Last weekend took us to Lappeenranta, a city in Eastern Finland. It is an old town very near the border, full of history and a lively university town situated on the banks of the beautiful Lake Saimaa.
Initially we set to drive there to celebrate my cousins’ 70th anniversary. Yes, cousins’ and 70th. One of then is now 30 and the other 40.
It was a long time since I’d last been in the city and seemed that I did not know it at all. It is dominated by the lake that surrounds the city. The first attraction for us was the Fortification, an old military area, and the harbour with the guest boats. There were many cruise ships setting off for evening cruises on Lake Saimaa. An older boat, Ms Princess Armada, has been renovated and changed into a restaurant. This was of course a place to visit and quench the thirst. Next to the vessel there was a quay for dogs (the dog bar).
On the gastronomic side we stayed on the line with local produce and chose Lumu Scandinavian Kitchen for dinner. It was wise as we enjoyed the tastes of local specialities like vencade, salmon, beetroot and lingonberry. The reindeer tongue was not local by something exotic from Lapland.
On Saturday we visited the Wolkoff’s House Museum which is an old town house from 19th century. The Wolkoff’s originated in Russia and were a wealthy mechant family in Lappeenranta. The house has had five generations live in it . The tour of the museum was exquisite – a guide and four visitors. The museum displayed the life of the family from the late 19th century until 1986.
We decided to take a swing in Imatra, another town close by, before the garden party. We went to see the Imatra Falls that have and still do give energy to the town and its industry. The magnificent art-deco style castle-like hotel was in its place, standing tall on the banks of the falls.
The party then was lovely. With all the family and relatives. Many memories. The food was splendid and the tables abundant as always – Karelian pasties, raw pickled salmon, roast beef, salads, potatoes ….
And then it was time to depart and drive home through the lush landscapes through the fields and forests in the light of the setting sun.