Category Archives: FINLAND

Turku, Finland. In July.


Finland Revisited. A Good Idea It Turned Out To Be, Too.

“Aaah, my favorite people from Karlsruhe!” Jukka says when meeting us for the second time. “How are you?!?”

And then he notices the bottle: “Aaah, Jack Daniel’s, now that’s interesting!”

While I still wonder how to offer him some or at least tell him we’ve been taking sips directly from the bottle, which is why he might not want any, my husband  simply asks: “Would you like some?”

And while I pretend to be searching for a suitable glass in our plastic shopping box full of stuff, he has a go at it, straight from the bottle. And he tells us a joke about Finns and alcohol before taking his leave for today: “Should you be passing this island in the north tomorrow, do visit us! We’ll be staying in a cabin and it has a sauna. Have you done the Finnish sauna before?!? No? Well, you are welcome.”

“Kiitos,” we thank him and promise to drop by should we find ourselves in their neck of the Kolovesi area.

“They arrived at this island at ten and at midnight, I decided to go and ask them politely not to be so loud, because we needed our sleep, there was a lot of paddling to be done the next day. But when I approached them they simply asked me whether I’d like to eat some fish, so I said yes. And I couldn’t really tell them to be quiet after that, could I?” a nice Dutch lady confesses. “They said that was what they did for fun: paddle, catch fish, eat and drink and celebrate in the evenings. That’s the Finnish way.”

I nod and smile, being quite happy we had never arrived at the point where I have to tell all those lovely Finns I don’t eat fish. Actually, I was seriously fed up with the all-pervading stench of fish from the day of our arrival, but then I don’t really want to discuss the one dislike I always suffer from during our holidays: fish and sausage stench at fire places and in common kitchens.

“We were even invited to a sauna by some Finnish,” the nice Swiss girls we meet in the evening tell us: “It was really great!”

We’ve been spending the evening mostly laughing about things and live surely does fell good at this point.

“My exam is in September, so I took my learning materials with me, but I haven’t been able to study so far.” I confess to the blond one, who’s just finishing her Bachelor in economy. Some jokes about my learning intentions follow, before she consoles me: “If your exam is in the middle of September, you still have enough time.”

I sure hope so. 😳

“Helsinki? Well, the zoo is nice. And you should visit Tallinn!” we tell them. “It is really worth seeing and you can do it in one day.”

We were only satisfied with having visited Turku and Tampere, this being the Stage Two, when we feel we’ve done our urban duties in a new country and can now concentrate on the really important things in life.

They are both nice cities, and Joensuu and Kotka are nice towns, really, but the best things are to be found in Koloveden. In Koli. In Patvinsuo.

Sorry I don’t feel able to describe them …

I will offer you a photo or two in the days to come, though.

Teasers To Go.



How I Found Out I Liked The Finns

I unscrew the bottle cap without paying attention and the next moment the water goes “bzzzzzzztt”, I go “aaaaaaahhhhhh” and my husband is looking at me, all wet. He’s also obviously dying of laughter, everyone else on the bus is giggling their heads off and I am laughing with them as soon as I realize what has just happened. I can’t believe I have just made a whole bus full of Finns giggle like crazy. And my poor wet husband, too. All because there was too much gas in my water bottle on a really hot day in a crowded bus leaving the Vuosaari Harbour…

We take the next metro and a man with a child takes a seat near us. His ruddy cheeks suggest he’s been proving his Finnishness vigorously that day (aka. drinking) and soon, he wants to know where we’re from. Oh, Germany, he’s got relatives in Hamburg, he tells us in German.  We tell him we’re tourists and planning to visit Tallinn the next day, which prompts him to show his enthusiasm for the Estonian capital. The beer is much cheaper there and the weather is much nicer and warmer than in Helsinki, he tells us.  I don’t remember when was the last time I found a drunk person that nice – solely because of their behaviour and being sober myself, that is.

On a bus again the next night, tired after our trip to Tallinn. It’s past midnight and it’s Big Party Time in Helsinki. Continue reading

No, pa še o veslanju na Finskem moram kakšno reči.

Najbolje bo, da bistvo zapisa navedem kar na začetku: pri veslanju na Finskem sva naredila kar tri neumnosti, ki bi se lahko končale veliko slabše, kot pa so se. Se pravi, da si z vso pravico rečeva “srečkoviča” in nikakor ne pozabiva omeniti še obljube “nikoli več”.

Na primer veslanje v dežju in hudem vetru po visokih valovih, ki bi se jih v preteklosti vsekakor izognila. Z novim čolnom, ki ga še nisva povsem vajena. Ki ga krmili samo dragi, z vesli, z veliko preveč napora. Bolj sem gledala okrog sebe, manj mi je bilo jasno, odkod točno prihajajo valovi in kako to, da se čoln že zdavnaj ni zvrnil. Predvidevam, da je tudi edini jadralec, ki sva ga srečala, pomislil, da sva čisto nora.

(slika je nastala, ko so se ta zares hudi valovi že malce pomirili) Continue reading

Birdwatching in Finland

I am not sure this should be called birdwatching at all … OK, so we spent a lot of time on the birdwatching tower at Siikalahti, a most beautiful and interesting place full of lovely birds worth waiting for. We also visited other towers built for this purpose and we spent a lot of time paddling around, binoculars and cameras ready for a quick grab.

On many occasions, it felt as if we were … don’t know: bird paparazzi, and not birdwatchers. I mean: in Finland, birds will simply drop by and pose for a lovely photo or five. Little do they seem to know how rarely they are seen in our south, how totally new or exotic they may appear to us for that reason and how much excitement they are causing by their nonchalance …

The Black-Throated Loon for example: we had days to spend observing a family of those beautiful arctic birds swimming around in their home area.

Or the Horned Grebe (aka the Slavonian Grebe): Continue reading

V sredo pa lepo besedo


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Ponedeljkovo finskovanje

Ena od stvari, ki tudi tokrat ni igrala pomembne vloge v najinem načrtu za dober dopust, je bila hrana za dol past. Kot po navadi sva namreč s sabo vzela tudi sestavine za vsaj en topel obrok na dan in kup drugih zadev, ki so nama olajšale gibanje v naravi.

Kar pa nikakor ne pomeni, da na Finskem in v Estoniji nisva dobro jedla.

O Talinu sem že pisala, o Fincih pa sva najprej ugotovila, da imajo resnično zelo radi klobase. Zgleda pa, da imajo radi tudi medvedje in jelenje meso:

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Kleingeschwätzeltes am Freitag / Petkove čvečkarije

“Here’s your punch,” erkläre ich dem verzweifelt und zugleich siegesbewusst drein blickenden Briten und gebe ihm die Kamera zurück. “I made two photos, just in case.”

“I’d really wanted to punch the guy. I’d wanted it very much.” Ich lache verständnisvoll und wir lassen den sympathischen Rotschopf in Ruhe.

Was soll man da schon sagen? Wenn man gar keine Ahnung von der Musik hat, weiß man ja nicht, wieso andere Jean Sibelius so sehr hassen, dass sie in Helsinki extra dabei fotografiert werden wollen, wie sie ihm eine reinhauen.

Und überhaupt: ist es nun gut, keine Ahnung von der klassischen Musik zu haben, weil man dann ja keinem reinhauen muss, oder ist es schlecht, weil man da echt was verpasst?!?

Grübelnd bewundere ich die verzierten Röhre des Sibelius-Monuments. Sie sehen wunderschön aus, in diesem Sonnenschein.

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Learning Finnish the natural way :-)

1. “We call them kyykäärme in Finnish. They are the only poisonous snakes in Finland.” Our neighbour on the bird-watching tower at Siikalahti decided to share this information after I had warned her and her companion there were three venomous snakes underneath us, one climbing the steps to the second level of our three-level tower. “Das ist eine Kreuzotter,” said my Hubby, explaining about the narrow slits in its eyes. Only back at home will I find out what we call the snake in my mother tongue. After all, this is my first venomous snake ever. And it’s called “gad” in Slovenia (and “adder” or “viper” in English).

2. “Seksi? Or is it saksi?” I try to show interest for the impermeable Finnish language by pointing at the picture of an osprey and the Finnish word underneath it. Sääksi. “It’s seeksi,” our new bird-watching friends say and I repeat: “Sääksi.” They seem to look satisfied.

3. “I bet this word means Satan,” I say with some conviction, not knowing where I got this information. I mean: this is definitely my first time ever at a Helsinki campsite watching and listening to Finnish heavy metal fans screaming or screeching “Perkele! Perkele! Peeeerkeleeee!” at the top of their voices. Yeah, the Tuska Open Air Metal Festival has become something to hate that night …

Ah, the pleasure of spending your holiday in a country where you don’t understand anything! 😆 Continue reading