The Mouth of God

This is a video of a 15km run from my ‘Runography’ series, from my starting point in my home-away-from-home, the city of Caldas da Rainha, through some farmlands and forest trails, to an absolutely stunning destination on the Atlantic coast, a spot I now personally call the ‘Mouth of God’.

Life force vibrating.

Medulla Oblongata,

through it flows your love.

The Mouth of God | Jyri Manninen

This very special place is the narrow inlet to the bay of São Martinho do Porto, a popular tourist town located between Foz do Arelho, at the mouth of the Lagoa de Óbidos, in the south, and Nazaré, the home of European big wave surfing, in the north. Please enjoy the amazing views, including from the top of the massive sand dunes at the start of the Rio Tornado; and I also hope you enjoy the haiku poem (also narrated in the video), which I wrote as a dedication to this unforgettable experience.

Be blessed,

Jyri

The ‘Mouth of God’.

Good Success!

This is the brief documentary of one of my favourite runs ever, a 34km one from the surf mecca of Baleal on the Portuguese Silver Coast to the major inland urban centre of Caldas da Rainha, well known for its famous thermal spa hospital. The first 16km leg of the journey saw me moving north along the Atlantic coastline to Bom Sucesso (lit. ’good success’), which is located on the northern banks of the mouth of the Lagoa de Óbidos (Óbidos lagoon).

After a welcome lunch break, I headed off on the second leg of 18km, following the nature trail that hugs the lagoon’s shoreline. As I left the lagoon behind me, I climbed to the hilltop village of Arelho. From the high vantage point at the Arelho village church, I took a brief moment to reflect on the trails that I had just covered, with a panoramic view looking back over the entire lagoon, which was fortuitously accompanied by the ringing of the church bells!

After leaving Arelho, I entered into some serene countryside, basking in solitude in the blazing late afternoon sun, as I meandered through forests and farmlands to finally reach my destination at the municipal square of Caldas da Rainha.

Thank you for sharing this running adventure with me, and be blessed,

Jyri

Golden sunset at Caldas da Rainha

Suotaival & the Friendship Inn

Torronsuo would be the third National Park that I would visit on this maiden vanlife journey. It’s located between the towns of Forssa and Somero, and covers an area of 25.5 square kilometres. This swamp area, which was declared a national park in 1990, is a typical ombotrophic raised swamp. From the ancient Greek word ómvros, which means ‘rain’, these kinds of swamps or bogs receive all of their nutrients from the rain, rather than from streams or springs.

The Torronsuo bog has a thick turf layer with its middle part raised above its edges. The turf layer is, in fact, one of the thickest measured amongst all Finnish bogs, even up to 12 metres in some parts. The habitat is a valuable home for many species of birdlife and butterflies, with roughly a hundred species nesting there. I set out to explore the main areas of the swamp by walking the 8.5km Suotaival loop, which literally translates as ‘Swamp Passage’.

‘Suotaival’ by Jyri Manninen

After completing the Suotaival in the mid afternoon, I headed off to what would be my final destination on this first ever vanlife trip, the Ystävyyden Majatalo, or the Friendship Inn, which was established in 1988, as a place to offer people with, essentially, life guidance and support services. Originally, the inn was the Kruusila dairy, before then becoming a holiday home for the Suomen Pienviljelijät (Small Farmers of Finland organisation) prior to the change in 1988.

Ystävyyden Majatalo – the Frienship Inn

It’s possible to go and live there as a house resident while receiving the needed help. While doing so, these residents do voluntary work to not only maintain the premises, but also for supporting the needs of other visitors and guests, such as when various kinds of retreats and other events are organised there. I had, myself, spent several months here in late 2016, early 2017, to, essentially, get realigned after the end of an 18 year marriage; and things obviously worked out rather well, as I’ve never felt better about life. I’m now much better focused on directly my energy towards the people and things of true and meaningful substance. It’s actually where the spark and confidence to openly throw caution to the wind first manifested in my heart, to start my camino, bicycle touring and, now, vanlife adventures.

To every single person that has ever supported me, no matter how great or small, I dedicate this video to you, as well as to Puuma, the now passed-on Majatalo house cat, who would, through his amazingly calm and gentle demeanour, infect all those graced by his presence with that same peacefulness and the simple joy of just being. Thank you, and I’ll see you again then in the next one. Be blessed.

Here lies ‘Puuma’.