03-Feb-2001 -- The reading on temp meter was -23 Celsius (about -9 F) on
beautiful saturday morning,
when me and my co-adventurer Olli headed out towards N61 E25. The winter
here in southern
Finland had been exceptionally warm so far, so you can imagine our
amazement, although we had
prepared well and were not caught off-guard (unlike the semi-frozen ATM
around the corner where I live,
which refused to return my bank card after I withdrew some money to fund the
"This might turn out to be an interesting day!", I thought to
myself - and like we found out,
the ATM incident was just the beginning. Soon after we had left Helsinki
behind us, it became apparent
that the car needed re-fuelling soon. We did pass several gas stations, but
decided that the amount we
had would be enough to reach Tuuliharja, a truckstop not too far from Lahti.
A bit of additional excitement!
I casually joked that if Tuuliharja would be closed, we'd have problems.
Well... surprise, surprise... IT WAS!
So, we ran out of gas - what a silly thing to happen. Luckily there was a
lot of traffic, so we hitched
a ride to next gas station and back, bought some gas and after a short time
we were back on track.
As the confluence spot came closer and closer, the roads kept going
smaller and narrower. Navigating
to target area was surprisingly easy for a firstimers like us! GPS, wonders
of modern science. About
800m from the confluence we parked the car in courtyard of nearby farm.
After explaining our mission to
the farmer's wife, she instantly asked: "This is not one of those EU
things, is it?" (the
European Union and its agricultural legislation is like a red cloth to most
Finnish farmers). We told
her that we would pose no threat to her and her daily routines, all we
needed to do was take some pictures
and then we would be on our way.
Getting to actual confluence site wasn't hard (well, it included some
desperate attempts to avoid
deep ditches covered with snow), it situated 440 metres off the nearest
road, in a corner of a
farmfield. Due to the temperature and chilling wind, our visit was quite
brief. Let the pictures
speak for themselves! A typical Finnish countryside view in wintertime, but
next confluence we bag will
hopefully be more pittoresque.
-- Olli-Pekka Savela