Last time we sailed to Russia form Finland to visit the city of Vyborg. Our ferry returned to Lappeenranta so late, that we decided to stay the night. I wrote about our stay at the Scandic Lappeenranta City earlier, and it was not our best hotel experience. The next morning before leaving the town we wanted to see the Giant Sand Castle they have by the harbour.
FINLAND’S BIGGEST SAND CASTLE
The first time they built this sand castle was in 2004. This is the 15th time it was built, and it took a total of 3 million kilograms of sand. There are usually many sculptors from different countries helping with the castle, and each year it has a different theme. When the castle is done, some wood glue and water mixture is sprayed on it, to keep the sand from weathering. This way it holds up on even in a storm. This year the castle showcased some historically important places or events from around the world. From Finland for example, they chose to show the medieval castles. An addition to Finnish castles, they added the Vyborg castle which we just had visited in Russia. It used to be a Finnish castle after all.
There was also a lot to do around the castle for those who were not so interested in sand art. There were many activities for kids from painting to carnival rides, and we did end up getting a ticket for our little one to ride a train. She had so much fun!
ATOMS AND HYDROGENS FOR LUNCH
Sounds bizarre, right? So what are the hydrogens and atoms aka vety and atomi? They are especially a thing from Lappeenranta, so of course we had to try them out. And there is no better place to do that than the market place by the harbor where little kiosks sell them. The pastries are made out of a traditional Finnish meat pastry but they come with different fillings. Atomi has either boiled egg or ham in it, and vety has both. In addition to that, people traditionally eat them with ketchup, mustard, onion and relish, based your liking. These pastries have been sold in Lappeenranta since the 1960’s and they sell over a million of them every year. Based on the local story, a sales person from the market square; Taimi Laakko used to give her kids meat pastries with boiled eggs in them, and then started selling them. During that time people talked a lot about atomic bombs, so they named the pastry after that. Later came the other version with ham. Mmm!
And they were delicious! You should absolutely give it try if you are ever in Lappeenranta!
STEAM BOAT REGATTA
We also got to enjoy the steam boat regatta which happened to be on the same day as we were hanging out at the market square. Regatta is a racing event for boats. We saw the old steam boats arriving, and people were even able to board them to look around. They later left and headed to the city of Savonlinna.
Lappeenranta seemed like a really nice small town with a lot of activities. Finally it was time for us to move on…