It has already been ten days since I returned to Paris but I am still nostalgic about Finland and the summer house. It feels that everyone I know is having the most amazing time by lake or sea, enjoying the heat wave and temperatures hovering around 30C, and I am “just in Paris”. It has upset me to receive text messages from my father saying that our lake (that is big and deep!) measures 27C. That is the usual temperature of the Mediterranean and not a lake half way between Helsinki and Lapland…!
So, now that you are convinced that weather-wise Finland is the new Côte d’Azur, you must be wondering what it is that makes me so nostalgic. Well, this is the list upon which I have been pondering. The accent will be on the summer house because this is where I spend my time when in Finland in summer.
1. The most peaceful place on the planet
A Finnish summer house is probably the most calm and peaceful place on this planet if we ignore the poles, some Pacific islands and Greenland of course. The life revolves around breakfast, checking fishing nets, swimming, reading magazines, wood cutting, lunch, siesta, raking leaves, wood cutting (again), heating the sauna, preparing dinner, checking the nets (again), sauna, swimming and dinner. The daily life follows a routine, but a fun routine that calms even the most agitated urban dweller (like a Parisian!). In my book, the summer house is comparable to yoga retreats.
Summer houses, in most cases, come with a private beach. Our beach is relatively small, but it is ours. In addition to us, only birds use it sometimes.
We have some neighbors to the left side but to the right there are only willows. But even in more populated areas of Finland there never are too many people –after all there are only 18 inhabitants per square kilometer in Finland (for example, the UK has 265!).
Sometimes if we want even more privacy, we take the boat and visit one of the many islands of the lake to play Robinson Crusoe!
3. The nature
If you get tired of the lake, there is always forest nearby. We have some behind the summer house.
My mother says that there is nothing as beautiful as the Finnish forest, especially after rain, and I sort of have to agree with her. It is a different kind of beauty, the beauty I grew up with, so it is only natural I find it comforting… But who wouldn’t feel rejuvenated after watching these eighty-year old trees?
4. The weather
My French husband thinks we the Finns are obsessed with the weather, but I guess it is normal considering that there are pretty extreme and unpredictable weather conditions in Finland… For example, when my husband arrived at the summer house last summer the weather changed from semi-tropical 27C to miserable 8C….. Enough to put a Parisian in a bad mood!
This summer we were particularly lucky. The temperature in the shadow was consistently around 25C and sometimes a bit more. The lake measured 22C during my stay, which is a lot. We were very lucky and I would have liked to enjoy more of that wonderful weather. Since my departure it has gotten even hotter, and if I remember correctly this summer’s record in Finland has been 32.5C. That is a lot for such a northern country!
5. The amount of sunlight
Whenever I return to Finland in summer I am astonished by the amount of sunlight there is. Even when the sun sets, it stays so close to the horizon that one doesn’t know if the sun is about to rise again. It doesn’t get pitch black in Finland in summer, and well, it doesn’t really get dark at all! Finnish Lake at Midnight is quite something! I would say it is the eight natural wonder of the world.
I would usually go to bed around midnight (it is difficult to go to bed when the night has not arrived!) and I would be woken up three hours later by the sun’s rays… I actually never got up to take photos of the sunrises but I am sure this is the moment when the animals wake up, moose cross the fields and bears take a deep breath while turning to the other side.
Note: There are over 500,000 summer houses in Finland so one can imagine that each one of them has a life and a personality of its own. What I described above is a personal story about my relationship with our summer house. But why not to visit Finland and create your own love story?
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