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Salpa Linja, Finland / Reina Magica (FI)

Day 1: The museum was our entrance to the Salpa Linja mystery. We received information on the background: Much of the Salpa line was built with the help of the Swedish Volunteer Group (SAK, Svenska Arbetskaren) of 900 men. A war historian noted, that the line was a such a strong defence, it never had to see battle. As we walked through the trenches we noticed how nature has reclaimed many places. This part of the trench near Miehekkala has become something of a garden, with numerous berry bushes happily offering their fruits at hand level, and we gladly partook in them. The absence of war meant an offering of peace too. Amazingly, the trenches and line had become a rich place for healing herbs and berries.

392.JPG Feverfew: to reduces inflammation. Has a numbing effect. I chewed and placed this herb on a nettle sting I had. The effect was no more pain, but I did have a slightly numb mouth for maybe 10-20 minutes.

Day 2: We hiked around the line near Ravijoki, entering many bunkers, some sign-posted, some discovered. Water slowly creep into these underground caves, and animals such as moths found their home on the walls. We took our flashlights to examine the rooms, and there was always this presence of emptiness but possibility, an air of something that could have happened, the people who could have been there. Who knows, maybe they were.


While sitting on the grass above the bunker Antanas found an empty bullet shell. Why was a shot fired here? He guessed there were training. A single shell.


Miga found a series of holes on the wall inside the bunker, was that shooting too? We didn't know, we had no answers, only more questions. The bunker also served as an instrument: the rooms were wide and echoing, and an opening in the roof served as a microphone. We experimented with sending sounds downwards, and colliding them through the rooms. I listened to my echoes as I sung back to the participants down below.


We followed the stones, and everytime we passed a massive cut stone I was amazed. The hard work of the men, standing the test of time, a monument to their determination. Nature had grown around the stones, sometimes making the works look like temples and Mayan ruins.


Day 3: We are tired from the trek. Mysteriously, noone knows quite why as we did not trek so far. Today, we weaved through the stones close to our lodgings, in a place called Siikasaari, maybe about 10 mins drive from here. It felt in some parts like jungle terrain: the strange oblique stones covered in moss dotting the track, the pitfalls of puddles and damp patches, and even a lopsided bridge crossing. We entered a few bunkers but they were rather small. I cannot imagine anyone in there, no echoes, no mystery, but I did find limestone growing down from the roof.


Day 4: On our last day, we started our own mystery: the unabandonment of the bunkers, the reclamation of the bunker space. We picked our favourite, number 82, and set to have a icecream picnic there.