Sunday, September 24, 2017

Fine Weather Road Only

Driving in New Zealand, we found a closed road labeled as "Fine Weather Road Only". We ended up not driving the whole route, even if it would have saved us 40 kilometers... but we tested the first stream passing.

Videos and photos (c) Jari Arkko and Tero Kivinen. All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Österbacken II

In better daylight and with Jarmo's help we now found the quarry. I must have walked 20 meters from the quarry wall (a 10+ meter drop, btw) yesterday.

The published coordinates were indeed somewhat inaccurate. The correct coordinates are N 60.27301376 E 24.76680261, or about 100 meters away from the coordinates that I was searching at yesterday. By the way, Jarmo came up with access to old maps at Maanmittauslaitos; you can select a year and view old maps at high resolution. Can be useful at times.

The quarry is quite impressive, with a high rock wall, and large boulder field further down in the slope. The boulder field seems to have many man-sized holes between the rocks, so there are some artificial caves here as well. I didn't feel like caving with my leg today, however.

We also searched for two quarries on the Espoo side of the border in Juvanmalmi. One (at coordinates 60.269313, 24.759263) sits partially under the Juvanmalmi S-Market, so the rocky hill that existed here must have been levelled and the quarry no longer exists. Of course it is possible that these coordinates may have been inaccurate. I should still go back and see what's on the other side of the road in that spot; on satellite picture the area looks like there's either been a house or perhaps piles of rock.

But the other quarry in Juvanmalmi, at coordinates N 60.27052645 E 24.76342734, is still there, on a hill behind warehouse. In the book the coordinates were given as 6684,65 2542,45 (60.270992, 24.763830) but those are also somewhat inaccurate, as they are now on the cut rock wall next to the warehouse yard. It is possible that the quarry extended this far earlier, but it seems that the primary area is in the above coordinates at least. There is also a small cave under some of the piles of blocks in the above coordinates.

Finally, we visited the the site where I had found possible old small quarry. I still don't know if this is man-made, but there's some evidence of blocks being cut in right angles:

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko and Jarmo Ruuth. All rights reserved.

The Stockmann Ruins

Today's newspaper had a story about the difficulties of the Stockmann department stories. Will they make it? However, in 1920 an even greater tragedy hit the Stockmann family and left the family house in ruins. The ruins are nearby in Kauniainen, so the day felt like a good day to visit them again.

Franz Stockmann and his wife started the construction of a great new house on a rocky hill in Kauniainen in 1918. Sadly, in 1920 they both died in the Spanish flu pandemic. The house was not completed. Almost hundred years later, the ruins are still in surprisingly good shape.

And what a great house it would have been! The basement, built out of rock and concrete, is roughly 33 meters by 20 meters, or 600-700 square meters. Presumably, the house on top would have been two more stories, so altogether a lot of space.

No drawings survive, and we don't know for sure who the architect was. But it is suspected it would have been Sigurd Frosterus, who also designed the Helsinki department store.

But, mind races what the house in Kauniainen would have been like. Even the basement is full of arched windows and doors. And maybe one little detail will give you an idea of the grandeur of the design: there is an elevated, curving road that leads to the house, built out of rocks. It is still a beautiful road today.

And the road has a cellar! There's a storage space under the road, although by now few of the granite blocks in the roof are sort of hanging. I don't recommend visiting the cellar because of this.

In Finnish national style, of course somebody had been drinking vodka in the cellar, and left their bottle:

Other pictures:

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko and Jarmo Ruuth. All rights reserved. Tämä blogi löytyy myös suomeksi Relaasta.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Can't find the Österbacken Quarry

There's supposed to be an old quarry in Juvanmalmi. But I kept going up and down near the coordinates, but found nothing. Wrong coordinates? As the darkness came, I did manage however to put my painful foot to a hole in the ground, have it get twisted, and stuck.

Fortunately, I was able to get it out after moving around a bit. And the foot seems fine now, but I really didn't need any more damage on the foot.

Anyway, about the old quarry. I wasn't 100% sure that I was able to correctly translate the coordinates that the book gave me (6685,00; 2542,60) to google maps coordinates.

But, I found a very nice excel sheet of the old quarries and mines from the GTK website, including WGS84 coordinates: database. They seem to point to the same place, on the Österbacken hill in Vantaa, just across the Espoo border in Juvanmalmi. There's no indication if the file was made by converting from the coordinates in older research, or if the researchers actually visited this site. Well, at least I know my rusty coordinate conversion skills produced the right result.

The book did indicate that the coordinates for the quarries in this area somewhat imprecise because they have been recorded on old maps while surveying. The coordinates come from a 1954 master thesis.

So what is it? Did I miss the quarry on my walk in the darkening forest? Or has the nature covered it too well? But according to the book the quarry operated all the way until 1993. Seems improbable that I could miss something like that. Or was there a mistake in the 1954 thesis, and since then the coordinates have just been copied in new publications? Has anybody actually been here and seen the Österbacken quarry? Or am I making a conversion error somewhere, and by accident others have made the same error?

I did however find a possibly man-made rectangular depression at the top of the rocky hill. I'm not sure if the site really was used to extract granite blocks, but it is quite rectangular. Yet, it is also deeply covered by vegetation, so if there was a quarry here, it must have been hundreds of years ago. The depth of the walls is roughly half a meter on the higher side, less on the other side. The coordinates of this place are: N 60.27328554 E 24.76570917.

Update: found a report about the protected area from the Internet, and they have picture of the quarry wall on page 21 of the report. It is there, but it is still unclear exactly where or if the rock walls I saw were the quarry.

This is what I found at the original coordinates, moss covered rock walls, but they did not seem to be man-made.

I parked here, on a nearby industry area:

Here is the potential old quarry at the top of the rocky hill:

The industry area once I returned to the car:

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Dalsvik Limestone Quarry

Since my foot didn't like the walk I did few days ago, an obvious thing to do was to go try more quarries, and this time climb a fence. Without noticing that the fence would have ended if we had walked 10 meters further.

Once again the book on Helsinki area mines and quarries proved worthwhile. Jarmo and I visited the limestone quarry in Laaksolahti (Dalsvik).

The old quarry is on an empty lot between houses, and was at first hard to find, because my GPS coordinates were off for some reason. And I thought that the fence belonged to a house, but it was actually the protective fence to prevent people from falling to the quarry.

An interesting place. This quarry was larger than any of the individual quarries in Elfvik, not huge, but sizeable. And maybe 5 meters deep at the highest end.

The quarry may have been started as early in the 1400s, but definitely latest in the 1500s. It has been used apparently until early 1900s.

In later times the quarry had been used as a dumping ground, but has since then been cleared up. The ground is full of broken glass, however.

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko and Jarmo Ruuth. All rights reserved.

Ruins of the Dalsvik Mansion Gazebo

Today we visited the ruins of a gazebo in Laaksolahti (Dalsvik). The gazebo, or pavilion belonged to the Dalsvik Mansion. If all this sounds funny, in Finnish place was called "Laaksolahden kartanon huvimaja".

Jarmo and I found out about this from Tony Hagerlund's blog on local interesting sites in Espoo.

The gazebo must have been interesting, the ruins are huge! And while the surrounding areas don't really lead you to believe this, the views are magnificent. The ruins are on top of a cliff, and you can see the Long Lake (Pitkäjärvi) quite well.

I wonder what happened to the gazebo... I remember reading about its fate, but for the life of me can't remember where.

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko and Jarmo Ruuth. All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Dragon's Den - Smocza Jama

Smocza Jama. Or Dragon's Den, an ancient cave. Despite the puffing, fire-breathing dragon, there's nothing to be afraid of, as long the dragon is fed enough cattle every week. Either cattle .... or equivalent number of humans.

That is, until King Cracus killed the dragon. Nowadays there's a fire breathing statue of dragon that comes to life every few minutes. You should be more afraid of the ticket machine at the entrance, for this machine is your only way to enter this legendary cave. It might also be the world's only cave with a ticket machine in the entrance.

Dragon's Den is at the centre of Krakow, Poland, under the Wawel Royal Castle, going through the rocky Wawel hill and exiting near the river bank. The cave is altogether 270 meters long, and 85 meters of it are open to the public. The entrance is at the top of the hill, on the yard of the castle, where one descends through a tower to the cave. There are a number of other entrances to different parts of the castle as well. Those entrances are primarily on the long side tunnel that is closed off from the area open to the tourists. But there are a number of small holes in the porous limestone, so fun to explore. Read more about the history of the cave from Wikipedia. A map of the cave can be found here.

Entrance is 3 złoty or about 75 cents.

The dragon statue is in front of the cave exit on the public area. It breathes fire about every 4 minutes, and is best observed during the evenings. There's usually a collection of small kids crawling on top of the rock that the dragon stands on. The cave itself closes though before the evening, the exact time depends on the season. I was in Krakow for a meeting, so had trouble making it to the cave in time. On the first day I missed the closing time by 30 seconds.


More pictures from the dragon:

Signs, Wawel buildings, ticket machine, and the entrance stairs to the cave:

Inside the cave:


Photos and videos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. This blog is also available at the TGR site. Tämä blogi löytyy myös suomeksi Relaasta.

Krakow Sauna

I had an opportunity to visit a sauna in Poland. Obviously I took the opportunity!

This was again another Hilton sauna, at the DoubleTree (Hilton) Krakow, as I was in Krakow for a meeting.

The sauna was again quite nice indeed. A nice big pool, and three different saunas. I was a bit pressed on time though, so didn't have too much time to spend except in the hottest Finnish sauna.

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko. As always, the photos from swimming pools and saunas have been taken when the facilities were closed or closing, and there were no other customers present.