A view of Finland

Trip Start Jul 10, 2007
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Trip End Jul 21, 2007


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Flag of Finland  ,
Saturday, July 14, 2007


What a great day. Our tour guide was exceptionally good. In addition to pointing out the signts, she told us a lot about the history of Finland, about her people and her relationship with her neighbors. Finland is 70% forest, 10% water, and only 20% inhabited land. There are about 200,000 lakes. Most Finish people have two homes. their main residence and a very small summer cottage in the woods where all can sleep, but days need to be spent outside. Families will have a sauna in both locations. There are also public saunas. According to our guide, daily sauna is quite commonplace. It's apparently quite habit forming. While in the sauna they often hit themselves with birch switches. The oil in birch leaves is thought to be very good for the skin.
Our first stop on the tour was the monument to Sibelius. Originally sculpted by a woman, it was constructed of many open pipes to represent a massive organ which can be heard when the wind blows. The bias against a female being commissioned to create the monument combined with the belief that the image of the composer needed to be present resulted in the later addition to the park. We then visited the rock church carved into and under a massive mound of rocks, allowing the rocks to continue to serve the community as a park and playgriound. We were interested in her pronounciation of Lutheran.when she explained that almost all Finish people are "Luterian" but don't go to church except for concerts, weddings, and baptisms. We next visited the town square. Teenagers apparently like to add soap suds to statues there as much as they do in the US. The square is the home of the largest Lutheran church in Finland and a statue of Czar Alexander II.

When asked why a czar in Finland she said the people believe Alexander II was the last of the good czars.
After a traditional lunch in a country manor house it was on to Porvoo, the second oldest town in Finland and home of the oldest church in Finland. Unfortunately, last summer, several young adults got drunk and set fire to the church and it is currently covered with tarps during the repair. In spite of a rainy afternoon, it was a wonderful day. Outside of town we found a World War II memorial.
If we continue to have guides as we had in Helsinki this is going to be an amazing trip.
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Comments

blange73
blange73 on

sauna
I can see you taking the hot tub out and putting a sauna in...just not too many birch tree's in the neighborhood.

P.A. on

the statue of the man on the horse is not Alexander II, but Carl Gustav Emil Mannerheim. The commander of the white forces during liberation war, later Commander of the finnish armed forces during second world war, and even later president of Finland.

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