I have been quiet for a while – first I had a very busy week at work and right after that – early in Friday afternoon – I escaped Helsinki and headed towards countryside. I spent a lovely weekend with friends in very picturesque summer cottage and this is what I am going to write now. But before my stories of Finnish cottage life I have to tell why the writing is a week late – on Sunday I flew to Italy to spend a week there with my family and closest relatives (and didn’t take my computer with me).
Almost all Finns have some close to them (family or good friends) who own “summer cottage” (mökki in Finnish). Some people spend all their summers at the cottage – some like me visit cottage now and then but not too often. Some cottages are like homes – having dishwasher, fancy bathrooms etc. However, many Finns want to go to summer cottage and escape the hectic life and for them that means living without electricity, fridge or other facilities. If you get the invitation, I recommend you to find out in advance what kind of cottage you are visiting. Even you have visited somebody’s fancy home and you know the person is well off, it doesn’t necessarily tell anything about how well the cottage is equipped. I also always recommend to give some praises of one’s cottage – quite often people have very strong emotional bond for the place.
Most summer cottages are by the lake or sea – part of cottage living is swimming, fishing and admiring the nature. I think in every summer cottage there is a sauna and it is tradition to warm sauna every night. Since it was pretty chilly during my visit, sauna was great in the evenings. My friends swam in the lake after heating up in sauna (even it was freezing at nights…) but I didn’t, too cold for me! However, I enjoyed so much admiring the stars (in the middle of forest you can really see the stars well!) when cooling off the heat in darkness. And I had fun watching my friends swimming in cold water.
Besides sauna, we cooked delicious food, hiked in the forest, admired migratory birds (lots of them, I guess they had some kind of gathering before flying to south far away from soon wintery Finland) and played tennis. Tennis court is not a “must be” in summer cottage like sauna, but luckily there was one in this cottage. I must to admit – admiring the lake view at the same time than playing tennis is awesome!
Since most of the cottages are in the countryside, normally you need a car to reach one. However this time we took a bus from Helsinki and had a good 5 kilometers walk to cottage both ways from the bus stop. Sun was shining so we really enjoyed the walk. And I have to say – after admiring quiet Finnish cottage life it was just fantastic fly to hectic Rome and explore something totally different!