Sunday, 1 August 2010

The Scandinavian Expedition 2010 - Diary Day 32

Kuopio.
August 1st, half of my holiday is over. So far I've had a marvellous time and despite some difficulties every now and then, it's been a hell of a trip! Now the beautiful town of Kuopio.

Eventful holiday and longest July ever
One thing is worth mentioning - this was by far the longest July of my life. Of course, it had 31 days as always, but for me it was so eventful, I've done so many different things, visited so many different places and met so many different people that under normal circumstances it would take me a year to do the same. In one month I visited three countries, travelled a bazillion kilometres in each one of them, and although I moved at my own pace, without rushing or feeling under pressure in any way, I have never stayed in one place for more than two days. As a result of so much travel squeezed in such a short time, it really feels so long.


Click for full photo gallery.


The many different experiences make it seem as if I had been admiring the Norwegian fjords, hiking on the Swedish coast or visiting Fred in Trondheim a year ago, instead of just a few weeks back. To be honest, I was almost relieved when August came, because July seemed to never end. Even if half of my holiday is now gone, I'm having the time of my life. Let the remaining half be equally awesome, if not better!


Thought from Kuopio - can you be in love with a city?
Thank you for your patience while reading my personal thoughts about the length of July 2010. I shall now pass to my personal thoughts about my day in Kuopio, the city where I spent my first August day. After re-reading this post I realized there is no factual information at all, just my personal thoughts. I don't want to make it longer than it already is, so watch the pictures, it's better. Kuopio Nature Museum has a real Mammoth in natural size. One of the only four pieces in the world!


Kuopio is an amazing and absoluely lovely city! So different from Kuhmo. If you ask me where I'd like to live if I could choose, I'd most likely say Kuopio. I really, really loved that place. With its 100k population it's the ideal balance between a small provincial town and a metropolis. It has all the commodities of a big city, but it's as quiet and relaxed as a small village. Plus, Kupio appeals to the eye with its pleasantly designed centre, not too big for crossing it on foot and not small enough to see inside your neighbour's bedroom. Outside the centre everything is nice and tidy, and even the cemetery is a pleasant place to sit down and chill out, so to speak. Yet, despite being a relatively small city, I walked around the whole day and kept discovering new things all the time.

Fins drive good cars. Check the plate number.
Kuopio whereabouts
There are no hills, so travelling by bike is real easy, there are plenty of places to go out at night or to get a beer for lunch, the nature is just out of town and never hard to reach, with plentiful forests and lakes all around the area. Ah, and when it comes to people, they seem very nice and relaxed, with so many young ones everywhere. And the girls...

Kuopio Tower - 75m of panorama



You probably understand by know that I did like Kuopio. I would say it was love at first sight. When I arrived the previous night, I didn't have that feeling of unease I usually get when I enter a new city for the first time. Instead, I felt really at home among the 2-3, max. 4-storey buildings and spacious streets. When I left the camping site and entered the city in the morning, I felt as if I belonged there. Last time I felt like this was in Sydney. I also felt at home there.

Rain Gun - no, it's not from Quake 3.

I believe with cities it's the same like with people. Either love at first sight or hate at first sight. A few weeks earlier, when I entered Alesund in Norway, I was immediately grumpy, frustrated and not feeling at ease. Although the feelings had faded a bit later on, it was a perfect example of city dislike at first sight.

Jé, vy mluvíte česky
In the afternoon I met a Czech family near the panoramic tower in Kuopio. That was a very nice addition to the already pleasant day. They offered me lunch in their caravan and I was glad to have the opportunity for some mother-tongue chatter. Since we were headed in opposite directions, we could share useful tips about places we've visited before.


Lone traveller
The only disappointment was that alone I couldn't really enjoy the social aspect of Kuopio. That's the downside of hitchhiking alone - it's awesome in the wilderness, but when you get to a city, it's sort of boring. Since there was no point in staying another night on my own, I started heading for the highway in the evening and I must admit it was quite a hard walk, with the bag, the heat and the nearest crossing several miles away. Finding a good thumbing spot wasn't easy, either, due to the elevated highway where I couldn't go. I could only stand in the sharp bend at the beginning of the ramp, and it might have been a nightmare, but luckily enough I was aboard a van within five minutes.

I really enjoyed this day and have very nice memories of my August 1st, 2010.


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