What I love most in Finland is sailing in Saaristomeri and Åland archipelago. I usually spend most of my holidays during summertime in sailing boat with our dear friends. We sail and wonder the rough nature of outer sea islands.
One of my favorite islands is Utö, that is located at southern part of Saaristomeri archipelago. The island has a living history of hundreds of years related to seamanship, wrecks, lighthouse and wars.
The lighthouse in Utö is the oldest one in Finland and the island even has the smallest school of whole country. Utö is habited throughout year – there are under 50 people living there. In the history there was no cemetery in Utö, the current one was build in sixties with sand imported from mainland by ships. Before that the locals had to bury loved ones to near by island Jurmo.
The nature of Utö is wonderful – it is one of the best places in Finland to spot birds. Being occupied by Finnish Army until 2005 the nature has been saved from mass of “tourists” spoiling the peace of nature. The pure roughness of the island makes me wonder how the local people survive trough harsh autumn and winter.
During summer time the harshness seems to be gone. There are lots of sailing and motorboats visiting the Utö harbor or anchored in bay between Utö and neighbor island Ornskär. Harbor has a restaurant and a small shop where you can buy basic food. Trekking in both of the islands reveals the beautiful nature and also the lighthouse and old coastal artillery base still standing there.
What is it like to live in Finland? For me it means clean air, quiet green forests, snowy fields and in the summer a sunny archipelago. I absolutely adore my home country when it comes to the peaceful nature where you can escape from the hustle and bustle of the somewhat busy lifestyle. The weather isn’t that nice most of the time, but when it is, you really come to appreciate it and make the most of your time outdoors. You really come to value the little things living in Finland: a little ray of sun in the morning can make your whole day. Everywhere is pretty in the summer and people are beaming happiness. Or some of them, because it’s a common joke that it’s always either too hot or too cold. The Finns are pale most of the year but in the summer they turn red or if they are lucky, get nicely tanned and that’s how you have achieved the most important task in the summer.
Finnish people are pretty quiet but if you start talking to them, you rarely get an ill answer. Still, do not sit next to someone in a bus if there are free seats, that’s one of the most important things you need to learn if you come to visit Finland. It will make everyone cringe. Being a Finn is pretty neat. You get ”free” education and monetary support to your studies from your government. Our education is great compared to other countries and our academic skills are well valued. It’s also really safe here. Top 3 biggest fears, at least for me, are being bitten by snake (which we have 2 kinds of which nether is deadly venomous and are only seen in the nature in summer), killed by a bear (which is really unlikely) or being stabbed (usually involves intoxicating substance usage and debts so for normal citizen this fear is also very unlikely) We really are proud hockey people and we always want to win the Swedish. Besides drinking milk like newborn babies and being coffee addicts, one of our biggest pet peeves is using alcohol – and usually too much of it. Still, I’m lucky to be a Finn and even though in the future I plan to live abroad for a while, I still want to live most of my life in Finland.