24. october 2012
After a short stop at the bicycle-shop at Lieksa, where I tried to find new break-wires without any success, as mine a totally worn out, and right now I am not able to use the breaks.... I went on for 27 km to the village of Vuonislahti and Kestikievari Herranniemi (www.herranniemi.com), where I will stay for the night.
This place is just wonderful - such a wonderful hospitality of the owners, Erja and Tapio and such a beautiful house (mannor) with place for app. 60 people.
Erja told me the story of the house: in Tapios family since the early 1800-century, it used to be a post-station, (thereby the name: kestikievari = poststation) where horses where exchanged and people could stay over night, until the railroad was built in 1910. First in the 1950's, Tapios parents reopened the place as a youthhostel and built up the business again. When I was sitting in the diningroom of the beautiful manner, I just thought how tastfully renovated this old building was. - But: Erja told me, that the house actually burned down to the ground in 2007! So it is rebuilt since then! And you would never be able to tell! Fortunately nobody was injured in the fire, but they lost everything. And with lots of energy, good will and help of neighbours and friends, they were able to restore what was lost - maybe it became even more beautiful - just look at the pictures above.
Apart from being hosted by such nice people, the dinner was delicious, and they are - not so surprisingly - also part of a culinary book from the region. So if you are looking for a beautifully situated place in North-Karelia, with good food, a great sauna at the lakeside and very nice hosts - then this is the place!
Erja and I also discussed the relationship between wolves and people in the area and she stated that most of the people here aren't afraid of wolves or bears. We live in the village, and the bears live in the forest, about 5 km from here - we don't disturb each other and are not afraid of each other, she stated. Some people might be, but I am certainly not. (This discussion actually was held in German - which Erja speaks fluently as she was an au pair some years ago...
Finally I also had some time to look through the book I received by Lassi Rautiainen, with astonishing pictures from sea-eagles, wolves, bears and other seldom observed animals.
Good night - tomorrow Joensuu is waiting!