Thursday, January 29, 2009

More about Varkaus

I'll open today's posting with a few shots of the stately evergreen trees of Finland, to which I referred last night. These are on the Savonia University campus.

Here is my host, Professor Tuula Linnas, who arranged with Fulbright-Finland my invitation to Varkaus for this week.

I have, since posting yesterday, learned that there is a small downhill skiing facility in Varkaus. It is not a mountain, but it is a high-enough hill to allow one to learn the fundamentals of downhill skiing. Tuula drove me today to see the city's remarkable Museum of Mechanical Music, and on the way back to the apartment on the Savonia U. campus, she pointed out the lighted ski runs.

The Museum of Mechanical Music is run by an expatriot German named Jurgen Kempf, who is my age, and who moved to Finland some 25 years ago. He has since then made a career of finding, fixing, researching and displaying music boxes, player pianos, and all manner of pre- phonograph music machines for dance halls, and for the drawing rooms of the wealthy of Europe and America in the 19th and Early 20th Centuries. He even has examples of Wurlitzer Juke Boxes of the 1950s that play 78 RPM records. Jurgen, his Finnish wife, and I will be dining together tomorrow night, so I will tell you more about him later on. For now, enjoy the pictures of the amazing machines he has restored to working order.

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