On Tuesday morning, I took the train to Karjaa station where Aino would pick me up to go to the Raasepori Castle Ruin, the last Lights on! Project site I hadn’t seen yet. She had to present the site to a group of Estonians and it was a good occasion for me to visit it too! 🙂
She had told me the day before that I should take warm clothes, as it was freezing outside, and she was right, the weather here is getting colder and colder (fortunately, Nina told me she had prepared some winter clothes for me and that I would look like an Eskimo, I don’t really know what I should expect… 😀 ). We had a quick lunch during which Aino told me a bit more about Metsähallitus (as she works for them), it was really interesting and I love what they do! Always slow when I eat, I had to hurry up a bit because the group was expected to arrive at 12. I noticed on some of the road signs that it was first written in Swedish, Aino told me it was because in this area, there were more Swedish speakers than Finnish ones.
In Raseborg, I met again Anne (I had met her during the entrepreneurs tour 🙂 ) and she showed us the place where she welcomes visitors, the Castle Guard’s lodge. It’s a lovely café-restaurant in which visitors usually like going after their visit of the castle ruin. They try to use only local products which is really great 🙂 .
When the Estonian group arrived, Anne first made a presentation of her work (in English 🙂 ). With her team, they organize many activities including dramatic guided tours, medieval time travel tour for children, rental of dresses in medieval style, storytelling and so on. Always with the possibility to book a lunch at the Castle Guard’s Lodge http://www.linnanvouti.fi/en/. I was surprised by how active they are and by the number of visitors they have (several thousands, among which lots of school groups). The team is very creative, particularly to make the visit interesting to children by encouraging them to participate 🙂 .
Then, we headed for the castle ruin, it is quite impressive when you see it from below. There’s a gangway to reach the inside of the castle, the autumn colors gave it a lot of charm 🙂 .
We did a quick tour as the group didn’t have much time (but they took time to take pictures and Aino was kind of trying to hurry them up to be able to show them everything, it was funny 🙂 ). Initially, those ruins were in really poor condition, overgrown with trees and vegetation all around and a lot of work to do. Since the late 19th century, different restoration stages were undertook and went on until 1988. No more restorations are planned nowadays, the Raseborg Castle Ruin will stay in its actual state.
There are some platforms that allow visitors to have a big picture of the ruins, and a beautiful view over the forest at the top of the only tower left. The ruins are beautiful and I’m sure people enjoy just walking over there, but so many things happened in this castle (there are also plenty of tales), and they would be surely interested in knowing all those stories. This is one of the challenges of the Lights on! Project, creating an interpretation that would make visitors feel involved, linked and interested in what happened centuries ago in this castle. So that all the stories behind these ruins would be kept alive 🙂 .
On site, you can have information via QR Code or NFC system, I had never heard about the second one, you have to activate it and put your phone close to the little noticeboard and it opens a webpage with more information (if you have wifi, which I hadn’t over there 🙂 ) . I particularly liked the Hall of Knights, the largest room in the castle, as you can imagine people living in the Middle Ages having dinner there, around long tables. Nowadays, it is possible to organize parties, birthdays or still weddings in that part of the castle ruin. Many people have marked their presence by drawing or writting their names on the handrails 🙂 .
As this visit had been quite quick, Aino and I went back again in the castle after they left. We talked a lot about the Lights on! Project and about the archaeological researches that had been undertaken here in Raseborg (they have found many objects dating back centuries ago, and which give many important information regarding life in and around the castle at that time). There are still many things to be discovered and every summer, archaeologists find new pieces which complete little by little the castle’s history. This is exciting 🙂 .
Each one of the Lights on! sites I’ve discovered has something particular, and they are all worth the visit. Of course, as there’s not that much left of the constructions, a big work has to be done regarding the interpretation, giving a meaning to these sites and their rich political histories linked to power. But many ideas have already been found and I’m sure the final results will be stunning 🙂 .
I have now seen the 8 sites and it will help me to make progress in my to do list for this project (big list, still growing sometimes 😮 😀 ).
I also have my Belgian university courses to work for (Apua!), my Finnish course here to follow, still one or two trips to plan, and moreover, some new friends to spend time with (to relax sometimes), without forgetting some Skype sessions with family and friends who really miss me in Belgium (just kidding, I miss them too 🙂 ) and everyday life stuff like laundry and cleaning (+ sleeping). So I’m sure I won’t have time at all to get bored until the end of my stay! 😀