Sunday, September 01, 2013

#562 Vyborg, Russia

Our overnight trip to the Hanseatic city of Vyborg takes us to the northernmost point of our fall voyage just a few kilometers from the Finnish border.  As recently as 1944, Vyborg was part of Finland!

On our way to Vyborg, we visit a beautiful dacha, or country home, near Komarovo with six students.

Over tea in her beautifully artistic home, our hostess Katya feeds us delicious home-made Russian delicacies (pirozhkis, yum!) and we discuss her father's military service fighting the Nazi forces in WWII.  She explains her personal experiences growing up in the Soviet Union, one of the three Russias she's known first-hand. We leave well-fed and better informed.

We grab a panoramic view of Vyborg from the tower of Saint Olav inside a Swedish-built medieval fortress on an island overlooking the city and the Gulf of Finland. 

Vyborg will soon be a destination for fans of modernist architecture when the restored Vyborg Library reopens after major renovations. If you've visited an Apple store, you've seen the work of Finnish architect Alvar Aalto at the Genius Bar.  Aalto's library in Vyborg (1933) features a wave-form ceiling and dozens of circular skylights creating "many suns in different positions." 
Our push north takes us as far as the unusual English seaside garden at Monrepos where we climb the pink granite boulders for a better view of the sea.

Yours in northern latitudes,

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