Although the weather was not quite as bad as expected, the endless days of glorious sunshine were gone. The forecast was for rain and it did indeed start raining on and off in the afternoon - after I had taken a wonderful swim in a lake. I still did over 90 km before calling it a day in a very forested area. Same procedure as every day. Turn off the road onto a forest road, look for an overgrown trail - but in this case it was a newly sanded track that ended abruptly after 100 metres. Great! This was completely flat albeit hard camping and the sand would absorb the rain perfectly. My timing was perfect. As soon as I had set up camp it started to rain very hard - but I was dry in my tent watching intently if it was completely waterproof. It seemed so.
But of course I woke up to rain. I packed my tent in rain. And when I was just about to leave, a guy in an electric wheelchair and a dog showed up. I don't know how he managed the forest trails but he did - and was very much surprised to find me there. First he asked me something in Finnish, but changed to fluent English. He even invited me to stay at his place next time - which even includes a sauna. A nice prospect with a day of constant rain ahead. The weather proved the forecast right. It rained the whole day turning it into the most miserable day of the whole 3 month trip. My rain jacke was leaking, everything was soaking wet and I was cold. I only had to cycle 60 km to Tampere but it took forever. When I sought refuge under a bus shelter people waiting for the bus showed up! Totally unheard of! I thought bus shelters are for cyclists.....
When I finally made it toTampere I was a bit too early to go to my CS host and therefore I decided to warm up in a museum. The first museum on the way was the workers' museum and although being very interesting it was the complete wrong choice for my purpose: All the building were open air and unheated! Luckily there was a nice and warm cafe were I sat for half an hour drying off and reading the English exhibition translation. Coincidentally I sat next to a large group of German speaking middle aged ladies who were talking about Finland and gave me some nice (and secret) insights as I did not show that I could understand every word they were saying. I learnt from the museum guide that Tampere is an old industrial city - and therefore even has another workers' museum that I would visit next day.
But I was off to my CS host now who greeted me with "Would you like to go into the sauna?". Yes, I liked to indeed and two hours later the world looked much nicer. I had eaten, showered, sauna-ed and my clothes washed. I felt like a new human being and started looking forward to visit Tampere. My host Sanna generously let me use her computer and I could finally plan out and book the rest of this trip in the morning before embarking onto more sightseeing. Sanna had recommended to visit Moomin-Valley, and that did not ring a bell with me. She then patiently explained to me the Moomin world: The Swedish Finnish writer and cartoonist Tove Jannson had invented the fantasy figures for a comic cartoon in 1946 and they became widely popular all over the world. The moomins are round shaped hippopotamus looking figures who live in Moomin valley together with other fantasy creatures and of course stumble from one adventure into the next one. Tampere has a Moomin museum and of course I had to visit it now! I was immediately intrigued by the Moomin world that not only attracts kids but has a deep philosophical meaning underneath it. Unfortunately photography was forbidden in the museum so I can only show the exhibition poster.
|Swimming at the sauna|
My bike trip is coming to an end now. I only have 230 km left to cycle to Helsinki from where I will take the ferry to Germany, the train to Berlin and then embark onto my next adventure. It is about time to leave: The weather is turning bad with more and more rain every day. I would either have to stock up on better rain gear - or go back. But I am not sad about leaving soon: I am pretty sure I will come back to Scandinavia next year....