Finland: one day in Kouvola
Small Finnish cities are unlikely to amaze tourists with ancient architecture, many attractions or a huge number of memorable places and entertainment centers. Rather, they will be remembered for calm, sluggishness with notes of sadness and in such places in which it seems that time has stood still for a moment.
There is such a place, or rather a whole block, in the city of Kouvola, where I now live. It is worth moving a few hundred meters from the railway station, crossing the road and you are not in the 21st century, but at 20. Here you can still feel the breath of the past, and time froze in the windows of wooden houses, cozy courtyards and craft workshops.
Kaunisnurmi is a museum quarter that was founded in the 1900s for railway families, mainly for train drivers and their families. And the city of Kouvola itself was founded in 1875 to service the first railway line connecting Russia and Finland. In connection with the development of rail transportation, there was also a need for a workforce that would live near the station. Therefore, this quarter is directly related to the history of the city.
In addition to the lovely, lovingly restored wooden houses, today in the quarter there are workshops of artisans and artists, shops, as well as the Nygren House, the Poikilo Art Museum, the Orthodox Center, the Museum of Local Lore, the Radio Museum and the Pharmacy Museum, telling about the history of the city.
Every year, a craft fair, craft workshops, seasonal markets are held in Kaunisnurmi. You can not only buy products of artisans, but also see with your own eyes how ceramic pots are made, or see how furniture and utensils are restored. In all the courtyards you can peek, take pictures or just sit and enjoy the silence. Families still live in these workshop houses.
There is also one small but very cozy cafe-shop “Onnenkukko”, which was equipped in one of the old wooden houses. His mistress herself brews delicious coffee and bakes traditional pies and rolls. In one part of the room you can enjoy coffee and sweets, in the other – buy souvenirs and handmade products. Here, by the way, you can often find works of famous Finnish artists: from postcards and notebooks to paintings.
If you don’t like these sights, go explore Finland’s real wealth – nature. 30 km from Kouvola there is the Repovesi National Park – one of the most popular and insanely beautiful places in the region.
But if there is no time for such long walks, and you want to take a walk through the forest, go to the Nieivermyaki Nature Reserve, which is located near the Veturi shopping center. On an area of 30 hectares there is not only a nature reserve, but also a 2.1 km long nature trail. If you walk along it, you can not only enjoy the wildlife, but also find out a lot of interesting information about this place. Along the walking trail there are information boards in which information on the nature and the forest inhabitants and birds living here is collected in several languages (including Russian). There are benches and a shorter trail for those who go for a walk around the reserve with children.
The uniqueness of this reserve is that the last deforestation was carried out here in the 50s. Since then, the forest has been growing naturally. Rocky cliffs, glacial boulders, trees damaged by bark beetles, granite, a forest swamp and an observation tower, from the height of which you can see the forest, birds and it seems that you can touch the tops of the pines with your hand. Probably, Pushkin once wrote about such a forest: “there are miracles, the goblin wanders there, the mermaid sits on the branches …”
No wonder they say that there are places, even the most professional photographs of which will never convey all the beauty, scope and sensations from visiting them. Nieivermaki just one of these places!
Come to Kouvola! We still have something to show and what to tell about to those who are ready not just to watch but to see, and who want to not only listen, but also hear!