[From Beth] Vaasa is known as an arts community, and this week hosted its Evening of the Arts, which seemed a little like Boise’s defunct Curb Cup except all the bands were spread out enough so one could listen to them individually. Of course they were also singing in Finnish. The crowds were lively and we met several of Saara’s friends and a rather inexplicable Brazilian Samba procession.
Yesterday we packed a picnic and drove to the coast to visit the Kvarken Archipelago, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site – one of six we’ve seen on this trip (nine hundred and some to go: whc.unesco.org). We stopped at the base of Finland’s longest bridge for our picnic.
The Archipelago has formed as a result of a phenomenon called land uplift. Finland is rising out of the sea at a rate of about 1 cm per year as the land rebounds from the weight of the glaciers of the last ice age. Experts predict that Finland will be connected to Sweden with a land bridge due to uplift by 2500.
This area used to be the site of a thriving fishing community, but as the land has risen, they’ve had to follow the rocky beaches outward. We took a four kilometer nature walk through the area to see the wildlife, and let the kids run like maniacs.
On the way home, Saara was showing us the cabin of a girlfriend’s parents, who happened to be home. This resulted in an invitation to coffee and a conversation that centered around all of the jokes our host knows about Americans (well, only one joke, really). It was a beautiful afternoon to sit outside with refreshments.