Today I took a short trip 36 km north of Oulu to the town of Ii. The town name is pronounced EE and since the I is doubled, the vowel sound is held longer. Ii has a population of 6500 and is on the west coast at the mouth of the Iijoki ( = Ii River). Train service was discontinued in 2006 due to the low number of passengers, yet one can take a bus from this bus stop:
and on this bus:
The first thing I did was check out the library. I arrived at 10.05 after a 55-minute bus ride and I knew that the library didn’t open until noon. A sign outside said that the magazine reading room was open so I took a quick look inside, knowing that I would return at noon to see the books:
Iijoki is still frozen yet the ice is melting and cracking up. I stood by the icy shore and watched some chunks race by, crashing into the jammed ice:
On the shoreline between the library and the municipal office is this sculpture by Sanna Koivisto:
Its name is Iijoen uitolle, which translates to For the Ii log floaters.
I mailed my postcards from this post office:
When I returned to the library after taking a tour of the small downtown and the post office, I looked for books on local history. I always check out the languages section for sure, but I like local history and I can often find books about the place I am visiting. No matter how small the place, there’s usually a book about it and libraries will have it, even if it is out of print. Now I haven’t written about any of the books I have bought (I have found quite a few treasures at a second-hand shop in Helsinki) because my habit is to scan the covers first and then write about them. This time I will write about a book that I fell in love with at the Ii library. It was a large hardcover entitled Iin kuva — Image of Ii by Mauri Hietala and was published by the Municipality of Ii in 2006. Text in Finnish and English, and full of photos of the town. Fat chance I would find it for sale anywhere, but I asked the library staff anyway. It pays to ask: the kunnanvirasto, or municipal office next door, should have them for sale. I went to the receptionist there and asked if I could still buy it. She lit up and said yes–and brought me their last copy. There were others, just not in the receptionist’s office at that time. I went from one minute loving every page I turned to owning it the next. When I return from vacation you will see a scan of its cover.
Coat of arms of Ii municipality, outside the kunnanvirasto:
Some Ii houses: