Watch the roadmap of the tour
Olavinlinna castle. The castle itself is striking and the guided tour is just a journey through time, from the 15th century, when the castle was built, to the following centuries, when the castle changed owner, from the Swedish to the Russian empire, and finally to independent Finland. It's so big that I definitely need to go back there another time to see the rest of it.
Yesterday the temperature went back to the (nowadays) usual 25-30 degrees, so I had a full cycling tour of Savonlinna, including also a one-hour tour by boat around the whole town which, during these days, is packed with tourists, even because of the Savonlinna Opera Festival that takes place during the whole month of July. Well, the town deserves it. Being surrounded by lakes it has also many wonderful spots to sit down and watch the scenery, or jump in the water so hot it is outside. The whole area is really worth visiting and I still wonder why it took ten years to me before realising it!
biggest wooden church in the world. You can get an idea looking at me in the picture. It may well look just a big church like many others, but think that it is completely made of wood, and it's already 140 years old. And apart from the many anecdotes about why such a big church for a town of a few thousand people, the reality is that it was made out of wood instead of bricks because at the time the parish couldn't afford it. Wood instead was instead widely available and reasonably cheap. I wonder whether nowadays things are reversed.
Punkaharju with its 6 km sand esker, which was used in the ancient times as an important travelling route. This sand ridge has been created during the Ice Age, and similar ones can be found in other areas here in the north, but this one has the particularity of having water on both sides. It is just wonderful to cycle on the road that is on the top of it, surrounded by the lake. I had also the chance to swim in a fantastic fine sandy beach.
Lusto Forest Museum, which I didn’t have time to visit (too many things!) and the Retretti Art Centre, a bizarre art exhibition centre hidden in a cavern below the ground. It has several temporary exhibitions, this summer it has eight (it really is a huge cavern that goes down deep in the ground!). Among the paintings, I was impressed by Elin Danielson-Gambogi’s Köyhä tyttö (poor girl). I should try to find a poster of it.
Day 32 – Tour de Finlande 2010: Savonlinna – Parikkala
Trip distance: 101 km
Actual trip time: 6 h 20 m