Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 46

Last night....
I can feel another Macer Random Tour coming on!! We are jumping on the 8:00am train out of town and, with a bit of luck, I think we can use the local train networks to reach the Arctic Circle. We're hoping to head west and then come back down through Sweden or even Norway. The problem is, there seems to be no train line connecting Finland and Sweden right at the top. Have heard there is (possibly) a bus that can do this. Not sure about internet access so we might be off the air for a couple of days. Debbie loves flying by the seat of her pants!!!
Day 46 Kajaani (Central Finland) - Friday 13th August

Don't know if it's the Finnish blood in me, but there is something special about Finland. Loved Helsinki! We made it to Kajaani (a smallish coutry town in central Finland) this afternoon and it is just beautiful here. It's a nice break from the cities and has a great deal of natural beauty.
Finally got Debbie on a bike today.
The hotel has free bikes and, as you can see in the photos, they are like WW2 standard issue!! After a ride around the town, we set off on a 20km round trip to Paltaniemi which is an historic area on Lake Oulujarvi. The glass still waters and rich green forest create a really peaceful atmosphere. There are some colourful old buildings which are surrounded by attractive farms with traditional barn-style farm houses. There were very few people around.
The bike paths were fantastic - small roads beside the roads. They must double up for something in winter. Nordic skiers practicing on roller blades and using poles left us in their wake!
We were accompanied by Lapland's answer to Marg Flowers on the way up in the train (see photo). She entertained us for hours with stories about the wild animals (elk, bears, foxes, hares, deer...) found in the forests we were travelling through, about how the lakes freeze over and how you have to make a hole to fish through, about the language, history etc. When she first sat down in our booth, she complained, "I can't take this! It is absolutely too hot!" It was pretty mild to us but she was dressed in long pants, a shirt, a heavy vest and a jacket!!!
Other items of interest today:
*found a squirrel by the side of the road busily carting a small pine cone
*the town square with its fountain and old town hall (above)
*the castle ruins on an island in the river
*Debbie's photo of the boats (top)
*the old emperor's stables (red building)
*the 1st leg of the Finland Random Tour has been an outrageous success - Debbie's anxiety barometer has fluctuated at times (eg. riding bikes on the wrong side of the road) but is currently steady. It's all systems go for continuing north tomorrow.

See the movie of Debbie on her WW2 standard issue bike...

1 comment:

  1. They are some pretty good photos. I cant wait to see where you end up after your random adventure