Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Jyväskylä: Warming up at Lutakko

As if by a miracle, sun seems to have returned to Jyväskylä, at least for a while, this Sunday. I cross the railroad tracks from Matkakeskus (railway station-cum-coach station) to Lutakko via the pedestrian bridge. My steps echo on the wooden floor which is now wonderfully even; a year ago you felt almost like you were walking on pebbles because the knotty planks were so worn out. The glass walls are decorated by icy lace.
The icy decorations act as a filter but don't block the view to the railroad tracks and Mattilanniemi.
After a walk through Lutakonpuisto park, I reach Lake Jyväsjärvi which is finally covered with ice and a thin layer of snow. This winter has been fairly dark and snowless, filled with grey days... Seeing the sun shine on the frozen lake is a welcome sight.
The sign on the shore reminds you that Swimming is allowed in the designated area (Uiminen sallittu rajatulla alueella). The ice is not at all strong yet so if you dare to take a risk and venture on the ice you actually might end up swimming... I don't think too many people use the outdoor toilets over here but it's great that they are there for emergencies ;-)
How strong is the ice, actually? Looking over the lake, we see one or two people on the ice close to the opposite shore at Suuruspää. They must be icefishers who are sure to check the thickness of the ice rather than risk their life.

I'm simply horrified, not just surprised, when I see a casual walker crossing the lake from Kuokkala to Lutakko. I just don't think it has been cold enough for long enough to be sure that it is already safe to walk there; after all, there are currents below the bridge which make the ice treacherous. Would I dare to go on the ice and help if the walker fell through? Luckily, she makes it on the shore...
I'm still pondering the strength of the ice when I walk around the corner and see a drift of smoke coming from the chimney of the little wooden building on the quay. Great, Kotakahvila coffee shop is already open although the skating season obviously hasn't started yet on the Jyväsjärvi lake! The place is run by students of Tiimiakatemia (Team Academy) whose studies include work as entrepreneurs.
I can't resist the call of a hot drink - coffee, tea, hot chocolate or berry juice available - and a grilled sausage, so better step in. On a day like this it is a real treat to be able to sit in front of an open fire
on reindeer skin, getting warm after a walk in the cold. Just to warm up though, because from here the walk will continue... But not before we've enjoyed a relaxed chat with the friendly staff and other customers of the cosy café.

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