Tuesday 14th August.
Its our daughters 21st birthday today so had a great catch up with family by video this morning.
We have also decided to give the bottom of Finnland only a drivethrough, we are running out of time and still have a few places on the definite wish list so have to spend the next few days chewing up some kilometres on our drive northwards.
So today a still reasonably short drive up the coast to Pori (first circle on the above map) and out to the beach of Yyteri for an overnight, GPS : 61.56684 21.52876. This is the longest sand beach in Finnland, (not that long) and is a real summer destination. Not sure if summer is over or whether its just a blip on the climate radar but the temp has taken a dive and the place is deserted.
A couple of stops on the way at UNESCO world heritage sights, so far Finland seems to have a fair few of these.
First one was the town of Rauma, where the old town, ( late 1800’s) has been preserved in its entirety with about 600 wooden houses shops etc, still as a main part of the working town, and loaded with antique shops and galleries.
Rauma also has the remains of an old stone church that was destroyed in a fire at some stage. Incredible how solid it had been built, these are not small stones.
2nd stop was to visit a Bronze age Burial site, around here the ground is basically rock so these stone cairns where used as burial tombs.
With the move into Finnland we have crossed into another time zone and gained another hour of daylight, meaning even in southern Finnland its not dark until about 11.00pm.
Wednesday 15th August
Drive day, that pretty much sums it up, a couple of little stops on the way and interesting discussion and trying to photograph roadsigns to translate by essentially today was 600km from Pori up the coast to Oulu. We reckon 450 km of this was trees 50 of lakes 75 of farms and 25 of towns.
1 cool stop worth writing about on the way is the UNESCO protected Wooden Church at Petajavesi. This church was built between 1763 and 1765. The timber walls and the high barrel vaults are left unpainted as are the floors and all the pews, however the red ochre paint used on the ends of all the tie-beams and vault ribs is very effective decoration in the medieval style. The floor boards were made from the logs of a small chapel which had been built on the same place in 1724.
The interior of the church has remained almost original and there has never been heating, which is pretty obvious as no heat would have stayed in due to the amount of gaps and holes in walls and floor. The years and years of use has given the floor and pews an amazing color and shine. Very Impressive.
A 2nd stop was at a collection of old church bells on the side of the road, first thought this was a forge of some sort but no, just a collection, most of them seemed to be from Germanany.
A couple of observations about Finnland:
- They don’t have giveway signs, at uncontrolled intersections ( those that don’t have lights or are not a main road) it is first there first too go.
- The above road rule means that the locals don’t seem to need a very big gap to turn into flowing traffic.
- Brilliant traffic flow and manners, nobody is in a hurry, the open road speed is 100kms/hr, but rarely does it go above 95.
- Moose, they must be somewhere here in big numbers because there are moose signs everywhere, ( My advice get rid of a few of the moose signs , because there arnt any moose around here, and turn them into give way signs).
- Shit there is a lot of trees, for those Kiwi’s reading this, think back to how the Taupo/Rotorua road used to be then multiply that by about 100 and you work out this is a seriously boring country to drive main roads in.
- The roads are awesome considering they spend 8 months a year frozen.
- I repeat there are no moose, in fact we had to retrace our route by about a km after passing this statue on the side of the road to get a photo.
A nice park in the city of Oulu about 10mins from centre of town GPS: 65.021075 25.462147.
Random images of Finland.