Day 52 – Tour de Finlande 2010: Ruotsinpyhtää – Kotka

The history of Ruotsinpyhtää, literally Pyhtää of Sweden, traces back to 1743 when the Kingdom of Sweden – having back then the sovereignty all over Finland – lost the Russo-Swedish War, and had to cede to Russia the part of south-eastern Finland up to the river Kymijoki. This meant that the town of Pyhtää was divided in two, and Ruotsinpyhtää got its name being the part of the town that remained in Finland, that is, under the Swedish crown. Nowadays the places have still different names, and Ruotsinpyhtää is famous for its old ironworks, typical factories especially here in the south. The museum was open until the end of August, so I missed for a couple of days. Have to get back here in the proper summer.

Although cloudy, today there has been no rain. A strong wind came up, together with the temperature going down. It reminded me of the weather I experienced in Norway, don't even want to know how it is like right now over there. However, I have to admit that it’s easier to cycle with these temperatures, as you don’t sweat too much, and I definitely feel less tired in colder weather.

As I said, a few km after trespassing river Kymijoki I got to Pyhtää, where I visited its old church, dating back to 1460. It is the one with the most preserved paintings from its Catholic era I have seen during my journey. And it's definitely something unique you don't see in traditional Catholic churches of Southern Europe, as also the painting are very old, being them from the time before the Reformation.

During the route I stumble into the King's Road once again, so I decided to follow it instead of the main road as it was much trafficked. It's still nice to be in the countryside, even if now it starts to be too cold. The only drawback of the day was an unleashed dog, which didn't have anything better to do than running after me. It's the first time it happens in this tour: I've met many dogs in the countryside, and noticed how much they like to barks at bikers, but usually they are on a leash, which has saved many legs I suppose. I mean, this one just run freely after me and even got so close that it bit my back bag! Fortunately its "surveillance area" ended a few dozen of metres from the house it came from, so it stopped running. I was so angry I started to think about the best way to kill a dog with a knife. Fortunately nothing bad happened to me, but it was really close.

My journey ended in Kotka, where the wind was blowing really strong. After two days in the woods I needed to find a warm place for the night. So, for the first time in this tour, I got a room in a gasthaus. And what a room! This is an old manor house from the thirties, and in my room there’s an original stove from the time. The owner had already put some woods to warm it up. I have also a kitchen all for me, and from the window I had the chance to see a wonderful sunset. Very inspiring place, I'm happy for the choice!

Kotka is famous for its port, which is one of the most important industrial port of Finland, and it has several attractions related to the sea, namely the Maretarium, a huge aquarium showing the species of fish that live in Finnish water, and the Maritime Museum, which hosts also the icebreaker Tarmo, built in 1907 and one of the oldest icebreaker of the world that still "alive".

So, tomorrow I'll stay here, spending my time around fish, museums and icebreakers. And then…

Day 52 – Tour de Finlande 2010: Ruotsinpyhtää – Pyhtää – Kotka

Trip distance: 56 km
Actual trip time: 3 h 18 m
Distance from day 1: 4211 km

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