I’ve finally finished processing the pictures from my trip. Some of them worked out better than I expected, and some turned out to be not as good as I had hoped for. An acceptable average! The pictures in this blog post are not related to the text, other than that everything is related to my vacation trip.

Hällingsåfallet, stitched from two horizontals. I love that light reflecting on top of the rainbow!

As a Finn living in Sweden, it’s inevitable to make comparisons between the countries. As it’s been 15 years since I moved from Finland, a lot has changed and in many ways the country is not the same as the one I remember. So now when I visit, I can look at Finland with the eyes of a tourist and some of the things I’ve seen are quite surprising. The following ”comparison” is very subjective and based on a limited sample (northern Sweden, central/eastern Finland), and even if I keep saying that this or that is better in the other, please do not count the votes in either direction. All in all, I’m happy to be a Finn and I’m happy to live in Sweden so I wouldn’t seriously complain about either!

Stekenjokk. Stitched from 4 horizontals.
  • Roads are better in Finland. Much better. Much, much better! *
  • There are more people in Finland. In Sweden you can drive 50km with hardly any signs of human activity. Apart from the road, obviously. In Finland you always see something, if nothing else then speed cameras (see the point below).
  • There are more speed cameras in Finland (a lot more – I didn’t see any from Gäddede to Haparanda, but in Finland I lost the count of them by Oulu).
  • There is more birch forest in Finland.
  • Finland is flat. I was relieved to reach the inner country because the flatlands in near the coast were driving me crazy. It’s unnatural not to have any hills.
  • There are more lakes in Sweden. Finland is supposed to be ”the land of thousand lakes” but there was very little water in sight. The roadside scenery in Sweden on the other hand is dotted with lakes, creeks and wetlands.
  • Commercial (pop) radio is better in Finland. My car radio picked up Radio Nova before Haparanda and never had to re-tune during the trip. Is there a law in Sweden that forbids commercial radio to broadcast outside urban areas? I’d be fooled to think so because the signal fades as soon as you leave any major city.
  • There are more bypass roads in Finland. You hardly ever need to drive through a town or a village. Until you come to Savonlinna, of course!
The bay behind my parents' cabin
The bay behind my parents’ cabin. I grew up by this lake! Stitched from 3 horizontal frames.

* * *

* Swedish roads. I imagine a Vägverket boss say something like this:

”Hi Sven, we need to patch up the Loos road. Why don’t you take this coin and toss it to see which holes to fix? And Sven, take care to do a sloppy job at it so we can go there next year and patch the same holes all over again.”

Now, it’s possible that the work order isn’t exactly like that. But the result sure is! I can understand that they don’t have the money to fix the whole road, but instead of fixing all of it badly, why not use the little money they have to fix one part of the road well? And then next year, fix the next hole. And then next. Instead of coming there every year and fill a hole there and a hole here and not even bother to even out the tarmac for a smooth surface. So the car jolts over the new tarmac edges instead of the hole that used to be there. Same difference, just money wasted.

The same thing applies for a lot of other roads. The Loos road is small, but I know a lot of highways which are only marginally better than the Loos road.

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