!report VF-2003 english version>
This chapter is not actual for Finns and most of foreigners, so it is short in English version. There were some difficulties in Finnish consulate, but Finnish Enquiry Service man in window-8 helped me to persuade Russian inspector-woman to accept our applications for visa without Invitation from Finland or prepaid habitation. We did not need to stay at cottages or hotels, because we were going to stay at nights in our own tent in any camping or forest. At last we had got our passports with 15-day visas inside just at the end of April 2003.
|In the morning we found that the place was not ideally clear, but after Russia there was great progress to ideal. The place was marked with letter "V" - that means "place to stay". After breakfast we continued our trip to North. Soon after Pohja-Lankila we were pleasantly surprised with bird-watch tower.|
From the tower we could see wonderful lake with duck family on it just 10 meters down from us. Really nice view! After 30 minutes of moving we entered to Punkaharju region. Soon we found info-board "Opastus-info". These info-boards helped us much in this trip. After Kultakivi we turned to unsurfaced road. It was better than some surfaced roads in Russia. So our average speed was still good. We found super market in Punkaharju and decided to by some soft drink or juice. Oleg went to the shop and I was waiting for him, listening to Radio Nova. At that time a drunken man (he arrived to the shop by bicycle!) came to me and tried to say some words or sounds with a smile on his face. I did not understand him, except one word like "onni" - it could be "happiness" in English? Then he disappeared in the shop with his bottle companion.
|We left Savonlinna by the same way via the giant bridge, but then turned left to the main road 14 and than to road 71 to Kerimäki. There we saw big wooden church, and then went toward Savonranta. After 25 kilometers suddenly thunderstorm began. We stayed in forest about 30 minutes under upper cover of our tent. After end of thunderstorm we found a place to stay for a night near Pyyvesi. A place was not the best and about 200 meters from some houses or cottages, but it was too late to look for something better.|
|Next day no castles expected. The main purpose of the day was to reach Karvio camping in the evening. Views from bridge before Savonranta compete with each other in beauty. View to right (to Orivesi) seems to win. After Savonranta we visited pretty small Myllymuseo. It took us about 5 minutes. Next 20 km on the road 474 we went up and down the hills, it was not hard, but interesting.|
A big Rock was at the end of the road 474, so we had to choose where to turn. We decided to go to the right via Sarvikumpu. It was the best decision because of four reasons.
When we stopped for a short rest, I found
strange under my foot on the edge of the road.
It was unopened beer bottle produced in 2001 year. Liquid inside seemed to be O.K., but we left it unopened adding label "0 Euro".
The channel was built about 100 years ago and it was very important construction of Karvio region.
|Next stop was in "laavu" or "lean-to shelter". It was situated near the road. And we took some water for tea preparation from nearby lake. So it took us about half an hour. In the evening we reached the end of road 542. We turned left to main road 17 toward Kuopio|
| The road traffic had
become more alive. It was Friday evening. But we had got
enough space to go near white line.
We stopped only once to see the beautiful church near Riistavesi.
A lot of people watched a concert of traditional Finnish songs in front of the City Hall (Kaupungintalo). Nearby we could buy and taste various fried fish and pies in the numerous open-air cafe and kiosks. Unforgettable atmosphere of holiday…
|Then we went toward one of the famous places in Kuopio - the hill Puijo. The road to the Puijo top was straight and ascent was steep enough. We stopped 2 or 3 times for the rest by the way up to the top. 75-meters tower at the top of Puijo was built 40 years ago. Lift inside of the tower raised us to the upper floor. Sights from the Puijo tower looked like sights from airplane. We could see really that we are in the heart of the Lake District of Finland. That was the highest and the farthest point of our trip in Finland!|
The way down was a little extreme because of next regular rain. I was glad to
see Oleg safe and sound after downhilling.
Next scene was a great surprise for us. Some funny young man helped to one of them to sit at the 1-speed bicycle and to start way to the top of Puijo hill! That man was dressed in suit with a cat or devil tail behind. After he started all his friends sat into the car and went after him. We still do not understand what it was. Maybe it was his work or he lost a bet… Sometimes Finns are very fun…
|Typical countryside view with army of haystacks on the field looked like rows and ranks of soldiers.|
|Next part of path we went up and down hills. Sometimes we saw road guide signs with pictures of mountain-skier. It should be mountain-biker too.|
Our attention was attracted by the exhibits from USSR: tube radio-phonograph "Latvia" and car "Moskvitch 407 4D" produced in 1962.
|We saw some trenches outside of museum. So we got to Joensuu rather late. Museums and sport shops were closed too. But back tire of my bicycle had become shabby and should be replaced by new one as soon as possible. We bought a new tire in KKKK Citymarket, but old one traveled with us to the end of our trip in Sortavala.|
The last Finnish town of our trip was Tohmajärvi. We wondered about sign-boards of the shops in Russian. At the same time a space near the road became rubbish and dirty due to a lot of empty plastic bottles and pieces of papers and so on. Russian influence… It is a pity.
|Our next purpose was to get to 5 a.m. morning train in Sortavala. So we intended to go a 63-km way to Sortavala with a 3-hour stop for a short sleep near Ruskeala. The prohibition of fires remained in Finland and we could use a camp-fire that night. We sat around the fire, listened to radio and then continued our way.|
|We started at 2.30 a.m., but a heavy rain started at the same minute. So we were very wet 1 hour later. Near Sortavala the rain stopped, but the road surface was from bad to worse. But the best adventures would be in Sortavala railway station. The train to Kouznechnoe consisted of 4 carriages. But only one door of eight was open for boarding. It was evidently not enough for a hundred of passengers (including ten boating tourists with canoes) to enter within 5 minutes. But it was very convenient for alone ticket-control officer-woman, so she refused to open remain 7 doors! And only 5-minutes delay with train departure saved us that time. So we understood: we returned to Russia-…Motherland.|