LULEÅ (SWEDEN) THROUGH HAPARANDATORNIO(AT THE BORDER) TO KEMI (FINLAND)

Because of the elevation of the land, LULEÅ moved to its present location 350 years ago. In those days the main industry was fishing and the harbour was the gateway to the surrounding world.
Today Luleå is a high-tech town with an advanced steel industry which has made the town a metallurgic centre.
It is a place of contrast. It has an international atmosphere while at the same time a closeness to unspoiled countryside. In Winter the town is clothed in white, as we have seen it today, but in Summer it is embraced in sun and heat.
Luleå is the shopping centre of Northern Sweden and many people come here to shop.
Luleå Archipelago is most exciting in the Winter when one can drive a car where a few months earlier people were boating.
In the late winter/early spring, the ice that previously lay frozen and still, now begins to move slowly and banks of pack ice are built up, several metres high, making the panorama look like a polar landscape (too soon for that just now).
It is the only brackish water archipelago in the world.

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Today our mode of transport has changed from train to bus for the simple reason that there is no train to take us into Finland – the bus is still covered by our Eurail Pass.

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The town at the border of Sweden and Finland is the twin city, HaparandaTornio where Finnish, Swedish and Tornio River Valley culture blend.
There is a time difference between Sweden and Finland. Finnish time is one hour ahead of Swedish time.
The landmark of co-operation is situated on the Swedish-Finnish border. The borderline is marked with the stream flowing through the Square. Children have helped to design the square which is named Victoria after Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden.
The name Haparanda comes from the Finnish Haaparanta, meaning “Aspen shore”. The trees are used on the heraldic sign of Haparanda.

At 14:20 Swedish time or 15:20 Finnish time we crossed into Finland and tonight we sleep at Keminmaa which is approximately 10 Kms. from Kemi.
POHJANRANTA is a Conference Centre, Hotel, Camping area, Vineyard and Church. 14,000 black currant, 6,000 green currant and 4,000 gooseberry bushes are planted here and the berries are processed into wine in the farm’s own wine cellar.
The beautiful little church of POHJANRANTA is lined with Aspen shingles and decorated with warm wood colours and paintings by a Finnish Artist. It seats 100 and is popular for weddings.

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It is very quiet here and when I walked across the snowy path to the Church there was nobody to be seen and it was snowing quite heavily – there is a remarkable “quiet” that accompanies the snowfall – a very special time for me.

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