here are some impressions from the tour.

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Tablet at the Jewish Cementary in Warsaw, reminding of the Holocaust.

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The only remains of the wall around the Jewish Ghetto can be found in a backyard. The Ghetto was established in October 1940 by the Germans, in order to isolate the Jewish population of Warsaw. At its peak there were 450.000 Jewish people living in the Ghetto. Most of them were brought to the Treblinka extermination camp, where they got killed.

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Some of the stones of that wall have been removed and brought to Jewish mueseums and memorial sites all over the world.

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The memorial place for the uprise within the Jewish Ghetto of Warsaw - nearly all Jews still living in the Ghetto got killed by the Nazis.

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Mila 18 - the place where the leaders of the Ghetto uprise killed themselves, before the Nazis could get hold of them.

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Umschlagplatz - from here the trains from Warsaw ran to the Treblinka extermination camp, where nearly 900.000 people got killed.

warschau 201 warschau 203

When German chancellor Willy Brandt came to Warsaw in 1970, he fell on his knees in front of the memorial place for the uprising in the Jewish Ghetto. This gesture became famous as the "Warschauer Kniefall", which opend the door for better relations between Western Germany and Eastern Europe. This memorial site remind of the "Kniefall"

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The jewish cementary, which is over 200 years old.

» Further Impressions from the visit to Warsaw (Flickr)
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