daily blog, Finland, history, traveling

Small Town Girl.

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I don’t smoke traditional cigarettes, though.

After a very unsuccessful exam on societal statistics, I took off for a short overnight work-away holiday volunteering at a small punk event in my old home town. (More pics coming up later…)

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The town itself was born from the early railway traffic as a junction station between Riihimäki (town near Helsinki) and St. Petersburg in the 1870’s. In the next decade additional tracks were built to North and South which made Kouvola a busy railway town, connecting four railway lines together.

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The cultural history is still narrated through this old steam engine located at the railway yard. Also, the cardboard packaging of the (BEST!) liquorice made in Kouvola has a train like this on it.

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According to a Wikipedia article, the old Finnish word ‘kouko‘ (or ‘kouvo) was understood as something evil or malign of a kind (such as a bear, wild animal, ghost or a large human). Doesn’t it sound like the concept to frighten misbehaving kids with? And that’s exactly what it was used.

Nowadays Kouvola only has a reputation as being one of the shittiest towns to live in Finland. I’ll say no more (though there are even worse places to live in).

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The day I arrived, the renovation of the main pedestrian street had just been completed with new kinds of… fountains, and the whole town was literally buzzing about them on social media.

Apparently, there always needs to be a public place for peeing for the people taking a break or returning home from bars. Before these fountains, there used to be Stonehenge-look-a-like statues with running water located at the same place. Which people (mostly drunken men) used to pee onto. Doesn’t the atmosphere sound just charming?

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Would you sacrifice your shoes sitting on these benches?

Lately, however, there has been some positive development towards a bit more tolerant and vegan-based culture. I would’ve wanted to impress you with some pics of delicious raw vegan cakes but unfortunately my favourite small cafe wasn’t opened. I wonder what has happened to it – has it closed permanently or just relocated somewhere?

At least new premises are vacated from the old town centre after a huge shopping mall called Veturi (‘railway engine’) was constructed and opened a couple of kilometres away. Now a car is basically a necessity for moving around, as example, to do your groceries. (At least for large families.)

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The painting decorating the old terrace area of the cafe, however, was still there. The middle part has always been my favourite; especially the fox sitting with a cuppa. The piece is actually made by a local artist Mai Kaisla Mehtänen.

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Unlike it seems, it actually was rather sunny and warm on the day I arrived. Like a proper hippie nomad girl, I took a small break from walking, and noticed the bank full of coltsfeet plants (Tussilago farfara). A clear sign of spring, isn’t it?

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More stories, pics and poetry, of course, coming up this week! Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Yours,

Miah

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