When I first set out to retrace Petronella’s steps across Finland, I was under the impression that she walked straight from Helsinki to Lapland. While that would be pretty impressive, in reality it would not leave nearly enough time for her to accomplish the trouble/fun/adventures that turned her into a legend during the four short months she was in Finland. With the help of Mauno J. Pyhtilä’s “Balladi kauniista Petronellasta – Lemmenjoen legenda,” Martti Peltomaa and Markku Arvelin’s “Petronella – unelma elää!” and the translating help of Tuukka Heikura and Arnold Pieterse, I have done some research and gained a new understanding of Petronella’s journey…and HOT DAMN am I excited about it!
I see my journey happening in two parts:
Part One: Helsinki to Rovaniemi
Part Two: Adventures in Lapland
Part One of Petronella’s journey was spent galavanting around southern Finland. She rubbed elbows with the rich and famous, attended crayfish parties, befriended a dancing French couple, interviewed important people, stayed at (and ditched the bill on) fancy hotels, hopped boats and trains, hitched rides with strangers…the list goes on.
It seems to me that this part of her adventure was driven by the whims of spontaneity and opportunity, so it is only fitting that the first part of my adventure be accomplished in the same spirit.
I have been exploring the known landmarks she visited (and making my own fun in some she didn’t) in Helsinki, Turku, and Kotka. On Thursday, June 26th, with faith in the kindness of strangers and my own two feet to carry me forward, I will walk out of Helsinki headed north to Monikkala and see where the wind takes me. I hope it is upward.