Mekaanisen Musiikin Muse
Mekaanisen Musiikin Muse information
Mekaanisen Musiikin Muse is Varkaus’s stand-out attraction. ‘You must understand’, says the personable owner, ‘it’s not a normal museum; more a madhouse’. A truly astonishing collection of musical instruments ranges from a ghostly keyboard-tinkling Steinway piano to a robotic violinist to a full-scale orchestra emanating from a large cabinet. This is just the beginning; political cabaret in several languages and an overwhelming sense of good humour and imagination make it a cross between a Victorian theatre and Wonka’s chocolate factory. Having a coffee outside under the steely gaze of sizeable macaws seems like a return to normality. The museum is signposted 1km west of the main north– south highway and also provides tourist information.
Varkaus has a few places to stay. Turn left out of the bus and train station, then left again across the bridge to reach Hotelli Joutsenkulma . Reception is up the back of a low-key local drinking den, but the modern rooms have zippy silver sheets and a big comfy armchair as well as plenty of space.
Most eateries are around the kauppatori, 1km east of the station (head for the factory chimneys). The best is Kaks Ruusua in a fine old building across the street from the pulp complex. It does all-day service as a popular cafe and offers a cheap lunch buffet and tasty dinners in the early evening.
Daily FlyBe flights connect Helsinki with Varkaus except in high summer. Keskusliikenneasema is the central station, which includes the train and bus terminals. Frequent trains run east to Joensuu (€17.10, 1½ hours), and west to Pieksämäki (€6.60, 30 minutes), where you can change for westbound, southbound or northbound services.