Michael Cramer is cited in a Finnish newspaper

16.03.2012: Toni Degerlund writes in the Finnish newspaper "UUTISVUOKSI" about Michael Cramer and the Iron Curtail Trail.

ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF THE ARTICLE: TOURISTS ALONG THE BORDERLINE OF THE IRON CURTAIN BIKING TRAIL (Toni Degerlund, Uutisvuoksi 16.3.2012)

  • For nearly 40 years, Europe was divided not only politically but also ideologically by the Iron Curtain.
  • It is now possible to cycle along the borderline of the former Iron Curtain from one end to the other, and Imatra is one of the most interesting destinations along the trail.

South-Karelia is one of the most attracting destinations along the Iron Curtain Trail. The entire trail is approximately 9000 kilometers long. The longest part of the trail goes along the 1550 kilometers external border of Finland. Michael Cramer from Berlin spoke in Imatra Spa about the progress of developing this cycle trail.

The route has been constructed little by little. During last summer Cramer's son and his two friends biked across Finland all the way to Saint Petersburg. The group of three contributed to this project by reporting on their experiences.

"In Finland, it is possible to camp nearly anywhere. In addition, there are a lot of other ways to find accomodation. People are really friendly and the best thing is that you may find a sauna anywhere on the way", Michael Cramer jokes.

It is important not to forget the cold war and the history related to it. The district of Imatra offers one of the best natural environments for the trail. The South-Karelia region and its Imatra district are extremely interesting from the perspective of experiencing the trail as it goes along the former border. "It is possible to see the Russian watchtowers with your own eyes while you are surrounded by unbelievably beautiful nature. The combination of nature, history and politics is what makes the trail so interesting", Cramer emphasizes.

Due to formalities and stiff bureaucracy, the border between Finland and Russia is rather complicated to cross in some cases. Yet, the German member of the European Parliament believes that things are about to become easier. "I believe and I hope that in future things become easier. I am living in Berlin since 1974. In these days, no one believed that the Berlin wall would ever be torn down. So, as a Berlin citizen, I am very optimistic about this", Cramer states.

Mikko Ikävalko, Health and Fitness Expert in South Karelia Sport Federation "Etelä-Karjalan Liikunta ja Urheilu" believes that this project is a huge potential for the local tourism. "Germany is a country with 80 million inhabitants with many fanatic cyclists. Attracting just one percent of those people to cycle here during the summer would lead to a high number of travelers", emphasizes Ikävalko. South-Karelia focuses its marketing efforts primarily towards the eastern part of Europe. However, the west should not be forgotten either. We should bear in mind that we have a straight flight connection to Central Europe. We shouldn’t forget the possible volumes of tourists from the West", states Ikävalko.

Cycling tourism is steadily increasing in Central Europe. Michael Cramer has a simple explanation for this: "You may cycle from one place to another fast enough in order to see a lot, but at the same time also slow enough in order to look at everything. By car that would not be possible", Cramer states. The 62-year old German active cyclist is planning to cycle all along the trail next summer. "Most parts of the trail in Central Europe and the Baltic countries I have already completed. Next summer I am planning to cycle along the remaining parts", promises Cramer.

Find here the original Finnish article.