Day 27 – Tour de Finlande 2010: Valamo Monastery – Mustinsalo

Watch the route up to day 18
Watch the route from day 19 to 27

The last night has been quite rainy. Actually it started to rain soon after I posted the report about yesterday's trip, and it didn't stop until the morning. I had to pack the tent while it was still wet but right now I'm once again sitting inside it, and it seems the warm sun that shone for the whole day did its job even if the tent was all packed.

Today I have experienced a full immersion into Orthodox religion. First of all I went to visit the Valamo Monastery, which was just a few km away from the forest I slept the last night. They organise one-hour guided tours for just 5 euro so I decided to go for it, which wasn’t a bad idea, as I happened to be the only customer, so I had the chance to ask many questions. Be aware anyway that guided tour in Finnish are every hour, while for other languages you’d better book beforehand.

The Valamo Monastery has been in its actual location since 1940, soon after the old Valamo Monastery, which lay on an island in the middle of the Ladoga Lake, had to be evacuated as a consequence of the Winter War. Most of the icons, bells and many other things have been carried to the new Monastery through the lake, which was frozen at the time. The old Monastery, which is now in Russia, has restarted its activities since 1990.

After just 13 km of cycling I reached another important Orthodox place in Finland, the Lintula convent. While Valamo is a monastery of monks, Lintula is a convent of nuns, and it has a similar story of evacuation from its previous premises after the Winter War. It is a much quieter place than Valamo, at least there are much less tourists, and they have in my opinion a wonderful tsasouna, a small chapel for prayers, at the lakeside, that you can reach after a short walk in the forest.

On the road between the monastery and the convent I had the surprise (that is, I didn't know it was there) to see Varistaipale canal, which has a height of drop of 14.5 metre, the highest in Finland, and to get through it there are four sluice gate. It was really nice to see it working, especially if you think that the whole system was built on 1915. The canal museum nearby has a collection of pictures showing workers building it. I guess at that time it was a bit harsher than today.

Day 27 – Tour de Finlande 2010: Valamo Monastery – Mustinsalo

Trip distance: 67 km
Actual trip time: 4 h 05 m


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2 thoughts on “Day 27 – Tour de Finlande 2010: Valamo Monastery – Mustinsalo

  1. Raffa Post author

    Isn't it??!! Even better, I'm in Puumala in the woods under a bridge, no houses in sight, and I'm writing through an open WLAN. That's what I call a working technology!

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