Hello! I am Ranvis, the Random Visitor. I report on FinnGuru’s blog every now and then about the weird and wonderful Finnish experiences from a foreign visitor’s viewpoint. And BOY is there a lot to wonder about here…!
Around Midsummer in June I noticed that the town I live in suddenly fell silent. The streets were empty, no-one to be seen anywhere… A Finnish friend told me there was nothing to worry about: the whole population had disappeared into the forests as they do every summer. To be honest, I found all this quite unconvincing until I was invited to a friend’s summer cottage.
Cottage by the lake
I must confess I was a bit shocked to find my friend and her entire family happily living in what seemed like a hut on the bank of a lake. They had a nice house with all the mod cons in the outskirts of a town, so why would they want to give all that up? They needed to chop wood to heat the cottage and heat water on the stove to wash dishes. And the outhouse… Do people actually do this for fun?!
And then I settled down and allowed my friend to show me how they lived in their summer cottage. I noticed that most of the activities seemed to take place outside, and usually by the lakeshore. The children spent most of the day in the water, playing, splashing and swimming. Lunch was prepared on a barbeque and served on the deck beside the sauna. I was sitting there and enjoying my grilled wings while soaking in the sun and watching the serene lake scenery, and I started to understand…
Wonders of summer cottage life revieled
After lunch the children took me angling. They did have one spinning rod, but I was given an old-fashioned fishing rod made of bamboo. And I caught a couple of perches! Together with the fish the children caught we had enough for a fish soup we would eat for dinner. But before that there was sauna, of course. I don’t think I have ever enjoyed anything as much as dipping into the cool lake after the hot löyly!
After sauna and dinner, we sat around the fireplace in the cottage. All mobile devices were off, and we just relaxed and talked until it was impossible to stay awake. I had been prepared a bed in a granary next to the cottage, ‘aitta’ as the Finns call it. The mosquito net that covered the narrow window of the aitta kept me safe from unwanted visitors. The night air was cool and fresh, and I think I was fast asleep even before my head hit the soft pillow.
After this experience I realized I had never heard so much laughter in Finland before. I no longer wonder why the Finns have been named the happiest people in the world! Why on earth would you stay in the hot city if you have an option like this? And if you are a visitor like me but don’t have a Finnish friend whose cottage you could visit, you can book a summer cottage of your own. And don’t worry, many of the cottages available DO have mod cons…!
But my expedition continues, see you later!
Ranvis, the Random Visitor, reports in FinnGuru’s blog every now and then about the weird and wonderful Finnish experiences from a foreign visitor’s viewpoint.
* You can experience a seaside sauna without having to book a summer cottage. Check out our Wellness program Sauna by the Sea through here.