Erkki Lampén: Neljä retkeä läpi Suomen [Four trips across Finland]
Neljä retkeä läpi Suomen. Kävellen – pyöräillen – hiihtäen – meloen
[Four trips across Finland. On foot – by bicycle – on skis – by kayak]
Helsinki: Tammi, 2009. 272 p., ill.
€ 25, hardback
In the spring of 2000, a downbeat 40-year-old man sat musing on the meaning of life when an idea suddenly came to him: why not walk from Helsinki to the Arctic Ocean? In his diary of this trek, which covered more than seven weeks and over a thousand kilometres, the journalist and writer Erkki Lampén describes the landscape, people, events and his own thoughts along the journey. Lampén made another three journeys (in 2003, 2004 and 2006) travelling by bicycle, on skis and by kayak, sleeping in a tent, in rustic cabins, in motels and hotels. His circular cycle journey aimed to follow Finland’s national borders as closely as possible; on skis he covered the distance from Porvoo on the south coast to Utsjoki in the far north; he then paddled his kayak from Lapland to the Gulf of Finland (this journey required plenty of wheeling the vessel from one river or lake to another). Lampén’s diary entries convey an entertaining blend of a realistic battle for survival, philosophising, joy, fury and humour.