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Bicycle trip in Verla
When in Kouvola… be sure to visit the historical wood mill village of Verla. It gives an excellent picture of what the region is about historically when it comes to natural resources: the combination of wood (timber) and water power. It is also provides a great opportunity to go on a bicycle trip, combining a cultural/social history experience and a physical workout.
Google Maps suggests two different bicycle routes from Kouvola to Verla: one western route via Kuusankoski and Oravala and one eastern route via Valkeala. The western route is shorter and more bicycle-friendly than the eastern route, which is slightly longer and a bit more adventurous with some mud and a few timber trailers along the way. Either route will take more or less 1.5-2 hours to pedal, about 60 km in total.
Verla is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in a beautiful setting. The main attraction is arguably a guided tour-only exhibition (12 euro charge) of the mill itself showing different wood processing techniques, but equally interesting (and totally free of charge) is it to just stroll around in the surrounding area. There’s plenty to see within a short distance: exhibitions about worker’s housing and manual log driving of the past, as well as the bio-economy of the future, etc. Also some design and handicraft workshops and a small hen house. There’s even a prehistoric rock painting from the hunter-gatherer era, indicating that this place has been a hotspot for a very long time. A small café restaurant is serving lunch, cookies and ice cream.