"bLog means boring-Log"
day 16 in scandinavia, finland (0 comments)
we wanted to start the day with more birdwatching. so we tried to find birdwatching places at lake simpelejärvi. but we failed to find any street signs or any other hints on where to go exactly. after a while of driving, nina was in need of a bathroom, and i was in need of coffee. so we stopped at a parking area where there was a little snack stand that we hoped could gratify both our urges. and it could. we asked the staff there if she knows how to get to the ornithological sites, but she did not know either. instead she said there is a nice park here, that we might have a look.
since she was not very enthusiastic about it, we were not really convinced it is a site worth visiting, but we gave it a try anyway.
what we found was a wonderful well hidden attraction, both our guidebooks did not know about, and there was only a small sign pointing to the entrance hidden in a wood right next to a parking area along route 6, and only about 600 metres away from the russian border. if the girl would not have mentioned it, we would have not noticed it.
and so we entered the sculpture garden[001-117] of veijo rönkkönen in koitsanlahti, parikkala, starting at the yoga park[001-018], that consists of 250 figures in various yoga positions. although we both have some yoga experience, we did not know that there were that many positions.
turns out the sculptures were all made by one person, namely veijo rönkkönen, who worked on this park for nearly 50 years, resulting in about 550 concrete statues. the reason for doing this was to communicate with the outside world, as he was very guarded and even more reclusive. instead of going out into the world, he invited the world to visit his garden. at least that is what the information brochure said.
the sculptures, overgrown by moss and partially strongly weathered mostly reminded me more of zombies than normal people. again according to the brochure the artist did not think the park would survive after his death. he wanted it to be buried like the chinese terracotta army.
eventually someone did care and is now maintaining the park, but leaving the natural touch to the sculptures. the entry was free, but there was a voluntary donations box, which we fed willingly.
besides all the zombies there was also lots of explicit nudity and eroticism - it all felt like a huge PEGI 18 theme park.
but most of the sculptures were just scary ones. all these strange creatures mixed with the overgrown garden and its narrow paths really left a special impression on the both of us. fascinating and creepy at the same time. and the huge amount of statues was also very remarkable.
three years before the artist died in 2010, he received an award from the ministry of culture for his achievements in art.
besides huge plants, alien plants and creatures, a dinosaur, and fantasy creatures, he also sculptured lots of animals[019,022,030,050,055,061,065-066,075-076,080-081,084-086,093,099-100]. i especially liked the three cats[075-076] holding hands with each other and the punk girl (or it least i thought it was one).
but still, most of them reminded me of zombies and creatures from horror movies. there were kids at the park too, but they did not seem to mind the resemblance to the undead.
on the circle loop trail we ended at the yoga sculptures[102-117] once again on our way out. still impressive and a reminder that we could do more yoga back home again. well, we will see about that...
we got into the car again, to drive the rest of the 400 kilometre distance we had planned to cover today. somewhere near our destination porvoo i saw another car with the license plate "LMR-278" while ours was "LMR-287" - what a coincidence.
after checking in at the accommodation, which is a bit outside of porvoo, we hopped in the car again to drive to the old town of porvoo[118-194]. it was already around 20:00 o'clock, and we had learned our lessons so far what this means to the variety of places to get food. so we parked the car, and went to a sushi restaurant that looked good to us, just to make sure we get some food. but it turns out this place would have been opened for another few hours anyway. however, the sushi was excellent.
porvoo turns out to be a lovely little city, with many small houses, with small shops [119-128,143,169-172,175,187-188,189,192] in them. of course and unfortunately they all were already closed. but a little window shopping was still possible.
then we came to porvoonjoki river with oxblood coloured houses[146-147,151,153-156] all along waterside promenade. the promenade is decorated in many ways, like knitwear on railings, or flower beds.
it already got dark, so we were on our way back to the car, when we came by porvoon tuomiokirkko, the porvoo cathedral[177-186] of the evangelical lutheran church, which was built in the 15th century. of course also closed.
when we arrived back at our accommodation, the villa anttila, only two rooms where booked; one was ours - so the entire villa almost just to ourselves. there would have been a really wonderful big garden, and a swimming pool on the terrace that was accessible right from our room, but by now it was already too late and too dark for any of these.
oh, and there was a cat sneaking around.
today it was cloudy, with highest temperatures of 16°C. tomorrow will be our last day in finland. too sad, we would not mind a few more days; there would have been so much to see here, but only so little time...
track for day 16