Tag Archives: summer

Finnish summer and sailing

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.

The Finnish summer paradise

As I feel that it is quite easy for us Finns to focus on the “not so good” aspects of Finland (don’t get me wrong – I’m one of this type of people too), this time I wanted to focus on some of the things I love about Finland and the reasons why I appreciate being a Finn.

The summer 2018 has been so amazing here in Finland that it has almost made me forget about the cold, ruthless winter behind. The summer has been exceptionally warm and beautiful, and I have been truly enjoying every second of it. This lead me to think about the things I appreciate in Finland.

So what is one of the best things about Finland to me? Summer cottage. I think that it can be difficult for foreigners to understand how magnificent the summer cottage culture is here in Finland and furthermore to know how it feels to experience the authentic, Finnish summer cottage life.

At least my summer wouldn’t be summer if it didn’t include going to our summer cottage. The place has been close to my heart all my life and I’ve been crawling in its nearby woods and swimming in its waters since I was a small girl. Nowadays the cottage is close to a holy place to me, and the only place that makes me feel 100% relaxed.

Sitting in the sauna, watching a breathtaking view over the lake is something you cannot describe with words. Swimming in the lake after sauna and watching the sunset with its fairy-tale-like colors makes one wonder if it’s heaven or earth where that moment is taking place.

As a place, I believe that summer cottage brings Finns together and makes them closer. Many of the summer cottages in Finland don’t include the luxury of, for example, electricity or water toilets. That’s why people light up candles, read, paint, go fishing or just talk about life. Living without some of the everyday conveniences gives space to so many other activities, which creates a powerful sense of freedom. Visiting a summer cottage is for sure a relaxing, therapeutic experience which would be in place for so many people.

You can probably tell by now that summer is my number 1 favorite time of the year in Finland. That is why I will be quite happy to leave for my exchange in the autumn, and thus escape the dark, cold winter in Finland. I made a promise to myself that one day when I move out of Finland for good, I will visit during the summer time and hopefully will have a summer cottage of my own – that is something I do not want to give up.

The beautiful four seasons

For me what I find most beautiful about Finland is the nature and the constantly changing seasons. I think it’s awesome to live in country with full four seasons and see the changes the seasons have in the nature.  As a Finn I live constantly seeing the seasons change and how the season effect the nature. I think it’s nice that so many cities in Finland have threes in the city. It’s nice because then you can easier follow the change of the seasons.

Because it’s spring right now I think it just right to start with admiring how beautiful spring is in Finland. Spring starts with a little bit of bad weather but I’m always clad that the snow melts away. It’s always lovely to see the plants start to thrive and we can finally start to leave our winter clothes to the closet. We celebrate Easter in spring. I personally think that Finnish Easter celebration is fun for children. When spring is coming to an end the threes are full of green leaves and we are finally ready for the summer and summer vacations.

Finnish summer might not be the warmest but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying the summer. Even when our summer might me little too cold and rainy we still enjoy it. In Finland many families have summer cottages near a lake. If a family doesn’t have their own cottage they might rent one for brief time because it’s part of Finnish summer. It is almost a tradition to go to a summer cottage for Juhannus. The other Juhannus tradition is to go to a music festival. Music festivals are also a big part of our summer. There is so many that I think almost every music genre has their own music festival in Finland. Finnish summer is not about the warmest weather it’s about the ability to enjoy the even a slightly warmer weather. And of course, the lovely colorful nature.

When you get bored of the warm and sunny weather finally comes the fall. Leaves start to fall and it’s starting to get colder and it’s going to rain but not too much. When all the leaves have fallen you just know or hope that it’s going to start snowing soon. I think the fall weather is the best weather for jogging and running. It is not too hot and not too cold. During fall you are just waiting for winter.

Even though winter is cold in summer. Everyone waits for it. Almost everyone has that one winter sport they do. During winter there is so many different sports you can do. For children I think winter is a wonderful time of the year because it’s so fun to play in the snow. Not everyone likes winter but everyone wants to have snow during Christmas. When we don’t have snow during Christmas that doesn’t stop us from having a great Christmas. I love to spend Christmas with my family and it’s our tradition to spend our Christmas with family. I think this is almost every family’s tradition in Finland.

At the end of winter everybody is already waiting for spring and summer.  But when summer end everybody is already waiting for winter and Christmas. I think this is the most beautiful part in Finland, the four seasons and how our lives revolve around the four seasons. I don’t think I could live in a country where there is constantly warm. I want to experience all  the four seasons and admire their beauty and in Finland I can do that.

 

I wish it was Finnish summer already!

It might often seem to foreign people that Finns are a bit cold and quiet people. I am not at all surprised, since we hardly ever speak to people we don’t know, especially to foreigners. It is very common to us to travel in public transportations and not say a word to one another but that is just the way we are; we like our own space. I don’t think it is because we are cold, it is just that we are a bit shy and might often have preconceptions, especially for people from other countries.

I think it would be very helpful for us Finns to get out of this country to travel. Once we open our eyes to other cultures, we can learn and enrich our way of seeing things. Then we might understand why we can seem a bit odd folk to some foreigners.

In my opinion we are ultimately a friendly and kind nation, if you only give us time to get to know us.

Nevertheless, I love my home country. It is in my mind a safe haven. In Finland we recently celebrated our 100th anniversary of Independence. I am thankful and proud to say that I am a Finn. We have a beautiful nature with all four different seasons. My favourite season is the Finnish summer, which is always too short in my opinion. People are the most energetic and generally just happy in the summer time. Summer is the time when people spend the most time outside, enjoying the long days with lots light and warm weather. There are a lot of things to do for people in the summer. You can enjoy different events through the summer all over the country, for example different music festivals.

 

Summer and Sauna

In the summer we Finns spend a lot of time at Summer cottages. We spend all day outside enjoying the sunlight; go to the lake fishing, do gardening, grill food, warm up the sauna and sometimes also “palju” if you happen to have one in your summer cottage. The Finnish sauna has a sauna stove that warms up with wood and fire. “Palju” in other hand usually looks like a big barrel that is filled with water that you also warm up with fire and wood. It is really kind of like a hot tub but outside, which is really nice since you get to enjoy the beautiful summer nights sitting in the tub.

Picture 1. Midsummer Eve’s night.

 

Midsummer

Every summer we Finns celebrate Midsummer at the end of June. Midsummer is one of the main national holidays in Finland. In midsummer Eve we celebrate the “nightless night” that basically means that the sun is up almost through the whole day and night. In the northern Finland the sun doesn’t go down at all. Midsummer is typically spent with family and friends at a summer cottage away from the cities. Midsummer traditions consist of lighting bonfires by the lake, going to sauna, barbecuing and playing different games outside. If you happen to stay in the city in Midsummer, it might feel as if the cities have been abandoned since almost everybody leaves their homes to go to the cottages.

Midsummer is usually seen as the beginning of warm summer weather and many Finns start their summer holidays on Midsummer Eve.

Picture 2. Midsummer Eve’s bonfire

Finnishness to me means mostly peace and the feeling of being safe. The Finnish nature is unbelievably beautiful and unique. It keeps on surprising you every time.

I wish it was summer already!

 

Finnish nature

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about Finland is the beautiful nature we have. In Finland we have all four seasons summer, autumn, winter and spring. Summers aren’t that warm here in Finland. During the summer Finns visit their summer cottages, barbeques and enjoy life. In Finland we have so called “yötön yö” which means that sun doesn’t set at all.

Autumn is very beautiful in Finland. Trees turn to red and yellow. It is time to go mushrooming and picking up apples. Autumn is also perfect time to go hikinng.

In Finland we get lots of snow during the winter (at least in the north). Winter is cold and dark. In wintertime we have so called “kaamos” which means that sun doesn’t rise at all. It is the opposite to the “yötön yö” that we have in the summer. We have a lot of winter activities such as skiing, ice-hockey, snowboarding and etc. One very Finnish thing to do in the winter is to go swimming into the frozen lake/river. Finns drill hole into the ice and dips in. It is common to go to sauna to warm up afterwards.

When the spring comes people are very happy, because cold and dark winter is behind us and the summer is coming!

Mökkeily: The Finnish cottage culture

For Finns it’s normal that almost every family owns a cottage on a lake. The cabin can be ether modern with all the luxuries or extremely primitive with no electricity or running water. Or something between those. What combines all these cottages is that they are all places for relaxation and peace of mind.

The relaxation can mean many things. In summer it is things like swimming, playing games, walking in forest, rowing, barbecue or fishing but also yard working such as chopping wood, raking leaves, cleaning, doing maintenance work. In winter the favorites are skiing, skating, toboccan sliding, snowscootering, but also plowing snow. Everyone from children to old people spend time outside regardless of the temperature that can sometimes be as low as -25 °C and even lower in northern Finland.

Oh, and it’s not a cabin at all if there is no sauna. Period. Sauna is often used every evening while staying at the cottage. Finns usually go to sauna naked with close friends or family, although in most cases grown-ups take turns by gender. It is usually a sign of true friendship that you share a sauna together, where you can’t have anything to hide or any things with you that would make you somehow unequal with the other person that shares the space. Especially in summer if the löyly* is starting to feel too hot, we run and jump naked to the lake. Some people like to swim at winter too and a hole is drilled to the ice for it.

A modern cottage in Hauho with all the unnecessary luxuries like electricity and running water.

* Löyly does not only mean the water that is yet to be thrown to the sauna stove, but also the air temperature, moisture, intensity, spirit and even the whole character of the sauna experience. When a sauna is excellent, you can say something like “you get a good löyly there”.

 

A few rules to survive in Finland

Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time I went outside. Yes outside. Big thing for me. Anyway, it’s not a big part of this story. In Finland you need to be really attentive when choosing the time to go outside. (Unless you are brave to threaten the weather by going outside whatever it looks like. I don’t do that very often.) Because the weather changesvery quickly. By quickly I mean in one moment it’s raining cats and dogs and the minute after sun is shining like in Sahara desert. So first rule: choose your timing right.

When I finally got outside I decided to go breathe some fresh air at the forest. And because I am me, I don’t like to run at the paths made for running. So I decided to try some lame rock-climbing, because I thought over the hill would be nice views. I made it to the top and I wasn’t alone. There were naked people sunbathing. Let me tell you, I did not expect that. So I tried to get out the situation as quietly and as fast as possible. The second rule: Do not disturb other people, whatever the situation is. 

 

Here is a nice picture of a rock. Not “the rock”, but a bit smaller one. Also I didn’t dare to take pictures over the hill, you might understand why.

After the shock at the nude hill of Tampere I found myself heading to the shore of Näsijärvi. (Meanwhile eating a ton of blueberries, the real ones, not any fake tasteless ones that the rest of the world eats.) When I reached the shore sun was shining and it was quite warm. I was thinking about going swimming but I didn’t because personally I’m creeped out by underwater rocks. And that particular place where I was, there were plenty of them. You’ve probably heard about sauna, the hot pit where Finns relax naked. After sauna swimming in a lake is a great way to cool down. Rule number three: skinny dipping isn’t a big thing.


In addition, if you hear your Finnish friend drinking alone in their home in underwear, let them be. It’s completely normal, and it becomes more common at wintertime. +Kalsarikännit is a thing.

 

With love,

Pinja

A few things about Finland

Cold, dark and lots of snow; these are the things that pop into most people’s heads when asked about Finland. To me, however, Finland has always been at its best during the summer. There are several jokes about the Finnish summer, like how short it is, but at least it doesn’t snow much, or how last year Finnish summer was on a Tuesday. Still, cold or warm, wet or dry, there’s nothing that compares to it, to me at least. Everyplace is green, and you can literally smell it in the air. Seriously, if you’ve ever wondered what the color green smells like, just come to Finland in the summer.

tampere kesä

 

Still, it is the light that has the biggest effect on people. Or that’s what I think anyway. See, most people remember Finland for how dark it is in the winter, but what they forget is how light it is in the summer. The sun just doesn’t seem to want to do down. It really is in the summer that the Finnish nature, and even more, the Finnish people, come alive. Or maybe that’s just me.

keskiyönaurinko

 

Despite the coldness of our winter – and sometimes the summer as well, there is one food that Finns enjoy more than any other country in Europe, and that’s ice cream. Even if you look at the whole world, we eat more ice cream per person than almost any country in the world, only Americans, Australians, and New Zealanders eat more. We eat approximately 12 liters of ice cream every year, and considering the ice cream “season” only lasts approximately from June to August that is a lot of ice cream to eat. Our ice cream consumption is only rivaled by our coffee consumption, where we are undisputed winners with 10kg per person per year. In Finland, ice cream and coffee are literally their own food groups and during the summer it feels like there isn’t a street corner where you can’t find a hot cup of coffee, and a cold ice cream cone.

vanilja_kenya

Finland is full of large forests and beautiful lakes, and many tourists come here to enjoy the gorgeous nature. Despite that, you shouldn’t ignore the city life in Finland. Our cities seem small to us compared to the metropolises of the rest of the world, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find things to do in Tampere or Helsinki. Finns, just like the rest of the world, are busy, city-dwelling people, not some mystic nation living in the forest, in igloos, communing with wild animals. That isn’t to say we don’t enjoy our beautiful nature and everything it has to offer but sometimes ordering takeout home without having to leave your couch is just as enjoyable.

helsinki

Free-time activities and attitudes in Finland

When finnish people are compared into practically any other folk it is easy to say that we tend to be on our own quiet space. It’s not always good for us but we just like to do it like that.

We can talk if we want to…but we really don’t need to.

I am not sure why we behave like this but reasons are probably buried somewhere to the history..and it’s always good reason to blame the cold weather when feeling a bit anxious.

However i dare to say that there is also relaxed and social side under this calm surface. Especially when this long awaited sun comes out and shines all-day and almost everyday you can find us from outside lurking around parks.

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Finnish summer is full of different kind of activities and gigs and some of them are also free to join for anyone so there will be everything for everyone.

When people gather around to hangout together listening music and dancing then you can easily feel how we tend to loosen up a bit. It is easy to join a group as it is most likely that they’ll welcome you immediately.

                                    IMG_9589

There is nothing better than sitting in a park with a good posse, drinking wine and sharing stories. We love to hear stories from your home country so please tell us everything! We also like to know how do you feel about Finland.

My recommendations are that be brave and go to parks to meet out new people. Especially now when weather is warm and nice then it is easy to get connected especially with younger generation.

If you’re staying Tampere i would suggest that you start from Koskipuisto or Tullintori plaza.

Welcome and i hope you enjoy your stay!

Finished with Finnish behavior?

I have thought about Finnishness a lot. I find our culture and behavior peculiar and interesting: On the other hand I sometimes feel very annoyed with our country and the way we act but on the other hand I’m extremely proud of being born in the great North and I’m always eager to have a chat about Finland.

suomi1

Okey so let’s dig in to my thoughts. These are not facts or proved knowledge. Only my experiences during these past 21 years of wandering around the globe.

People from Finland are cold. You can blame the weather and our inheritance for our behavior, but it’s a cold hard fact (see what I did there? 😀 ) that we Finns are as warm as the summer we have. We usually avoid unnecessary touching and showing affection.

I find it frustrating that in our country you have to give handshakes – not only to new acquaintances but sometimes you have to share this weird habit with relatives or even with some friends. I never thought  handshaking is something natural to human beings and it always feels a bit forced – and the worst part is that it only makes you feel uncomfortable and the situation itself might become even more awkward. Unlike a kiss or a hug might release some tension and create a connection. But you know what’s even more awkward than a lousy handshake? No handshake whatsoever. Sometimes I find myself stuck to a situation where the other person doesn’t seem too interested in meeting you and even the small effort of touching the other person’s hand seems like too much to do.

But when you finally do get to know a Finnish person (even though the part where you meet and get to know to a Finn might be hard)  you’d got yourself a life-long friend. Finnish people are so loyal and honest and they pretty much stick around, no matter what’s the situation.

sisu

Another thing you need to know about Finns is that we are very persistent. We even have a very special word to describe the typical Finnish persistence, sisu. It means being single-minded and relentless. Quitting is something that Finns find unsettling and the job has to be done almost perfectly. This quality is good and bad at the same time: Even I can see this feature in myself even though I’m not the most typical Finn to say the least. I basically never give up and maybe some times it would be better to just say “no” than force yourself to do something unpleasant.

And most importantly. The weather. It’s a really big deal to us. You’d think that we are fine with every type of weather but the reality is actually the exact opposite. We have a tendency to complain about the weather a lot. During summer is either too hot or too rainy. During winter it’s either too warm or too cold. When it’s spring, it’s snowing. And when it’s autumn, it’s dark. This is our circle of life and we should all appreciate it more. When you think about it.. not many countries have that much variety when it comes to weather….

loska

I’m just kidding… The sleet is awful.

Okey, I just realized my list is not too positive. But you should all know Finland is still the greatest country to live in and there’s not enough slush in the world to change my opinion about it.  Imagine, we have

  • opintotuki aka study grants
  • santa claus
  • reindeer
  • mustamakkara aka the black sausage
  • summer houses
  • forests
  • thousands of lakes
  • ice-fishing
  • ice-swimming
  • blonde guys and girls
  • blue eyes
  • rye bread
  • basically no corruption
  • snowmen
  • Finnish Christmas
  • sauna
  • Finnish summer and never ending sunlight
  • oats
  • Karelian pasty
  • one of the best education systems in the whole wide world
  • one of the happiest people in the world!!!! 🙂

sauna

Yes, we are amazing. Keep up the good work Finns!

-Erika