03-Aug-2002 -- This confluence point seemed to be relatively easy to reach, although on the map it was situated in the lake not very far from the shore. We were ready to swim. It had been a splendid summer and water was warm enough. You only have to keep the GPS and the camera out of water.
But swimming was not needed. First we found a narrow dirt road going to the shore. There was a summer cottage - as we presumed. It is always a little embarrassing to approach a summer cottage, because people are often suspicious and frightened of unexpected visitors. But now we had a good reason to disturb.
Martti and Liisa Laamanen seemed to be delighted of visitors. They spend every year five - six months in their tiny cottage. Both are retired teachers who worked for 24 years in Riihijärvi, a small village close to the Russian border about 10 km east from their cottage. This is Finnish Frontier. In the 1950's and 1960's there were plenty of big families and poverty. Life was hard and winters were freezing cold. "We heard wolves howling."
Now it is different: winters are still freezing but people are gone, villages are almost deserted and the schools closed. The Laamanens spend their winters in southern Finland and come back early in spring. They grow their own potatoes and vegetables, pick berries and fish. When it gets too cold in autumn they return to the south. This is the way they can live in this part of the country.
The Laamanens permitted us to borrow their boat. Happily we didn't swim because the confluence seemed to be a little farther than we expected, although there was a little islet about half-way.
It seems to be common in Finland that the confluence point lies in a lake - but there is always a summer cottage and always a boat.