Tuesday, April 3, 2012


In our journey to Karelia we saw the traces left by Vikings, Hanseatic merchants, men of the sword, men of the cross and people of culture. We have now come to the end of our voyage and it is time to say “Farewell” to Karelia.

We thank the readers who have followed us on our journey and Markus Lehtipuu who guided us. We say farewell to the living and the dead whom we encountered on our journey in time and space as we ventured from west to east and back and visited historical sites renowned at different times during a millennium. We saw Karelia’s present: a sadly neglected waste land. We saw shadows of its past: a bountiful nature, a remarkable architecture and a rich literary culture. But we saw no signs of a future better than the present. Longing for the past had replaced hopes for the future.

We felt like passengers on a space ship lost in space unable to either reach its destination or return home. The epic poem Aniara: A Review of Mankind in Time and Space by Swedish writer and Nobel Laureate Harry Martinson – himself a volunteer in the Winter War – contains a ‘Song about Karelia’. In it a doomed passenger recalls his fondest memory of planet earth, to which he will never return. We share this longing to return to a lost home:

Skönast ibland sköna glimtar syns dock skymten av Karelen,
Som ett vattenglim bland träden, som ett ljusnat sommarvatten
i den juniljusa tiden då en kväll knappt hinner skymmas
förrn den träflöjtsklara göken ropar åt den ljuva Aino
att ta dimmans slöja med sig, stiga upp ur junivatten
gå emot den stigna röken, komma till den glada göken,
i det susande Karelen.

Wonder among many wonders is the glimpse of fair Karelia,
like a fleeting flash of water seen through trees one clear June evening,
when the lakes in summer lighten and the dusk has barely settled
e’er the sylvan-fluted cuckoo calls upon the gorgeous Aino
veiled in mist to venture forward, to arise from June’s warm water,
to sneak through the rising vapors and embrace the joyous cuckoo,
in the whispering Karelia.

Per Magnus Wijkman                                Emil Ems
Author                                                        Photographer