When my Finnish friend Reetta invited me over to visit her in Finland, I didn’t have to think twice about going there. After all the intriguing stories about Finnish nature, people and customs I was excited to experience all these things first hand. The one thing that struck me most about Finland is the quietness of its nature and cities. Of course I knew that Finland was not so densely populated as The Netherlands, but I guess I just couldn’t imagine what it would look and feel like until I experienced it myself.
The first days in Finland were spent at the summer cottage of Reetta’s – very friendly and hospitable(!) – father. Like all Finnish summer cottages the cottage was near a lake, surrounded by forests and – most importantly – equipped with a sauna.
During the day we would be picking blueberries in the forest and kayaking on the lake, which opened up more and more after each time we would move around another bend. During our kayakking trip we stopped by a small island to enjoy the blueberry pie (mustikkapiirakka) we made the day before.
In the evening there was sauna, and swimming, and then even more sauna and swimming. This definitely was the most magical part of my trip to Finland. Quietly swimming in this big motionless lake with the sun slowly setting and while the small lights of nearby cottages start flickering through the trees at the other side of the lake..
Before travelling back to Helsinki, where I would spend the rest of the holiday, I joined Reetta and her very kind and sweet mom for a hike through one of Finlands many forests. Back in Helsinki I spent the days strolling the streets, paying a visit to Suomenlinna and I had a day trip to the charming old town of Porvoo and the national park of Nuuksio.