Saturday, 6th July – Vaasa to Jyväskylä

Leaving the coast of Vaasa we headed inland to make our way to Jyväskylä, a nearly 4 hour journey. Much of the journey was through small villages and kilometre after kilometre of forest. Not surprising really given that forests cover more than 75% of the country!

Our morning tea break was on the banks of the gorgeous Lake Vähäjärvi located in Alavus. It was a super quiet and relaxing location.

Native to Western Canada the stunning purple/blue/pink Lupine flower lines many of the roadsides throughout Finland. They were introduced as an ornamental flower in the 19th Century and whilst beautiful, their excessive spreading across the country is posing a threat to smaller native plants. Despite them being considered a pest the Lupine provided a beautiful distraction to the rows and rows of Finish pine trees.

Our first stop today was the Petäjävesi Old Church, listed in 1994 as a Unesco World Heritage Site. The church was built during 1763 – 1765. It’s a unique example of the tradition of Nordic wooden church architecture and log construction. Pleasingly the church’s appearance has remained nearly unchanged.

Construction of the church was led by a local master builder, Jaakko Leppänen. Interestingly the bell tower was added to the western part of the church in 1821 by the master’s grandson, Erkki Leppänen.

We continued on our way to Jyväskylä stopping briefly at a rest stop on the banks of Lake Kipponen. It was such a perfect day.

Before we checked into our hotel we stopped in at the University of Finland to see the sculpture “Surge” built in 2006 in stainless steel by local artist Kimmo Schroderus.

Close by was the Ylistö Bridge, a cable-stayed bridge which connects the university campuses.

It had been a lovely day and the hotel we were staying at had the most amazing pool, so we spent the rest of the evening chilling out there.

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