hidden europe 30

A Russian diversion

by hidden europe


The Imperial Russian Standard, with the double-headed eagle so intimately associated with the Romanovs, still hangs in the living room of a wooden lodge on the bank of a river in southern Finland. We visit the former holiday home of the Russian tsars.

It is an easy two hour drive from Helsinki to the Russian border. The main road does not quite hug the coast but there are tantalising glimpses of the Gulf of Finland. The highway skirts the industrial city of Kotka. Clusters of cranes and warehouses do not invite the traveller to linger. But even those intent only on reaching Russia should pause, for just north of Kotka is a remarkable Russian diversion.

Langinkoski is well signed. It is a relief to leave the main road, all noise and fumes, so full of trucks pounding east towards the border. Within a few minutes, the road to Langinkoski dips down through the Finnish forest to the Kymi river where, at the right time of the year, you can watch the salmon leap the rapids.

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