Saturday, February 24, 2018

Pyhäjoki Literally holy river (read Holy Cow!!)



Here we are again with the tours through the deepest of the Finnish culture, not this you learn by the travel agencies, not that part they want to show, but the real one. This is the side of a big part of their culture.
We might call it the joys of the loneliness
I would never call it grumpiness, because Finns are notoriously welcoming people, but they appreciate their privacy.
So, last week we were in Raahe, where we met the musketeer statue (the statue of the founder of the city). If we drive for other 20 km south, we reach the two communities of Siikajärvi (Literally Lavaret lake) and Pyhäjoki (Literally Holy River).
One thing to be noticed is that the name of many of the towns are very practical and tells exactly the reason why people decided to settle in the area.
This time I will tell you something about the town where I am forced to stay for the next five months; Pyhäjoki. A sleepy town in the middle of nothing with just 3 199 inhabitants with a density of 5,9 inhabitants per square kilometer.
Once again, the need of the people to have no neighbors on sight or having them at a due distance. The only exception is made by the center where the life is bustling.
One thing that surprised me was that for only 3199 inhabitants you have at least four grocery shops (and they are not even small ones) in my opinion two would have been enough, considering that the real place where people go for big shopping is Raahe.
Regardless this, the place is an oasis of peace, immersed in the nature. If it werent for the harsh winter weather and temperatures (reaching easily the -30 C), I would have considered to move there on a steady basis.
The town itself, looks like coming from a fairy tale,
yes this is the main part of the town, the center, where the life seem to bustle, and you cannot have some privacy.


What am I doing there? You will ask.
Well the place is going to be expanded by the construction of a new power plant. The people do not seem to have bad feelings about it, and particularly the business owner hope that this will revive their businesses.
I am there working to the preliminary investigations.
Enough with what I am doing there lets continue the tour of this lovely town, which has its beauties even though it is not a city and does not have all the sort of entertainments many people think they need. 
This is the center of the town, where the main shops are.

Yet, I know what you are asking, where are the people?
I was asking myself the same question. However, despite a couple of youngsters that passed by, I haven't seen anybody during my stay there so far. If you go in the grocery shop, you might find a couple of people, but on the streets, it is quite difficult.
I do not think it is mainly related with the freezing temperatures, mainly on the fact that to gather 3199 people in the same place might be challenging.
So two or three people walking on the street is the most you can expect during a stroll around the town.

And this, ladies and gentlemen is the river, the Holy River that gives the name to the town. I know it is totally frozen and covered by a thick level of snow, which we all hope it will melt totally in April, when the winter will give space to the Spring, and hopefully to the Summer too.
With this I give you appointment for the next week and see what the Wandering Writer has in it for you, guys.
STAY TUNED!!



Saturday, February 17, 2018

Lost in the middle of nothing, but yet in an historical site. The Wandering Writer



Like I promised last week, from Oulu, the bustling city in the northern Finland, we are driving a bit south, where I am stuck pretty out of my real will.
Something like 80 km south, after having encountered a few sparse houses of those people who do not want to have anything to do with any neighbor, we reach Raahe, one of the 10 historic wooden towns left in the whole Finland.
The town counts something like 25000 inhabitants and you can consider it the bustling city of the surrounding area, the place where people around go for the big shopping or to have something more to do during the weekends.
For me it has become the hub to experience some life. Coming from the capital, where it is difficult to feel alone, this was a dramatic change as I rarely meet anyone for the whole five days a week I am spending in my working place.
Surprisingly, the population is made up for the 67% of people aged between 15-66 years old, the 19% is under 15 years old and the rest is over 64 years old. Meaning that the town is not really a dying one, and despite its remote location, people enjoy the quiet and peacefulness of the location. We can also say that this is the final proof of how Finns love to live in small communities and how do they value the silence and privacy.
Indeed, the new part of the town doesnt miss anything, and people can find everything they need together with a rather cozy environment. Tourists can find hotels where to stay if they want to have a taste of the real, traditional Finnish lifestyle (not just the one proposed by the tourist agencies).


I bet during the summer, when you can have a nice walk on the beach, the town looks very attractive, for the winter season the harbor is the only thing that works on the seaside.
In the main square I came across a strange statue, and people might wonder about who that musketeer might be (LOL!!).
I mean this one:


In the main square I came across a strange statue, and people might wonder about who that musketeer might be (LOL).
This gentleman, (who looks like D'Artagnan), is the founder of the city the count Per Brahe the Younger, who was a Swedish statesman, soldier and author.
People, however call the statue with the friendly name of Pekka statue, as they feel it more comfortable to give a nickname to feel that figure more familiar and close to their everyday lives.
The main square, where the statue is located is somewhat the main heart of the old town, a place who is romantically decadent in the eyes of the beholder.
and the houses might need a bit more love, care, and maintenance


 However, the lack of maintenance in the outside part of the buildings comes with very strict requirements on how to renew the facades of historical sites, and perhaps people do not care about the outside when the inside is comfortable enough.
The original outer border is delimited by the old church, another little jewel that I consider visit again in Spring and Summer.
That is the "Holy Trinity Church" designed by Josef Stenbäck, it is way younger than the rest of the original town, but it is considered anyway part of the heritage architecture.
I have personally very mixed feelings about this town. From one side, I love the sense of peace and the calm it inspires me with its decadent look. It is a great source of inspiration as it forces me to go deeper into thoughts that generally are just passing by through my mind, and almost pass by undetected. In this town they are the only ones I have and make me think about my life, my destinations and my goals. It is a way to think about what is really important in life.
On the other side, I miss home and the fact of having the comfort of people surrounding me. The feeling that I haven't been left alone in this world.
Love you all!
Stay tuned until next week, when we will go in the deepest of the nothingness!!

Are we really happy?

This is a post about the myth behind the happiest country in the world: Finland. Once again, Finland has been declared the happiest country ...