Thursday, September 30, 2010

"And where on earth is Imatra?" ask I innocently.

When I first made the acquaintance of Viborg, a journey thither from St. Petersburg, though the distance by land is only about eighty miles, was no light undertaking. The daring traveler who elected to travel by road had no choice but to provide himself with abundant wrappings and a good stock of food, draw his strong boots up to his knee, fortify his inner man with scalding tea or fiery corn-whisky, and struggle through axle-deep mud or breast-high snow (according to the season), sometimes for two days together. "Mais nous avons changé tout cela." Two trains run daily from St. Petersburg, covering the whole distance in about four hours, and the stations along the line, though bearing marks of hasty construction, are still sufficiently comfortable and well supplied with provisions. Thanks to this direct communication with the capital, Viborg is now completely au fait of the news of the day, and all fashionable topics are canvassed as eagerly on the promenade of this little Finnish seaport as along the pavements of the Nevski Prospect.

David Ker: A Day's March through Finland

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