|Lauloi päivät pääksytysten,
yhytysten yöt saneli:
päätyi päivä kuulemahan,
kuu kulta tähyämähän;
aallot seisottui selällä,
lainehet lahen perällä;
puuttui virrat vierimästä,
Rutjan koski kuohumasta,
vuotamasta Vuoksen koski,
joki Juortanin pysähtyi.
|Sings one day, and then a second,
Sings a third from dawn till evening,
Sings from evening till the morning;
Listen all the stars of heaven,
And the Moon stands still and listens
Fall the waves upon the deep-sea,
In the bay the tides cease rising,
Stop the rivers in their courses,
Stops the waterfall of Rutja,
Even Jordan ceases flowing,
And the Wuoksen stops and listens.
These verses are taken from the Kalevala, and I remember them as there is a mention of the pseudonym I use often on the net. The waterfall of Rutja, transliterated also as Rutya and Ruija, is a Finnish word for a historical region that nowadays is more or less the Norwegian Finnmark. The Wuoksen is on the other side the Vuoksi River, that flows here in Karelia towards the Lake Ladoga.
So, with me being in Imatra at the riverside of the almighty Vuoksi, I can say that I've been cycling through Finland in all its length from north to south. The power of the river Vuoksi is nowadays used to make electricity in the Finnish biggest water power plant. However every day during the summer, at 18:00, the dam is opened and the Vuoksi can still show all its power on a 24-metre fall. The power plant hosts also a small museum, and it shows a video with the original footage of the construction. The power plant, at least its first stage, was built in the 20ies, and it's really impressive to see how harsh the work was back then. As a matter of fact the title of one poster says it all: "Once upon a time there were men, horses and a cement mixer". And only steam power. Sometimes watching these old documentaries I wonder whether the development of the last decades has just brought major improvements in automation, but the basics (like how to build a power plant) have remained more or less unchanged.
Back to cycling: today the thermometer showed 31 degrees, so I decided to stay in Imatra for the day and leave in the evening. Several reasons for doing so: one was the hot weather, I really don't like to take with me litres of water just to have a heavier bike and sweat more and need more water and going into a neverending loop. Then yesterday coming to Imatra I missed the Kolmen Ristin Kirkko (Church of the Three Crosses), designed by Alvar Aalto, so I had get back a few km to visit it. I really liked the pure white colour used inside, even on the organ. The church has 103 windows, out of which only two are identical. I must admit I couldn't find them.
And then the spectacle of the rapids of Vuoksi River starter: at the rythm of Nightwish music (yes the use music to announce the opening of the dam), the shutters opened, and crystal white water started to roar, filling up once again and just for a few minutes the marvellous rapids of the Vuoksi river. It is really astonishing, you can hear and feel the power of the thundering water that gets power little by little and then stronger and stronger. And at the same you think back at the power of the people who were able to block it. If you want you can also slide on top of the river; well harnessed, of course.
Well, after the river was closed once again, I moved on towards Lappeenranta. My idea of leaving in the evening in a fresher environment didn't really work out. Heading west the sun was another time in front of me all the time and, oh boy, it was hot. And it still is. I'm in the tent, it's almost midnight, and I'm still sweating, I can't believe this! One thing is for sure: during this journey the only thing I still miss is the snow. And, you know, never say never…
Day 34 – Tour de Finlande 2010: Imatra – Lappeenranta
Trip distance: 72 km
Actual trip time: 4 h 20 m
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