Lake at the Finnish border
When we came from the train at the Border Finnish station Vaikikkala, it was hollowed in the morning. Rawed enough enough to evaluate the weather on the day: the sky is low, gray, around everything melts. In Moscow, probably already removed and dirt. But then in Moscow.
Finnish winter, due to the proximity to Russia, is not particularly different from the Russian: everything freezes – and there frost, in St. Petersburg melts – and in Karelia flows. I mean South Karelia, the one that abroad. Everything seems to look like – but looks different. Highway Even in this weather from an early morning out of the early morning, the forest is flat, competently shredded and before indecently neat, the air, albeit a few kilometers from our border – clean, the snow – blinds.
The minibus, in the meantime, has long turned from the main highway, brilliant from the melting snow, for a non-cleared still country road. A few minutes and we have a goal. In front of the eyes there was a giant Lake Saimaa – the fourth largest lake of Europe.
It is all divided on the sleeves, big and not very, the coast is cut, the cities are thriving on the shores of Saimaa – according to our concepts, maybe not so significant, but it is exactly the city – with the authentic Finnish architecture, accurate, with clean lines, harmoniously inscribed in Lake landscape, with hotels, municipal buildings, shops.
And in the lake – apparently invisible fish. Our guide-fisherman is a good-natured chunky gentleman, in pants with bubbles, a curly beard and a hat A la Gnome – on my ignorant question, can it happen that I don’t understand decent fish at all, I smiled at all and shouted my head. It is not unreal.
In the Siemena waters, so much salmon, trout, ripples and redfires, that you can not have anything. Fish is allowed to catch not only on gloss, but also – attention! – network, which you definitely do not meet anywhere else. And the license for fishing, very inexpensive, limits the fisherman only in time – all the caught fish, no matter how much it is, the catcher remains. In the nearest restaurant it will be prepared – salting, they will be swallowed – and will go to the road. During the night, the path with the product will not happen, but at home not one week you can enjoy the delicious tastes and flavors of Finnish fish cuisine.
On ice with a motor
Fishing – Not the main winter entertainment. Coldly. Yes, and the ice should not be rejected by holes – on it in the winter ride. The vehicle on which the frozen lake is moved is called motorcycle systems (snowmobile, snowmobile) – an analogue of a motorcycle supplied for.
The highest pilot is considered to ride in the forest somewhere in Saimanrant or Mikkeli. Necessarily on a rabid speed, when the main thing is to dodge trees on time, which is a lot (forest), and quickly act in turns not to turn over. I, a person from motorities infinitely distant and in life did not keep the steering wheel, with the exception of cycling, and then in the seventh grade, in the forest it did not risk the wheel behind the wheel.
But on the lake everything is easier. Taking a snowdrift from the go and remaining alive, I appreciated that it is more convenient and safer transport. After the listened course of the theory and the first meters of the way, the main thing was to assimilate that "gas" – to the right, and the brake is on the left (although it is confused, rushing on the lake alone – not scary), and, if possible, abide by the twenty-meter distance between the sleigh. And now: at the plus temperature, it is better to move quickly, the flight is fleeting. Otherwise, the driver will comprehend the sad fate of Teutonic knights in the Ice Bare. There is an ordinary (as I explained) Motorcycle rule: more speed – less pits.
Pleasure cost this little risk. We flew on the darkest in the rays of the setting ice, illuminated by the headlights of the sled and rare lanterns on the shore. There were rare transparent trees around again, and a stratified multicolor sky above us became even lower, moving from silver into yellow-gray, then in the pink and finally in the dark purple.
Almost completely dark when we got to the fire where we were waiting for us. Useful tradition: to stay halfway, to reinforce the sausage, fried in the fire, to warm up with something hot (it is hot, and not a hot-and-moving – the motorcy off with sober), and then, with updated forces, again – behind the wheel.
Dacha in Finnish and other pleasures
Going to rest in Finland, keep in mind: traditional hotels, with all their impeccable service, have a significant drawback – all of them in cities. And to relax and even for a while feel like a part of nature, it is necessary among this nature and live.
Excellent Finnish cottages stand in the forest, on the shore of Saimaa, to make the door – and on skis. Or on the same snowmobile. Inside there is everything that stacked in the idea of a good life: bedrooms, living rooms, sometimes sleeping attic, equipped kitchen, toilet with bathroom, fireplace and firewood. And in almost all houses – saunas. If you think about it, in the most close sauna, there will be enough space for medium-sized company.
When it is tired of the food extracted in the lake or the nearest supermarket, you can make a breakdown in the city and consume some of the benefits of civilization. For example, look into the restaurant.
In the city of Savonlinna, I highly recommend the hotel restaurant "Casino". And because it is beautiful (the interior is decorated with funeral, German work, the buffet of the last century and fitting exquisite chandeliers), and most importantly, because delicious. Judge for yourself: Unlined Dishes A La Carte includes, among other things, a bull fillet, cooked in a brandy sauce, a cesar with wild rice and sauce "Calticvados" and roasted trout – with "Green" oysters and tomato sauce with white wine. And in the wines map among many delicacies there was a good place – and therefore rare – "Beaujolai" Sample 1994.
About history and culture
Hotel "Casino", Of course, not the only sight of Savonlinna. The trading place formed near the ancient Swedish castle of Olavinlinna (or Olavsborg) received the status of the city back in 1639. Today there are about 30.000 people, although the area of the city, including part of the lake, would be enough for Moscow.
The castle periodically passed from the Swedes to the Russians and back, completed and restored and today looks quite prosperous. In his yard, an international opera festival is held annually within a month, one of the two or three most prestigious in Europe. One festival week is always given to the invited theater. Last season, such a major guest was our Marinka, in July 98th they will "Covent Garden".
And on the castle still twists the shade of a girl who lived here a couple of hundred years ago. According to the legend, the beauty-daughter of the Swedish commandant of the fortress fell in love with the Russian soldier and let him down in his dwelling. And he take and open the gate to his. The devotee in love took the blame on himself. Ordinary sad story.
The approval of the cute young lady’s guide that the soldier is a traitor, controversial. But dad, who closed his daughter alive in punishment, certainly finished monster.
Today, all these are quite historical characters – no more than memories who do not interfere with us to enjoy life. By the way, the main hall of the castle is leased – under wedding celebrations or anniversaries. Total 600 Finnish brands ($ 120) – and your lounge.
Imatra, perhaps, one of the few Finnish names familiar to many Russian since childhood. Once Catherine II ordered to build here on the shore of the largest plain waterfall, hotel. Imatra was considered a secular resort, to him from St. Petersburg daily trains, and not ride there meant to retard from fashion.
Ekaterininskaya hotel, repeatedly rebuilt, the current appearance – a charming building in the style of Modern – acquired at the beginning of this century and today serves as an ornament of the city. But the waterfall under it is now artificial. Due to the dam, the Vuoksus river turned back, and the waterfall decoration is turned on in the morning and turn off in the evening as "Samson" in Peterhof. For tourists.
And around the same adorable country houses, a lake, fish, skiing with sleigh, and in summer – golf or horse riding. The traditions of the old Russian resort must be saved. Moreover, from all the Finnish resorts of Imatra is the closer to Russia. To the border – seven and a half kilometers, and to Peter – 260.
At the end of June, Imatra will be filled with music lovers and musicians, hurrying to Imatra Big Band Festival. Jazz will sound over the water, copper sounds will be scattered in the air and settle on trees, universal education will begin on the streets.