A trip to Lapland

Went to Rovaniemi, Finland on July 2, 2008

I was in Rovaniemi last weekend where I participated in a half-marathon. The distance between Tampere and Rovaniemi is quite large. It takes an overnight trip to get there by train. It was fun to travel in a Finnish train. Each compartment has only one stack of three beds. The lowest bed is probably the least convenient as it is impossible to sit straight on it, you have to lie all the time. Also, each compartment has a unique key just like a hotel room. You pick up the key when you enter your compartment. Otherwise, you have to ask the attendant to open the door.

Rovaniemi is situated on the banks of the biggest Finnish river Kemi. Surprisingly, both banks are not tall. There are a number of tourist attractions there. A bridge has unique style with ropes going from its center to the banks of the river. Lordi Square is in the center of the city. It was renamed to its present name quite recently after Finnish groupтАЩs success at Eurovision.

There are a number of Alvar Aalto buildings in Rovaniemi. Notably, a library has an unusual architecture as many AaltoтАЩs buildings but this one is quite easy to interpret. Pablo Picasso was saying that there is no abstract art. What appears abstract is just the result of elaborating an idea after all traces were removed. In RovaniemiтАЩs library the traces were not removed. The library is comprised of a number of blocks or units. Each block looks like a container. It has a glass roof which makes it look very much like a plastic kitchenware. Obviously, each block stores a number of books, probably belonging to a different area of study. Now think of Knol or unit of knowledge, an encyclopedia project that Google has started.

When I was leaving Rovaniemi the train was found broken so we had to wait approximately an hour. Because of that I missed a connection in Oulu, thus I had to wait an hour for the next train. During this time I walked in the city center and saw lots of interesting buildings. They are like palaces but obviously, kings never lived in Oulu.

The train from Oulu to Tampere was doing its best because there was European soccer final played at the same time. It was running at 200 km/h speed. Typically, trains here run at 160 km/h.

I am in Rovaniemi, a town at Arctic Circle. A Santa Claus marathon is taking place here today. I am in a half-marathon race which starts at 8PM. After the finish we will enjoy midnight sun which never sets down here in June and July.

The weather here is quite warm, around 15 centigrade but it feels even warmer because the sun shines all the time. The course of the half marathon goes 5km downhill in the beginning starting from Santa Claus Village outside of Rovaniemi. There is one steep climb at 15km point, other than that the course goes quite flat until its finish in the center of the city тАУ Lordi Square.

I have arrived to Rovaniemi early in the morning today on an overnight train from Tampere. After checking in at marathon┬┤s office and at the hotel I went to explore the town a little bit. Its main attraction within the town┬┤s limits is a bridge. Also, while trying to get juice in a supermarket I went to a nearby Elisa shop where I found a beautiful gadget тАУ ASUS Eee PC laptop that I was going to order online because I could not find it in stores. I decided immediately to acquire it for as low as 300 Euros. I am now blogging using free wireless from hotel┬┤s lobby. The setup of the laptop running a version of Linux was absolutely straightforward. Great gadget!

And yeah, today is my birthday. We had a party with friends a few days ago but today I am far away from Tampere. Nevertheless, I am having lots of fun and lets see how it goes on the half-marathon!