“Under grey skies” (Easter bicycle trip from Turku to Pori, part 2)

Day 3, Rauma – Pori

This night was not warmer than the previous one. When I went to wash my face in the morning, there was thin, almost invisible, ice on the lake.

The morning was nevertheless sunny and this influenced to the overall feeling. I felt myself happy and eager to discover new places.

Olkiluoto nuclear power plant is situated quite close to Rauma and its proximity can be felt while crossing numerous high voltage lines. The power plant has already 2 nuclear reactors in operation and another one is under construction. What an immense mistake!

According to the latest surveys, Finland is #1 country for bicycle tourism and the fourth for everyday cycling. While I can agree with latter statement, there are many doubts about the former. This is an average bicycle route sign in Finland – small, tattered and barely visible.

I would like to see a boom of cycling tourism in Finland, but I’m afraid at the same time than it will not happen anytime soon. There are too many “real” sources of revenue (which isn’t a bad thing by itself, of course :) It seems that only poorer countries really understand the value of every single tourist and his unique needs.

It was a relief to see other non-motorized people :)

And some colors finally!

Yes, that white thing is snow.

I saw a sign saying “Fortress” on the road and decided to take a small detour. In this place the Liinmaa fortress was located. Not much left from it, but with the help of informational stands and own imagination I was successfully carried away to the 14th century.

This field was on the sea bottom only 700 years ago.

After the history lesson it’s time to hit the road again.

It was strange for me to encounter such kind of views during the trip. I always had an impression that Finnish villages, cities, buildings and public places are quite tidy. Maybe it’s an impression, based on Greater Helsinki area and some selected towns like Porvoo, Imatra, Hanko? Why then there are more non-tidy places in other parts of the country? Is it related only to the income difference or there is a gap between people’s perception in different regions? I haven’t find an answer yet.

But one thing I know for sure – two major retail chains together with auto lobby killed hundreds of local shops, bakeries and cafés. Signs on the window say “Local shop”. It doesn’t exist anymore.

Soon I arrived in Luvia, where this beautiful art-noveau church is located.

Some people ask me why I ride mountain bike instead of hybrid, cyclocross, road bike etc. Well, that’s the answer – I want to feel myself comfortable on such type of roads as well.

Skies are gray again, but I roll happily after the lunch (pizza of course, no other options). Soon I see suburbs of Pori. Not exactly the type of I like – I call them “Finnish-American dream”.

This is much better! A boulevard. Pori is not a city in any way, it’s just a small town, but it has a couple of really nice boulevards. They are so good that they would suit any bigger city as well.

They want me to perform this figure just to cross the street? WTF?!?

Another boulevard.

Pedestrian (meant to be) street in Pori.

I went to the train station to leave excess luggage and enjoy the charm of a small provincial station. It’s a pity however that there are so little trains from Pori.

Pori Cycle Chic(R). There are many young people in Pori and even some night life. I felt myself quite comfortable however, rambling through the streets. As everywhere in Finland, it was safe to walk alone in the night.

And a good piece of constructivism!

Both buildings are schools and they were built only 6 years one after another. But what a huge difference in outlook!

This just made me feel good. The words are: luck, love, happiness, unity, peace, hope, belief, live, forgiveness, truth, growth.

We were on the verge of parliamentary elections at that time and I stopped to look at candidates. Who are those people who will probably lead the country for the next 4 years? Do I trust them?

It seems that Left Party is actively using environmental friendliness (notice train, tram, wind power plant and bicycle). Perhaps this is the reason why there is an offensive expression “red-green bubble”. Some people say that I also live in this bubble, being against cars, but it’s only partially true. I don’t agree with reds in many economical issues and I am not a “duunari” (a Finnish slang word for worker, who is thought to be the main supporter of Left Party).

I don’t know much about Cristian-Democrats, but I wouldn’t vote them anyway because of Päivi Räsänen, former Minister of the Interior. She is against of, amongst others, cohabitation, same-sex marriages, feminism, abortion.

One other thing attracted my attention in this poster. It’s interesting to see how a regular person can participate in elections. The man under #42 is just a bus driver and a younger candidate under #47 is a theology student. From one point of view, I really appreciate the possibility to elect and to be elected for everybody. But from the other point of view, we all know from the history how catastrophic could be the rule of uneducated or/and unexperienced people. Where is the golden mean in this case? Who knows…

Kokoomus is said to be a party of rich people. I am not poor and not rich, but I don’t like Kokoomus because they constantly commit sabotage against any attempts to make cities more liveable. Their policy seems to be “yes, we agree that there is a need for better pedestrian/bicycle infrastructure, but we’ll approve only such projects that don’t cause any slowing down of motor traffic”.

And the dialectic of candidates again: #99 is a student and #100 is a rector. So different people, but same party and the same (in principle) opportunities to be elected.

Greens seem to be the most reasonable party, even if I don’t agree with them in some things. The main one is that they are too diplomatic and I would even say too weak. Sometimes there is a need for sharp “no” and not only when somebody starts to build a new nuclear power plant.

But anyway, Greens are far more progressive than “traditional” parties and don’t spread populistic bullshit against EU and foreigners like some other parties, whose posters I don’t even want to publish in my blog.

Let’s stop talking about politics and stroll through Pori’s streets and embankments.

2.5 degrees Celsius. In April. Now you understand why people from the North are eager to swim on their vacation somewhere in the South even in December? :)

I don’t know what is this for, but a little boy inside me was ready to walk, balancing on it :)

Day distance: 58 km + walking around Pori.

Day 4, Pori – Yyteri – Pori

Pori is located not far from the sea. I noticed that there is a promising-looking peninsula some 20 km from the town, with sand beaches and small village at the end of the world.

There are two bicycle roads on peninsula – along the highway and through the villages. I recommend the latter one, even if it’s a little bit longer.

I reached the very end of the peninsula. There is a bridge to Reposaari island, but it’s a part of highway and it doesn’t look very attractive. The atmosphere of this place is quite fascinating, so I don’t regret about my decision.

Uniluoto village.

Sea and wind are everywhere around. They can’t go unnoticed. Even the average bar is not just a bar here, it bears the name of “Wave Breaker”.

What can be better than riding on the edge between water and sand? When I’ll have a fatbike, I’ll come here once again :)

And in this place cycling is forbidden (the whole area is a nature reserve), but I would like to come here by foot! The place’s name is Yyteri and it has many sand dunes like this one in the picture. A little away there are also quite a few hotels, campings etc. I believe that this is a hot destination during summer.

I didn’t have much time left until the train and cycled back along the highway. Needless to say that bicycle road is boring there, but one other thing surprised me. Where these cars are coming from? The peninsula has only a few villages and some industries, but they just can’t generate so huge amount of cars. Well, it seems that they can, if nobody thinks of prioritizing sustainable transportation over private motor vehicles.

I hope this will change sometimes and even “traditional industrial towns” like Pori will change their face. Then it will be time for another bicycle trip, maybe this time in the opposite direction, from Pori to Turku? We’ll see and hope for the best.

Day distance: 63,8 km.

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