Sunday, September 16, 2018

St. Peter's Basilica

Janne and I visited St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican.Wonderful structure, and great to see the not-for-us gardens of the Vatican from above. Would be wonderful to visit. But can you ski in the Vatican?

If it ever snowed, and it probably sometimes has or will, there'd be enough slope somewhere in the garden. But there's no access!

The other option is the rock slope just in front the main presentation platform of the Vatican:

This looks definitely skiable on a rainy day and with plastic skis. However, I don't think they would like anyone to go and ski there. Unless there's a big mass for the religious skiers some day. While waiting for that, I don't think I can collect the Vatican to my skied countries.

Other pictures:

Photos (c) 2018 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Vienna Flak Tower

Is it an aquarium or a construct of the evil nazi regime? Well, both...

I have previously visited the nazi flak towers in Berlin and Hamburg, and while picking Tor up from the airport on our way to EuroSpeleo, we had a chance to look at one of the flak towers in Vienna's Esterhazypark.

The tower in Esterhazypark is the easiest and possibly to access and possibly the only one where one can go inside. It is a fire control tower ("L-tower"), however, so while it is high, its footprint is not as large as in the gun towers that I had seen in Berlin and Hamburg.

The tower has been converted to an aquarium and there's a remarkable climbing wall on the outside of this 54 meter high tower. Somewhere in the middle there's a small cafeteria and at the top there's a nice bar and terraces. The conversion to the aquarium has brought two huge glass extensions on both sides of the building that now house some of the crocodiles and birds.

I also bought a book about the archeology of the Vienna tower. Unfortunately, it is only available in German. I've progressed two pages into it so far but the plan is to learn the language through the use of Google translate until I remember all the words :-) Achtung, Ich kann Bunker-Deutsch sprechen! 

Location: N 48.1976 E 16.3528.


The climbing wall:

Crocodile-aquarium from below:



Nice cuts:

From the top down:

This article has also been published at TGR. And all urban exploration articles can be found at!

Photos (c) 2018 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

The Inkoo Superbunker

There's a big contrast between warm summer evening in the countryside, and what you find a few meters under your feet: a massive, blown up Soviet-era bunker. Damp darkness, rebar that is difficult to crawl through. And we're here to practice photography!

At the EuroSpeleo photography workshop we learned to use backlight and flashes to take great photos. I bought radio triggers for my flashes and wanted to see if I could use the same techniques in bunkers.

But it is not easy, not easy technically and particularly not easy in the artistic sense. This will take practice.

Some of the difficulties we encountered include even more cramped space than in caves; getting my flashes to fire reliably (some debugging to do here); we may have also hit the power limits of my relatively small flashes. But most importantly, not all spots and setups are equally photogenic. More artistic thinking is needed. But, the good news is that if one realises how far ahead the possibilities are from where you are, then you can at least try to improve :-)

The Soviet Union bunkers in the occupied Porkkala area come in various different models. The most common one is small, but there are a couple of other models. The ZIF-25 bunkers are two storey with a round gun port to the side. And then we've two other, very large bunker models that are huge in area but one storey, with a large, rotating gun system on top. The Inkoo bunker is one of these, and the best preserved that we know of.

Well, preserved; it has been blown up and burned, but is still mostly accessible with careful crawling.

I will only give approximate coordinates to the general area: N 60.07 E 24.14. WARNING! This is a dangerous place and possibly includes unexploded ordnance. Do NOT visit this place, it is truly dangerous.

First we saw a wonderful countryside:

Then we saw some holes...

And soon we were crawling inside:

Some interesting details. A hook:

And then some worrisome details. What is this? An unexploded, corroded shell? Or a part of the ventilation piping? We were careful to not touch it...

In the meanwhile, the sun was setting outside. An aerial view to the sunset:

This article has also appeared in TGR. And all urban exploration articles can be found from

Photos (c) 2018 by Jari Arkko, Jarmo Ruuth, and Olli Arkko. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Something in the darkness...

Saw something in the darkness on the walk back... is it a bouncy castle or a space station? Nah, turned to be just another data center. #Kista

Photos (c) 2018 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Block cave + river = fun?

Swoosh, flushed down! This cave makes me feel like going down the drain.

The hot summer weather, hiking, wet suits and coveralls are making everyone feel far too hot. We are awaiting for the promised cold water. There's water, although maybe slightly less than usual due to the hot weather again.

This is an exceptional cave. Exceptional for Austria, that is. In Finland a block cave would be normal. This cave reminds me very much of the Dragon's Cave in Korkberget, Kirkkonummi. Except that here the boulder field is on a steep slope. And there's a river flowing through it.

All we need to do is to find an entrance, and jump in. The way forward is usually fairly obvious, just follow the water. And there's usually enough space, except in couple of places. Twice I had to dive through a point with a low ceiling. There's also another difference to Korkberget: there are more layers of boulders, and quite a lot of vegatation on top of them. There are only some places for exits to the top.

I get stuck badly once, hanging on top of a boulder on my back, feet and head hanging over nothing. I can't move, but I manage to hand my helmet to Michi and camera to someone else. And then wedge myself slightly to the left and pass the tight point that was squeezing me from chest and back.

Phew. That was scary, because normally I'd been able to think about the situation and spend my time moving around to unwedge myself. But now I was in flowing water, and the boulder was pressing hard on my back.

There's a second place where someone else (phew, not me this time) gets stuck just before the exit, and I think they decide to go back. But I manage to go through that tight spot and eventually find myself out from the also narrow exit passage.

Fun cave, though. The cave is on a long boulder field on a steeply sloping small valley.

Location: Saubachlhöhlen, Yspertal, Austria.


Jaakko and Velma going in:

 Alex crawling inside:

More pictures from the inside:

At several points it was clear that there were long-time water flows through the cave, long enough to have spinning rocks drill round holes ("devil's churns"):

State of my lunch sandwich from my pocket after caving:

This blog article has also appeared in TGR. Tämä blogiartikkeli löytyy myös suomeksi Relaasta. And all caving-related articles can be found from!

Photos and videos (c) 2018 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.