Once you know a city quite well after travelling there several times, you start entertaining yourself with the details that might have slipped from you before. That’s what also happens when you have some hours in a city where there’s little to see. And yet, you don’t want to be all bored, right?
And you know what? The moment you tell yourself that there could hardly be anything new in a place you know too well, here they pop up, the details and curious things!
When I go to Lappeenranta (it’s a pity to admit that St Petersburg people do it mostly for visa reasons), I have three things to do – walk along the Saimaa lakeside, make rounds in the fortress and – well – do some shopping, at least window shopping (the first option is more useful when it is cold). This time the usual walk along the lakeside (which I made first) was spiced up with this out-of-range boat:
I can only imagine the same thing happening somewhere in Russia. First, there will be no boat left overnight. Second – which naturally proceeds from the first – there would be no need surrounding it with these white boards!
After leaving the port of the largest Finnish lake Saimaa, I climbed the road up to the fortress. Or rather to what is left from the fortress, now a cultural center with some museums and craft shops. Though these stone walls are quite impressive for an ex-fortress!
Regardless of the remaining snow, the city is getting ready for Easter. Almost a year ago I visited Lappeenranta in the midst of the Easter season, spotting all the neat decorations and spring signs. This time I came a bit earlier and had to look out for these details.
There’s something that unites Finland and Greece (apart from the languages, which while being completely different – can sometimes sound very alike) to my mind – and it is the colours. If you do not take into consideration the modern Finnish architecture, the colours of the villages and old(er) towns are somewhat special. I mean, they are bright just as the Finnish nature is bright: as soon as the sun appears, all the colours become so very acute, making you wonder that a minute ago you thought Finland was too bland.
I was not very lucky with the sun (while St Petersburg is all immersed into the sun + dust season), but I noticed all those tiny neat details which tell me every time that we are so very different from our immediate neighbours. So very different.
Oh, the decadence.
One of my favourite buildings inside the fortress are these yellow and red houses. Especially the yellow which always have some interesting details about them:
Like this one:
The stairs accompany each of the buildings in the fortress:
And even smaller ones for… cats?
I got gradually obsessed with the yellow houses:
Flowers outside a famous cafe in the fortress:
No, never been there. It was closed this time too. But the look is so spring-like!
I like how the brightness of the fresh daffodils contrasts with the washed out colours of the door. New life with the old life in the background. More flowers and details could be found outside this white (though apparently red brick inside) building, which looks quite ghostly from the lakeside and so cozy from the inside the fortress:
What strikes me in Finland is the sky. Lappeenranta is so close to St Petersburg and yet – the sky there is different. A photo could hardly prove that.
Once finished with the fortress, I had only one place to go – the city itself. Leaving the last snow to continue melting in the fortress, I however found some other new things.
A bee house! More yellow houses as well 🙂 And in my preferred architectural style too – modernism:
Just off the main street – and the city is almost void.
I wish the rest of the city was all lined out with such yellow houses – so neat and cute! I guess there’s much of neatness in Finland. Which again proves how very different we are. Moving away from the shopping streets, this time I finally visited the market, finding these funny decorations:
And yes, there is another post on Lappeenranta – you can see how it looks (and even shines with all the colours!) in autumn here. And if you happen to visit the city and find new details – tell me where to look for them!
Adding this to my Travel collection. In anticipation of new travels next month – and more spring details!