Monday, November 14, 2011

Finland offers most pleasing winter landscapes

Travelling always towards north, we had made, during the finest season of frost, under a radiant and glorious sun, which coloured the waste of snow with a rose-tint, an interesting and picturesque journey. Far more varied than the central provinces of tho Russian empire, and almost mountainous after its interminable plains, Finland offers most pleasing winter landscapes. It presents northern nature in all its most savage yet wild and attractive beauty. I must not forget to mention a small lake, over the frozen surface of which we passed from one end to the other to shorten the distance, between two lines of young fir plantations, so planted as to mark the road during the night as during the snow storms. This lake, at least six miles long, had the appearance of a small sea ; but, [in comparison with the lake Lagoda, and other lakes in the north of Russia, it is a mere pond. It is charming to look on, and still more charming to glide over when comfortably seated in a sledge, enclosed by surrounding rocky and wood-clad heights; indeed, it resembles a large white table-cloth spread over, the earth. And as you slide rapidly over its frozen surface, innumerable are the varied features it presents of dense forests and rocky inlets which line its interesting banks. Now a little bay is seen sleeping, as it were, in the midst of dense pine woods, the large dark branches of whose trees, sugared with frozen snow, stretch their arms as if in protection; while here and there a promontory extends itself, on whose granite headland a village church, with a palc-grccn cupola, or some country house of strange form, and still stranger architecture—half Eastern, half European—stands, regardless of place or weather.

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