Before we move on to my trip to Petrozavodsk and Moscow, here’s a quick post on my short trip to a small town in the East of Finland called Imatra. Probably the last day with weather comfortable enough to walk around feeling the warmth of the sun on your face.
The day was windy but sunny and I could enjoy the nature turning my back to the city and leaning on a huge stone. I went to Imatra, one of the cities of Finland that are the closest to St Petersburg and hence the most frequented by Russians coming here for various reasons. It’s also close to Lappeenranta, the destination for hard-core shoppers. I chose Imatra and spent zero once again.
As in any of the Finnish cities that I have visited it’s not the architecture that interests me as I don’t like the Finnish straight and forward approach to building their houses and decorating the squares and parks. I prefer the nature part of it and believe it or not just several meters away from the Finnish-Russian border you realize that the nature is better preserved, taken care of and – well – cleaner.
I also enjoy the rich and distinct colours of the nature in Finland as opposed to the seemingly coulourless cities that sometimes look as if they were deliberately made faceless. However there are the gems of Finnish architecture that do stand out of the rest of the crowd like this hotel built in 1903 to accommodate the rich visitors from the then capital of the Russian Empire, St Petersburg.
You see, Finland used to be a part of that vast empire… When I observe how some Russians behave when shop-travelling to Finland I sometimes think they never learnt that this country is no longer a part of ours =)
And Russians still stay at this hotel right on the edge of the ravine with Vuoksi river running down there with a waterfall barring the river. They started using the power of the falling water from 1920 when the hydropower station was built. Now the water is kept inside of the artificial pool and ‘freed’ every day during the summertime accompanied by the music of Sibelius.
Even the coat of arms of the city reminds you of the electricity (it has three lightnings) and these scary signs warning you not to enter the bed of the river are placed all over the ravine:
Back when the place was a resort frequented by Russians coming here for some rest in the nature, fleeing from the capital, there used to be the natural waterfall of course. The people would sit and observe the water falling (that was considered calming and beneficial to your health) and meanwhile they would carve their names on the nearest stones (how very typical). Not only Russians, mind you!
There are some old buildings preserved in the town, so you can have a glance at what Imatra most probably looked like a century ago. That’s what I’m usually looking for, the traces of the past, well, you should already know it by now 🙂
Not much to tell you here as the town is very small and I did not dare to apply my usual ‘check-list’ to it (the presence of a market, a post office, nice dairy products,..). I just enjoyed one of the last sunny autumn days eating my spécialité sandwiches with sourdough rye bread, cheese and veggies.
I seem to be travelling all the time so everything that I cook is just for the practical part of it – I mean it’s being eaten before I get a minute to make some photos. Will surely make up for it in the second half of December, especially round the holidays.
Coming up – trips to Moscow and Petrozavodsk. And I still have my architectural walks in Kolpino to complete…