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Seen from the hill

Riding from one hill (Linnamäki) to the other (Näsinmäki) while overlooking the old town!
Even if the ascent is not that long, it is quite steep, enough to start sweating 😉 But it’s all worth it! Then you step out of the bike and contemplate the scenery. Getting people up here to stare at the urban landscape in full silence for minutes weighs gold to me.
Not a sound from here, just the whistle of the wind in the pinetrees…

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The lunchplace Honkala revealed itself an ideal stop by then. Fortunately, it is located on the same hill. On the menu house-baked herring with mashed potatoes. Yammi! It got me revigorated 😉 The interior was also quiet, nicely furnished with pictures on the walls and objects from the old days on the shelves. It all made me feel like I was in a familiar place despite being there for the first time.

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Then I went down the path on my right and ended up to a viewpoint where Albert Edelfelt came to portray Porvoo’s uniqueness in the late 1800’s. He is one of Finland’s foremost artist who was the first Finn to be recognized internationally in his field. And he had a tremendous influence on Finnish society for years to come thanks to his drawings for Johan Ludvig Runeberg’s epic poem The tales of Enseign Stål.

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Credit picture: https://www.finna.fin

That view has barely changed 116 years after Edelfelt immortalized it.

One of the blogger I have come to appreciate for her high-quality pictures is Milla from Porvoo. She’s previously written a post here about that place many of her fellow citizens but also foreigners do love.

Do you, dear reader, also have a favourite place near your home you wander to when you want / need to find peace or just relax? What’s then special about it?

Linnamäki, the place where it all starts again

Catching glimpses of Porvoo with a camera has to be a blogger’s favourite pastime. And rightfully! Strolling around on the cobblestones or wandering in the centuries-old pinewoods in the vicinity of the old town has an amazing soothing effect.

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Last Monday I went for a biking tour in the surrounding woods of Castle Hill (Linnamäki). By the way not to be confused with Castle Black, for those of you out there reading and watching GoT 😉 Going up and down with a mountain bike is a nice way to work out in open air and enjoy the panorama at the same time. After those years I’ve lived here I like to re-discover the city in spring; there a strange yet familiar beauty about Porvoo which never ceases to surprise me.

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The word Linnamäki has actually given its name to the city of Porvoo, as it suggests a place where people from abroad mainly from the Baltic countries, Sweden and Germany came to trade with the people living north of the river in the early medieval times. This castle was ideally built at the junction of the sea and the river. The name of the town itself in Swedish, called “Borgå”, reflects that particularity. In Swedish the words “Borg”(= castle) and “Å” (= river) were combined to designate that place of trade.

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A good deal has been written and said about the history of Porvoo. Just go here to read a short English version. Or you may want to purchase “The Book” compiling files and facts about cities of Porvoo and neighbouring towns Loviisa and Lapinjärvi. Interestingly “The Book” features the three languages at the same time.
So while reading a part of the 324 pages, even though you concentrate on the English text, you may get your attention brought to the Finnish or Swedish version telling the same story on the same page. Maybe that could explain why the book was well received from the general public and the press alike.
It stands on a good place in my shelf in any case! Here you can read about “The Book”.

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Today Castle Hill is a recreational park and a natural area part of the Porvoo urban national park. On the May Day many Porvoo citizens enjoy celebrating Vappu (in Finnish), Valborg (in Swedish). Families with kids enjoy picnic with a traditional glass of sima, special lemonade from lemons, brown sugar, and yeast. It is accompanied with tippaleipä (in Finnish) or struva (in Swedish), these are doughnuts and a crisp pastry fried in oil made from a similar, more liquid dough. (Wikipedia) As a Belgian fond of pastries and chocolate, I have adopted this pretty delicious patry, still not to the point of baking it, but rather buying it 🙂

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Credit photo: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e3/Sima_and_tippaleip%C3%A4.jpg

What about you? How do you celebrate May Day in your country or town? Do you also enjoy particular food on that day?

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