Wednesday, September 27, 2023

A Finnish Caving Buffet

If your caving friend was coming over for a weekend, what would you show about the Finnish caving scene? Here's our menu for a caving buffet, covering everything from ice saunas to block caves to cracks in granite, mines, limestone caves, to salmon meals to ... did I already mention saunas? Not to forget Sibelius for dessert!

But let's get to the detailed design of the menu. For appetizer... one needs to start already on the boat ride. How about a sauna? Ice? No, let's go for an ICE SAUNA straight away. Or is it ICE CAVE? No matter, Viking Glory's spa department can do it:

(More about the spa visit here.)

But we are hungry, so now it is time to get to the meat of it. How about a dark first course with some downtown city vibes? Turku's Luolavuoren luola (Cave of the Cave Mountain :-) ) delivers a respectable 45 meters of darkness. But this early in our buffet we need to keep it light, so a sprinkling of some fresh light seemed appropriate. An oil lamp and new color-changing Black Diamond headlamp did the trick:

(More about the Luolavuori visit here.)

For the second course we have to use some secret ingredients, as all chefs do. We can't disclose where this is, but it is definitely green. And occasionally blue! For added taste, we got some spiders:

(More about the canyon cave visit here.)

For the third course we needed some cleanup. But not without escaping the underworld. Itäkeskus underground swimming hall to the rescue:

(More about the hall visit here.)

Time for some seafood in the menu, I guess. How about salmon, cooked on cedar planks soaked in rosemary and water, with a secret sauce on top?

Variation is a key to a nice meal. The fifth course brought us even further down, but to a man-made world with upside down skyscraper testing ground in the Tytyri mine. And, as expected, there was a sauna. And fortunately, this course was also child friendly. Weirdly enough, we also found a treasure and saw Josef and Maria appearing in stalagmites. Who knew!

(More about the mine and KONE testing grounds visit here.)

Calcium is important, so the sixth course was about limestone caves. But it was also a light course, just like the first one. Finland's premier limestone cave Torhola:

(More about the Torhola cave visit here.)

But the meal continues! The seventh course was the onion-shaped Högberget cave in Kirkkonummi. Not sure I know what the fuzz is about this cave. Onion looks... why is this so interesting? But the cave is otherwise super interesting. Actually, there are other similar shapes and rock forms around in the same neighborhood. And interestingly all are at the Litorina sea water level, so our theory is that these are ancient beach caves.

(More about this cave in another blog article here.)

Right. Continuing... and feeling like we needed some iron. Maybe also something more concrete meal than a squishy onion. How about a blown up two-storey Russian bunker from the time they occupied the Porkkala peninsula in in the 1950s? There's certainly enough iron in those rusting rebars. Hopefully they are not so rusted though that they let go of the hanging pieces of thick concrete slabs...

(More about this bunker in another blog article here.)

The ninth course is blocks... not legos but boulders. A block cave. Pile of boulders. Plenty of them. By a lake. The actually has its own in-cave boat parking, if you arrive by boat :-) By this time in the meal, we needed some stretching, and we certainly got that in the tight corners between the boulders.

(More about the Korkberget cave visit here.)

Wow! It is a long meal, and the Korkberget was perhaps the heaviest and longest course. Feeling pretty full, but there's always room for a dessert. Particularly an artistic one. This time our dessert was server by Jean Sibelius, who in 1911 found Finland's first ancient rock painting, by the Vitträsk lake in Kirkkonummi.

(More about these paintings in another blog article here.)

Read more urban exploration stories from, and other underground stories from Read the full Planetskier series at, or all blog articles from Blogspot or TGR. Photos and text (c) 2023 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved

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