14.08.2004 Aconitum Tohmajärvi, GCG2N9

BelltowerOur second cache of the day was near the Tohmajärvi church near a nature reserve. We initially drove by the parking lot from which to go to the cache and went up to the Tohmajärvi church. It was our first visit to Tohmarjärvi and we were surprised by the church and the beauty of its location. The church and its belltower were built in the 19th century in the typical eastern Finnish tradition, i.e. from wood. Especially because the church is far away from the nearest fire station (let alone from large amounts of fire fighters) any suspicion of fire in the church is responded to in force with the alarm automatically going to the Tohmajärvi fire station and surrounding counties. Better safe than sorry.

Tohmajärvi church Karelian swords

Near the church is an old graveyard with monuments and tombstones for the soldiers lost in Finland’s wars. The swords of Karelia (symbolizing a frontier zone between the east and west) have been chiseled onto a monument for the soldiers lost in Swedish-Russian war of 1808-1809 in which the rule of Finland transfered from Sweden to Russia. Most Finnish cemeteries have a part dedicated to the soldiers lost in the Winter War (1939-1940) and the Continuation War (1941-1944) against the Soviet Union. Finland tried to bring all of the fallen soldiers home, soldiers were buried in the graveyards of their homes.

Unknown soldiers

Russian POW monumentA surprising touch was to see a monument for the fallen Soviet POWs just outside of the newer (but called old) graveyard. While it is understandable that the POWs were not buried in the graveyard itself, being the enemy and “pagans,” it is nice to see that they are remembered.

A fallen treeThe cache was some way off the beaten path, away from the road, about a kilometer along a nature path. The woods through which the nature path wanders through is not typical in Eastern Finland. A typical Eastern Finnish forest is either evergreens or birch. Here other trees are the majority and the forest is quite damp, giving a home to fields of ferns.

We took quite some time to find the cache since our GPS decided to play tricks with us and had an accuracy of about 60 meters at times. Finally we found it and enough chantarel mushrooms to give us a meal the next day. Note, chantarels are the only mushroom Ramin recognizes accurately and therefore picks from the forest. But they do make a good sauce for new potatoes.

Anna and Flippe at the cache Ramin and chantarels

There is a Finnish literature classic, Pohjantähden alla, that starts with a sentence that has one of the most famous quotes in Finnish: Alussa oli suo, kuokka ja Jussi. A rough translation would be: in the beginning there was a swamp, a pick, and Jussi. Anna had the brilliant idea to modify it to suit Flippe. We present The swamp, stick, and Flippe.

The swamp, stick, and Flippe Kassu

On the way back we had time to sample the wild berries next to the graveyard fence. Believe me, wild strawberries and raspberries taste much better than their cultivated counterparts. They may be smaller, but they have much more taste. Bigger isn’t always better… From here we went on to Öllölä.

Wild raspberries Wild raspberries

Cache visited 14.8.2004. It has since been removed. View cache details.