Yes, all is going well for my knee, it seems to be getting stronger by the day. The kilometres are slowly ticking by, along with a heatwave!
“This is not normal” apparently, so the Finns keep reminding me!
Yet another day of 25c/26c. I can hardly believe my luck!After leaving Janne in Haikapudas I made my way south…..four consecutive nights wild camping. Mysterious forests, inland lakes, noisy swans, fat geese, numerous curlews, dirt roads, quaint wooden barns and sienna red wooden houses.
I was on my way to meet another warmshowers host, Ross from the UK and his Finnish girlfriend, who live in Himanka.
They welcomed me with open arms…..plenty of food, washing machine whirring and warm showers…. of course! Strangely, Ross has a narrow boat moored at Sowerby Bridge in West Yorkshire…..only a stones throw from my childhood/parents home!
Thank you Ross and Pikkola it was bliss……
Wild camping is important to me and I expect to feel safe. I’ll always maintain that it’s people…sadly…who are usually the main threat.
This came true a few nights ago. A man….. failed to pass my three second radar scrutiny. He was a ‘bad’un’ as we say in Yorkshire, possibly under the influence of a substance. After some slimy inappropriate, unwanted attention, I decided to break camp and move. It was actually more of a stealth camp at a swimming spot. Stealth camps are often a little riskier by being closer to civilisation.
I was angry but also afraid.
No, I did not want to move, but knew I would be listening out for his return and wouldn’t sleep well…if at all. Later on reflection, I recognised that my Leatherman knife, would have been used if necessary. That sounds shocking, but it’s a possible scenario that needs to be thought about, when travelling alone.
Onward the next day and it was all soon forgotten….. lots more days of pedalling and passion ahead. The challenging dirt and sand tracks, soon consumed my mind.
Surprisingly two days later, I bumped into Marcus , who was out riding his bike too.
Marcus is another warmshowers host, who resides in close by Nykarleby.
Both Ross and Janne had mentioned Marcus to me……
Together, for a couple of hours, we cycled the back roads and gravel tracks towards Vaasa. He knows a lot about wildlife and history. It was a joy to meet you, thank you Marcus.
I can honestly say I feel more joyful, contented, fully alive and completely with nature, than I have for quite sometime.
Finland is peaceful, tranquil and glowing with beauty.
Each early morning on emerging from my tent into the cool luminous light, a chorus of birdsong and golden silence greet me. The air has a special aroma, of damp mossy undergrowth, sweet woody pine, juniper spice, subtle birch and dew laden grass with a salty tinge. A true bouquet!
Finland, you truly have, captured my heart.
On a last note.
Having swallowed my disappointment about being unable to cycle the eastern section of the Iron Curtain Trail. Along came the realisation that the west coast of Finland, is much more accessible to a novice cyclist, who perhaps wants to do a first tour.
Hopefully this southbound route will perhaps appeal to more people, especially women cyclists, who fancy a solo tour!
Here is my favourite quote from Albert Einstein;
“The woman who follows the crowd is likely to go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before”
Watch out for the next instalment from;
‘Somewhere over my rainbow’