Finland: one day in Kouvola
Small Finnish cities are unlikely to impress tourists with ancient architecture, many sights or a huge number of memorable places and entertainment centers. Rather, they will be remembered for tranquility, slowness with notes of sadness and such places in which it seems that time has stopped for a moment.
Such a place, or rather a whole block, is in the city of Kouvola, where I now live. It is necessary to move a few hundred meters from the railway station, cross the road and find yourself not in the 21st century, but in the 20. Here you can still feel the breath of the past, and time is frozen in the windows of wooden houses, cozy courtyards and handicraft workshops.
Kaunisnurmi is a museum quarter that was founded in the 1900s for railroad 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 transport, there was also the need for a workforce that would live near the train station. Therefore, this quarter is directly related to the history of the city.
In addition to the pretty wooden houses that were lovingly restored, today there are workshops of artisans and artists, shops, as well as the Nygren house, the Poikilo art museum, the Orthodox center, the local history museum, the Radio museum and the Pharmacy museum, telling about the city’s history.
Every year, a handicraft fair, handicraft workshops, and seasonal markets are held in Kaunisnurmi. You can not only buy the products of artisans, but see with your own eyes how ceramic pots are made, or see how furniture and dishes are being restored. In all the courtyards you can look, take pictures or just sit and enjoy the silence. Families still live in these workshop houses.
Here there is one small, but very cozy cafe-shop “Onnenkukko”, which is equipped in one of the old wooden houses. His mistress herself cooks delicious coffee and bakes traditional pies and buns. In one part of the room you can enjoy coffee and sweets, in the other you can buy souvenirs and handmade products. Here, by the way, very often you can find works by famous Finnish artists: from postcards and notebooks to paintings.
If you don’t like this kind of sights, go explore Finland’s true wealth – nature. At 30 km from Kouvola there is a natural Repovesi National Park – one of the most popular and incredibly 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 Niivermäki Nature Reserve, which is located near the Veturi shopping center. On the territory of 30 hectares there is not only a nature reserve, but also a 2.1 km nature walking trail. If you walk along it, you can not only enjoy the wildlife, but also learn a lot of interesting information about this place. Information boards are located along the walking trail, in which information about nature and forest dwellers and birds living here is collected in several languages (including Russian). There are benches and a shorter path for those who go for a walk around the reserve with children.
The uniqueness of this reserve is that the last logging was carried out here in the 50s. Since then, the forest grows naturally. Rocky cliffs, glacial boulders, trees damaged by bark beetle, granite, forest marsh and lookout tower, from the height of which you can look at the forest, birds, and it seems that you can touch the tops of the pines. Probably, it was about such a forest that Pushkin once wrote: “miracles are there, the devil wanders there, a mermaid is sitting on the branches …”.
No wonder they say that there are places, even the most professional photos of which will never convey all the beauty, scale and sensations from their visit. Niivermäki is just one of those places!
Come to Kouvola! We still have something to show and what to tell to those who are ready not only to look, but to see, and who want not only to listen, but also to hear!