Thursday, 25 February 2016

Thin high clouds

The other day, we were out having a very late lunch. On our way home, we happened to notice a promising bright yellow glow in the southwestern sky. It made us rush to the sea hoping for another sundown spectacle.

We arrived at the park on the Ruissalo island just on time to see the last rays of sunshine glittering on the windows of the seafront houses on the Hirvensalo island across the strait.

At first, it was the yellow sunset that kept our attention. Soon we couldn’t but turn our heads to the other direction as we realised everything else was starting to turn light purple and pink.

We were mesmerised watching the magnificent show for half an hour or so. 

On that day, the sunset had been unusually spectacular throughout the southern parts of the country. One of the TV channels later published a meteorologist’s explanation. The reason was that the area was covered with thin high clouds. Those let red colour through but filter all the other colours. The cloud layer had been so thin that before sunset the sky may have even appeared all clear at some places. 

So you never know what youll get at sunset by simply looking at the sky. There might be some invisible thin high clouds ready to bowl you over. Weren’t we lucky to be on the spot of this spectacle, once again out of a happy coincidence.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Reeds and crushed ice

I’ve been planning to post about something else but the winter landscapes, or rather seascapes, of our new hometown are keeping a hold on me.

We made our latest visit to the seaside on a rather bright afternoon when the sun created a gentle reddish glow on the dry reeds and seashore rocks.

The sea was almost unfrozen again except for the coves and some crushed ice rocking up and down on top of the waves by one of the beaches.

It will be a while until these boats will be launched. This time of the year you sometimes wonder how anyone living in a country with such a long winter season would ever bother to engage themselves in any serious summer activities. In a couple of months it will all come back to you like a thunderbolt.

Kukkarokivi (below) is the largest visible glacial erratic in our country and a protected natural monument rising 12m above sea level off the Ruissalo island. The name translates ‘Pouch rock’ and derives from a legend that the giant who threw it there had been carrying it on his back in a big pouch.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Call on the rapids

Winter is showing some signs of giving in, to such an extent that we ventured on a picnic to the Nautela rapids some 15km from downtown Turku upstream the river Aura at Lieto.

The river falls 17m on a distance of about 600m. This stretch and the riverbanks are a precious nature reserve where passage is only allowed on the designated trails. We dared not try those this time of the year, I’m afraid.

In fact, we were meaning to visit the area all last summer but never did so this was sort of a first exploration in preparation for the coming season. I am sure the riverfront by the rapids will become one of our favourite places to stroll around. I can’t wait to return to spot the rare plants and many birds nesting on the riverbanks.

Archaeological research has revealed there were settlements on this site already in the Stone Age some 5000 years ago. In those times, the place was by the sea that has since then been withdrawn because of post-glacial rebound about 20km southwestward.

In addition to a cemetery from the Stone Age, the archaeological findings include some ‘offering stones’ dating from the Iron Age. It will be interesting to spot these ancient monuments when the snow has melted.

There is also a local history museum on the site. In the summertime, the mill from 1806 and the miller’s house will be open for public. And so will the museum built to house an extensive amount of archaeological and local history items and publications donated by a local collector Mr Lauri Nautela.

From mid-June to mid-August, you do not even need to bring your picnic lunch as you will find coffee and snacks at the summer café of the museum. I promise to take you to the rapids again as soon as nature is fully awakening to spring.