Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Travel diary - Day 4

On my latest post we arrived at Korppoo on Monday night. It is a small town that has less than 1000 year-round inhabitants but a lot more in the summer. For Tuesday, we had only 30 kilometers’ ride left, which was substantially less than the 150 kilometers we had travelled that day.

Röda huset

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Travel diary - Day 3

The last post ended with me and my sister staying overnight in Laupunen, which is pretty much on the half-way on our journey through the Southwestern archipelago. We are at the northeastern point of the route, and today I shall tell you about the southwards heading road. The day's journey of 150 km (much of it by ferries) was probably the most interesting and anticipated one out of all four days, because it is the furthest away from the continent and we entered the outer archipelago. That is where ships and rope ferries replace bridges and islands get small and distances between them get longer.

The third day, Monday, began with saying goodbyes with our kind hosts. After a couple of kilometers ride it was already time time for the first ferry crossing. It was a big ship called Aurora, and it was the second and the last ferry that cost money on the ring road. The day was half cloudy and rather warm, but the wind in the archipelago is very strong, so we got the chills as soon as we embarked on the ferry. So, if one goes to the archipelago, I recommend to take some warm clothes with them even in the middle of a heat wave.

Sea view from the ferry Aurora

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Painted-on bike symbols in Paris

I've only been in Paris for a week, but gathered more impressions than I can deal with. It's even harder to sum it all up. Paris is many things I love -- stunning, green, multicultural, open, relaxing and (within the last days) also sunny. Despite its size, I walk most of the time or use the metro. Throughout the week I work, but I try to catch hold of some special features that Paris offers. Well, among many other things, Paris is famous for the Mona Lisa in the Louvre. Let's have a look at some other paintings today...

What I particularly like are the cycle paths and bike lanes throughout the town. They are really wide and clearly marked. Some of the bike symbols are boxed in green. Can anybody tell me the meaning of that?

segregated bike lane  bike lane on the road
Segregated two-way cycle path and bike lane in Paris

Thursday, August 19, 2010

To Paris by train

Since beginning of this week I'm in Paris, France. Not for a holiday, but that doesn't matter. I still intend to enjoy it as much as possible :).

I was traveling by train all the way from Vienna, which took me about 12 hours (including a stopover in Frankfurt, Germany). Some might say that this is too long for a train ride and prefer to fly. I love train rides. According to my grandma I already enjoyed my first big train ride without parents at the age of 3 (we moved houses between two towns in Austria). My granny feared that I would start to cry because I would miss my close family, but instead I happily looked outside the window, pointed at sheep and giggled.

IC (Intercity) train of the German railway company DB at Frankfurt train station

Monday, August 16, 2010

Travel diary - Day 2

A week ago I wrote about the beginning of the bicycle journey to the Southwestern Archipelago, and today we shall continue where we left, at the farm of the Taattinens.

After a well slept night, breakfast and some goodbyes me and my twin continued the journey along the northern section of the ring road. The weather was really nice, the sun was shining and it wasn't too hot. We had a quick stop at Merimasku, where we visited a local church. It was old, maybe from the 1700's, but in my opinion it was not quite as awesome as the Seili church. Nearby the church there was a parked German tourist bus that had a carrier for the bikes. Later on we sighted the bus and the Germans often because they followed the same route for the day.

On a scenic bridge

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Travel diary - Day 1 (afternoon)

On the last post I told you about the first day's morning. So, we were traveling by the bad luck ship Linta, and that's where we'll continue today.

Linta makes a stop at the Island of Seili before it continues to its destination to Hanka port. Susanna was eager to see the island, so we took a couple of hours stop there. I have been on Seili before: it has been the location of a marine research center of my university since the 60's. I was there once for a field course, so I knew my way around. The island has a controversial history as an island of no return and for its booze-colored history. There has been people living and agricultural activity since the 1500's, and in the 1600's it became a hospital island for the leprosy patients. Basically, if you went in, you never got out again. In Seili the patients made moonshine to get some extra income, for the living conditions weren't exactly comparable to modern hospitals. In 1785 the last leprosy patient on the island died of old age (!). In the same year an asylum was founded on the island, and in 1889 it became an asylum for women only. That's why the grave yard of the island has only tombstones with women's names on them. The asylum functioned until the 60's when the island became a university island.

Seili, the island of no return

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Travel diary - Day 1 (morning)

As you may remember, I've been dreaming of taking a cycling holiday in the Southwestern Archipelago for a while now. I asked my twin sister, Susanna, to come with me. Actually, she was very eager to come, and she enjoys organizing things, so she made the travel time table and reserved accommodation and bikes. We decided to have a 4-day holiday with 3 overnights and make it as cheap as possible without being uncomfortable or losing essential parts of the experience. Altogether, the nights, bikes and ferries cost us 175 euros each.

My twin, Susanna.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Minor differences

I found this comic today, and well, I think there is some truth to it.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Florence-Tortosa: a trip on a bike prototype

Two weekends ago I was in the wonderful Renaissance fair of Tortosa. During the 16th century, this city in the South of Catalonia was a flourishing city as it was located in a strategic place in the Aragonese crown, just on the way of the three important cities at the time: Barcelona, Valencia and Zaragoza.

During this Renaissance fair, many activities related to this time are held. One of these activities is always an open air exhibition about some topic related to Medieval and Renaissance times. This year it was related to Leonardo's prototypes and surely, there was this: