Monthly Archives: March 2014

Swans are back

The sun rose today at 6.46 and is due to set at 19.58. We enjoy longer daylight hours now that we have switched to the so-called daylight time.

This morning I decided to go and have a quick tour to one of the birdwatching towers in the neighbourhood. As usual I realized I had forgotten my binoculars at home… Still I was surprised to spot some swans along with ducks and gulls. Swans at least are on their way back to Finland. They stop each year in this bay called Kodderviken for some weeks before heading further north where they’ll mate.

When riding back home I couldn’t resist making a detour on Albert Edelfelt’s path where I spotted other couples of swans bathing in harmony. As you’ll see in the short clip I made the creatures are able to rest on the thin ice with no fear of slipping through it.

In Porvoo and in many other places in Finland people practice birdwatching or birding as I learnt from wikipediaIn Porvoo there’s been a local association called Porvoonseudun Lintuyhdistys since 1962. It has engaged in promoting birdwatching and raising awareness to the protection of birds. In Kodderviken especially the association members propose guided tours on April 3rd, 2014.

They’ve also come up with a tradition, that of laying 2000kg of oat on the usually ice-covered bay in order for birds to feed when these are back to Finland and the lakes are still covered with ice. This year the bay is already free from ice though and I wonder how they’ll manage to lay the oat. You can listen here to a radio report where two people are interviewed by the Finnish broadcast (in Finnish).

 

Porvoo swimming pool

One fantastic option after you’ve pedalled in Porvoo and its outskirts is to pay a visit to Porvoo swimming pool (link in English). It is ideally situated, about 1 km IMG_5247from the city centre and close to a recreational park (Joonaanmäki / Jonasbacken) enjoyed by cross-country skiers and hikers alike. What’s more a youth hostel is situated right in the vicinity of the swimming pool allowing for a  relaxing time after the effort.

The only drawback, so-to-say, is the opening schedule during summer as the pool is closed for maintenance (June 20th – July 27th). One then needs to move to the outdoor facilities around Porvoo (I’ll post about that later) and they are quite a few of them not far away from the city centre.

Whenever I can I usually come and swim twice a week. Honestly I cannot remain away from the swimming pool more than 10 days in a row. Swimming is sooooo good 🙂

For a fee of only 5e for an adult and 3,5e for a child or a retired person, you access various pools including jacuzzi, saunas and hammam. There are also numerous activities, some of which you can practice on your own like water aerobics. As it opens as early as 6.15AM during weektime even in winter you might think that one must be an early bird to come and swim lengths. Mind you, there’s no shortage of visitors to the pool!

Finally there’s a tradition days before Christmas Eve I like to take part in: the swimming pool is lit with just small candles for a few hours. The contrast between the darkness outside and the light from the candles inside makes it just a magical and definitely a must-live experience in Porvoo!

Spring is in the air

Snow has long become one of Finland’s trademarks. And deservingly so!  I love wintertime in Finland despite harsh coldness at times and unendless (or so it seems!) whiteness. IMG_3552I took this picture in the middle of winter last year. I don’t recall how many minuses the thermometer showed then but definitely way below 0*C. And for the last three or four winters in a row the snow would refuse to cease an inch from March 15.

So in March we usually still deal with snow at various levels of either pleasure or disconfort; some would glide on the thick ice on the river or on the slopes nearby as others would freeze their toes and fingers while waiting for the bus.

But all came to an abrupt end a few weeks ago.

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Strangely enough the weather bears little resemblance with what we are accustomed to at this time of year. Spring seems to have invited itself almost without knocking on the seasons’ door. Obviously when I go outside and ride around town these days, I’m not the only one to be amazed by the mild weather conditions.

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I take a glance at the river only to observe thin layers of ice which still seem to cling like a leech to the surface. It’s unlikely they’ll remain for another week.

With the years passing by I wonder if we are to get accustomed to this premature arrival of spring. Unless snow and wintertime decide to play extra-time later in April…

Let’s bike through the “Empire town”

Our certified guide of Finland will take you to the discovery of the “Empire town” of Porvoo. You’ll enjoy biking with Jopo, the traditional Finnish bike. Biking comfortably with Jopo is a funny experience. Along the way you’ll learn about the history of Finland as you stroll along the harbour and into city landscapes from the 19th century.

Tour time: 1 hour

Main attractions

  • Simolin’s building (at present: Bar Paahtimo)
  • Empire-town houses (Eklöf, Lewin’s ancient brewery)
  • The harbour
  • Gymnasium park
  • Runeberg’s house, Finland’s national poet
  • Runeberg’s park

The tour is available from 2 persons and is suitable both for adults and families with children. Children under 7 ride in a trailer.

Tour distance: about 3km

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City parks and the Art Factory

Cycle through three unique city parks. Then head to the brand new Art Factory. Your tour continues through one of Finland’s oldest cemeteries before ending with a beautiful view upon the old town.

Tour time: 1h30

Main attractions:

  • Runeberg’s park
  • Engel’s park
  • Eklöf’s park
  • The Art Factory
  • The 18th-century-old cemetery

This tour is available from 2 persons. This tour is suitable both for adults and families with children.

Tour distance: about 6km

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