Monday, March 19, 2018

Stubböle Big Bunker

Another guest blog entry from Jarmo:

When I visited Stubböle a few months ago with Jari and Olli we met some local people. They pointed us to a bunker that is not shown in any maps. At that time we did not have time to check it. When Eino wanted to join me on a Sunday adventure in a perfect sunny weather we decided to go and check this bunker.

I was expecting something like a small standard bunker. When we crossed the snow covered farming fields we noticed that this definitely was not a small bunker. In fact it turned out to be one of the biggest bunkers that we have visited. It looked very similar to a huge 20x20m bunker we had seen in Östersolberg (see here and here). This bunker although blasted was still in a reasonable good shape inside so we were able to visit probably the whole interior.

I sketched a simple map of the bunker which is shown at the top of the article. At the back there is a long corridor running from one side to the other. Entrance at point A (see the map at the top) was open. There were stairs going down. The other end of the corridor at point G was blocked but most likely was also an entrance. At point F there was a short corridor and stairs going up. It was blocked so it is not sure if it was entrance or something else.

Next to the corridor there were two large rooms, points B and E. Between those rooms at point C was a big round gun hole that is visible also outside. Also between large rooms at point C was a small room with a door at the end, maybe leading into the gun hole.

This bunker is one of the biggest there is and relatively easy to move around so it is definitely worth visiting. Also access is easy. There is a road close by and when you approach from the farming field side it should cause no trouble to nearby houses.

Coordinates: N 60.0646553, E 24.1434709

More pictures from inside:

Photos and text (c) 2018 by Jarmo Ruuth. All rights reserved.

Search for an Island Bunker

Another guest blog entry from Jarmo:

Perfect winter finally arrived and sea and lakes are frozen. Time to go skiing at the sea and at the same time check for some potential bunker locations at the islands.

There were two potential bunkers marked at Södra Svartö at Inkoo that were not next to a summer cottage. When I arrived at Södra Svartö I noticed that the first potential bunker location was a rocky hill (N 60.015437, E 24.138973). Maybe there were some fortifications under the snow but I could not find any.

I continued to the other location at the other side of the island (N 60.017260, E 24.141934). Again no signs of a bunker. The forest was harvested just recently so that and snow pretty much covered any signs if there were any left.

A bit closer to the sea I did find some holes that could be the remains of an old trench. It was covered with snow so difficult to say.

So I did not find any bunkers but it was perfect skiing at bright sunshine at the frozen sea. Snow was great, there was nobody around and I was skiing next to pretty small islands.

Photos and text (c) 2018 by Jarmo Ruuth. All rights reserved.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Skiing in Romania

The winter is running out, and even the HR department though that I had too little vacation. So I decided to take some last-minute cheap flights to Romania to ski in my #57th country.

I had been to Romania only once before and even then spent all my time in some meeting room at a bland brand hotel.

So I didn't know what to expect. The premier ski destination in Romania is Sinaia, an hour and half away from Bucharest airport. But I really didn't know the country or the ski place. I was surprised to find that the mountains and the ski area are as big they are; Sinaia could easily compete with many destinations in the alps. The highest lift goes to a moderate 2103 meters, having 1223 meters of vertical. But it covers a large area, with plenty of skiable terrain, an obvious opportunity for adventure.

What I found was a strange mixture of old and new, modern western technology and classy hotels, mixed with remnants from the communist times and local culture. For instance, my very nice hotel Complex la Tunuri is hosted at a small luxurious castle, but when I arrived to see the castle towers and gates in the darkness I couldn't help thinking of Count Dracula -- Transylvania and the Bran Castle is just half an hour down the road, after all.

On the ski area the contrast between modern and communist era could not have been more striking. The area hosts two lift system companies, one by the city and one by a (bankrupt) commercial company that bought the communist-era ski lifts. You can ski most of the ski area using either lift, but if you insist on visiting every corner, like me, then you may actually need both of the quite affordable lift tickets. The modern lifts are in most cases the best option, as the older gondola lifts are wonderful but may require some waiting times. In general, the old lifts have great 70s colour scheme, lots of red, some blue... take for that reason if not anything else.

The ski area is basically divided into two parts, the high-alpine at the top, with relatively modest steepness but an amazing amount of free space and free skiing opportunities. A number of old, decommissioned lifts also sit on the high plains, and there's an option for hiking further to huts and even other lift systems at the top.

Under the high alpine area is the steep, partially forested and partially rocky set of complex gullies and slopes. There's plenty of space to play here, too.

The travel to Romania was surprisingly affordable, by the way. Direct roundtrip flights from Helsinki were only 159€ (a bit more after luggage options and waiting for the next day to book). The route is served by Blue Air, which is a no frills but well working airline. Although I'm a bit unnerved when flying in the Ukrainan airspace, but many of the flights to this corner of Europe go through Ukraine.

Rental car offers started from 1€ (!) and even the reasonable brand name offers were from 24€ for two days. Although I took a taxi because I figured I'd get to work and/or sleep on the way. I had fun sitting on the backseat and hacking away on my code in rural Romania, with access to GitHub with the snappy 10€ SIM card that I bought from the kiosk at the airport :-)

Another very nice ski experience, and country #57 on my list of skied countries. But I should come here again, there so much more to ski in Romania. I also wanted to thank my friend Dan for tips regarding Romania.


More pictures from skiing:


Ruins on the slopes:



This blog is also available on the TGR site. Tämä blogi löytyy myös suomeksi Relaasta. Photos and videos (c) 2018 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. The song "Magnolia" by The Silent Partner is freely usable from the YouTube Audio Library.

When you have to make a call

When you have to make a call... you will find the way.

Even if you are on the Romanian mountains, high above Transylvania.

A closeup below. Note the beer can:

Photo (c) 2018 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Juusjärvi Rock Paintings

Last year I bought a book on ancient rock paintings in Finland. One of the best paintings in Finland is nearby, but very hard to reach. With the recent low temperatures, Jarmo and I figure we could cross the lake to go see it.

If you ever want to see these great paintings, the time to do that is right now. This week, or maybe the next. The summer is coming, access gets impossible, and there is no guarantee that the ice is so nice next year. Go now!

Per the book and Retkipaikka article, the summerhouses next to the rock with the painting block access from the obvious southern direction, and recommend taking a 2km ski from the other side of the lake. We figured we could actually cross the lake from a shorter route on foot, using the route marked with red below:

This route is much more reasonable than the other recommendations, and has only a small lake crossing. But be careful about the ice; right now the ice is in great condition, but there were still ice fishing and possibly some ice swimming holes. Take care!

Parking is still an issue, we parked on the ample space on a bus stop on the main road, but only after searching for a space for a while.

Once you get there, what a wonderful paintings, though! Thousands of years old, perhaps painted at the time that this part of the land was on the seafront, before rising ground has lifted it 20 kilometres inland.

The pictures are very visible and understandable, at least the human ones... there may be a moose, some fish, and a snake-like human also in the picture, but there the viewer's imagination needs to get involved.

The rock painting is at coordinates N 60.186889 E 24.426556.


More pictures:

There also seems to be a moose (photo by Jarmo):

Posing with the characters (photo by Jarmo):

Here are pictures of the place from the air:

At a nearby thin cape is uninhabited and a nice place to visit:

This article is also available at the TGR site. Tämä blogiartikkeli löytyy myös suomeksi Relaasta. Photos and videos (c) 2018 by Jari Arkko and Jarmo Ruuth. Map excerpt from Karttapaikka. All rights reserved. Music on the video is The Floor Plan by The Silent Partner, freely usable from YouTube music library.

Porkkala. The lehti.

Saw a magazine about Porkkala in the shop today. Bought it and need to read it, it will be interesting to see what material they've got, and if there's any discussion of the bunkers.

Photo (c) 2018 by Jari Arkko. Magazine itself by Iltalehti. All rights reserved. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Volvo... again

Volvo... again. Generator replaced now, but it also needs a new cooler, new clutch, new exhaust pipe and eight other things. And, most seriously, to fix leaks, a new fuel system and I only have a month to put in. And there are no new parts for it, and my car is from the youngest batch, so no old good parts either. The repair shop will probably build something though. Many troubles to overcome, $$$ to spend.

Still, I bet that this car lasts until I can take a self-driving car to the office :-) no need to use any interim tech before that :-)

 Photos (c) 2018 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Kiven kivi? Looking for the rock that inspired Aleksis Kivi

Kiven kivi? Today's trip to look for cave underneath the large boulder in Nurmijärvi that may have inspired Aleksis Kivi in the writing of a the first significant Finnish language novel, "Seitsemän veljestä" (seven brothers). And there was a nice, 10m meter cave under the rock.

What a wonderful cave, not long, but perfect triangle, bright colours, smooth surfaces, and flat dirt floor... as Tuomo Kesäläinen writes in the book Uudenmaan Luolat: "a textbook example of a beautiful boulder cave".

This is an excellent cave to take kids and non-cavers to, btw. Easy to go through, dry, safe to approach, not much walking required, no fall danger (unless one climbs to the top of the stone), barely requires crawling, ... all good. Much recommended trip with kids.

I also mapped out the cave underneath. Here's the map:

A high-res version of the map can be also found in JPG and PDF formats. And the original iDraw file is here.

The coordinates are N 60.478192 E 24.760996, in Nurmijärvi. There's a designated parking spot at the beginning of the Kullantöyrääntie (honey's embankment road!).

I continued to after this to visit to my mom's place... and then somewhere for a sauna and a swim. More on the latter here.


Here's the view from the top:

More photos from under the rock:

The place is well documented and marked. There's even a parking spot next to the site on the road.

This article is also available at TGR. Tämä blogi löytyy myös suomeksi Relaasta. And many more caving articles are available at Photos, maps, and videos (c) 2018 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. The song "To the Top" is by The Silent Partner, and is freely usable from the YouTube music library.