Day 35 – Tour de Finlande 2010: Lappeenranta – Kouvola

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The hot weather of the last days wasn't enough, there was really need of breaking the all time record of temperature in Finland: today in Joensuu it has been 37,2 degrees centigrade, and I guess in Lappeenranta we haven't been far from that. Fortunately museums and supermarkets have air conditioning systems!

I had already noticed yesterday evening having a pizza in the city centre: Lappeenranta is a very picturesque town. The biggest Finnish harbour in closed water did look very busy with such a beautiful weather: many boats and many people taking sun. And in the background the old linnoitus, the Fortress of Lappeenranta, which is like a town in the town, with gravel roads, ancient buildings and peace, being on a higher level than the neighbouring harbour.

As it was so hot strolling around the town, I had a full immersion into museums, as the town has got a large offer. In the fortress area particularly I have been in the South Karelian Art Museum that, apart from the permanent exhibition of Finnish and Karelian paintings (many of them owned by the Art Museum of Vyborg before World War II) hosted an impressive temporary exhibition called Fatal Moments – Images of War in Art. Together with very communicative paintings a particular documentary was shown, which included interviews with Finnish people regarding the border with Russia. The documentary was composed of three slideshows on a row: on the left life scenes from the Finnish side, in the middle images of actual the Finnish-Russian border, and on the right side life scenes from the Russian side. A very original idea.

Then I stopped by the South Karelian Museum, which has a permanent exhibition of three historically important South Karealian towns, namely Lappeenranta, Viipuri and Käkisalmi, being the latter two nowadays in Russia and known under the names of Vyborg and Priozersk, respectively. The exhibition showed also how the border between Finland and Russia has changed so many times during the centuries, which tells a lot about the strategic importance of this area. For example an important canal was built between Lappeenranta and Vyborg, and nowadays it is possible to get there by ferry, although a Russian visa is needed (and must be ordered well in advance).

Also today I decided to start cycling late in the afternoon. Unfortunately I had to leave the Saimaa region as other places need to be visited too. However I'm pretty sure I'll be back soon, now that I know how beautiful it is. The distance to Kouvola was around 80 km so I thought I might stop somewhere in the middle, as it was still really hot, but a wonderful tailwind and 6 litres of water (yes, 6 litres) helped me to do the whole way quite easily. Moreover, I've read that tomorrow the temperatures should go down of about 10 degrees, which is not a bad news at all.

And not bad at all is also the fact that with today's trip I've done 3000 km, I start not to believe it myself!

Day 35 – Tour de Finlande 2010: Lappeenranta – Kouvola

Trip distance: 85 km
Actual trip time: 4 h 30 m

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