Destinations: Iisalmi & Kangasniemi, Finland
It felt like good old times… +17 degrees and raining. Because it says so in the calendar, never mind the weather, it must be summer. So we grabbed our swimsuits and towels and drove to the nearest lake. It was beautiful. Rain drops breaking the surface of the lake creating little circles. Water was relatively warm, maybe +15 Celsius degrees. No mosquitos or horse flies. Just us, the lake and the rain. Perfect!
Now my dear reader, if you are not a Finn, you’re probably thinking: oh you crazy woman, you just froze your kids and yourself and will definitely catch a flu or something worse! No worries. Finns also swim in winter, either in ice hole or in the snow. So +17 degrees and some summer rain is nothing… You see, you have to understand that Finnish summer is a very special season in many ways. It is short – we Finns often say something like: I remember last summer! It was on Tuesday… Ha-ha! Hilarious…? …oh, you think not? Ok. Anyway. Finnish summer is mostly relatively cold (if you compare to middle Europe) and often rainy. And tons of mosquitos are filling the air space (trust me, you can’t even begin to imagine!). But Finnish summer is also the season of endless light with midnight sun. And maybe because it is so short and cold we Finns really have our ways to make the best out of it. You know, we have some thousand or so lakes, it would be a real pity to waste them.
Finnish summer is a state of mind. Or at least it used to be before these heat infernos started to happen. For some days I was actually lured to think everything is back to normal. The way I remember it from my childhood when we spent endless light summer days (and nights) swimming in the sea, river, lake or whatever puddle that had enough water in it. So the first week we spent in Finland was like a time machine: we spent fun Finnish summer days at grandma’s never minding the weather – playing outdoor games, swimming, frying (burning!) sausages on campfire. Unfortunately, the heat inferno reached us again during the second holiday week that we spent at our good friends place in middle Finland. Thermometer showing too many plus degrees definitely put some more logs into the fire feeding my climate anxiety.
Nevertheless, to my big surprise, I could actually enjoy the warm sun and +28 degrees. Actually, after some +37 degrees in middle Europe it felt just nice and warm… We were swimming in the lake, collecting Finnish super food (blueberries!) from the forest, having sauna & barbeque evenings with friends. Kids stayed up too late every evening and were having hobby horse competitions. Naturally adults had to try it out too, and the guys created their own special hobby horse with old cow skull… we almost died laughing. We did heal at least half the world during the midnight hours just by talking about every possible subject. And played some board games. Dear friends, special times!
But. I was feeling sorry for the nature. Finland and its thousand lakes are simply not build for this kind of long lasting heat. These lakes are not that deep and the water warms up too fast. After only a few days like this and the waters are almost boiling. Shoot me if you like, but Nordic nature is special, and I would like to keep it that way. Heat infernos do not help. Where do we need them anyway since we have mökki, sauna, sisu and perkele? More than anything else, Finnish summer is a state of mind.
Thank you Finland, time to head our little caravan towards Sweden and Swedish wedding.
Quick start guide for Finnish:
Mökki – a summer cottage with sauna located in the woods nearby water if possible.
Sauna – a small room used as a hot-air or steam bath for cleaning and refreshing the body
Sisu – Finnish concept described as stoic determination, tenacity of purpose, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness and is held by Finns themselves to express their national character. It is generally considered not to have a literal equivalent in English. (Wikipedia)
5 Things you should do in Iisalmi, Finland