Friday, June 26

more from rautalampi

In true midsummer fashion, the weather was rather cool - luckily only one day was really rainy, so we did enjoy being outdoors as much as we could. Barbecued, read, went rowing on the lake (the Boy insisted on the life vest. even though I thought it rather unnecessary), and swam.

I rarely feel so calm as when I'm swimming, alone, feeling the water around me and hearing only the noises of birds, wind, and water.
And there's nothing like swimming when the water reflects the clouds. Perfection.

On the first night the water was 14 degrees Celsius, and it felt icy - it still felt icy a few days later, at 17 degrees, but I still managed to swim for quite a long time. Too bad we had to leave just when the weather turned warmer - I'm sure the water would be perfect right now - but the Boy had to return to work. I'm already planning another long weekend there, though...

Saturday, June 20


Having a kesämökki* ("summer cottage") of one's own is a dream every Finn has, or at least is supposed to have**; I guess the idea of a mökki painted with Falu red and situated by a lake is still deeply rooted in the minds of many Finns, even though nowadays a mökki can be a modern house with all the modern conveniences. Still, traditionally mökki is a place where Finns can be one with nature, with no neighbours in sight.

Come midsummer, the cities and towns in Finland empty up when the Finns travel to their cottages en masse. I, too, have spent most of the midsummers of my childhood out of the city, and even if midsummer in a city can be a good thing (there's something magical about how much a city like Helsinki changes; it's really empty and quiet), it still doesn't feel quite right.

I've spent the last few or so midsummers in Helsinki, due to having too much work to go anywhere, but this year The Boy and I followed the masses, borrowed his mother's car and drove some 300 kilometres to Rautalampi. The cottage we're staying in has been built by The Boy's grandfather in 1950s and is situated by the lake Konnevesi. It's built on a cliff, so the view of the lake is wonderful.

Unlike our summer house on the island, here we have electricity and even running water, so by my standards this is pretty high-tech!
There's also a sauna (Finnish mökki isn't a proper mökki without a sauna), another mökki built in 80s and an outhouse. I like how every small building has been built so they fit in the rocky forest landscape; apart from the main building, you can hardly see them from the lake.

We arrived late on Thursday night, or early in Friday. The nights are short and light right now - the first photos I took at ca. 2 a.m.

*According to the Finnish Wikipedia article Mökki, mökki is "a smallish building often made of wood and meant for holidaying ".

**I do know that for some people, staying in a mökki is a nightmare; they've been forced to spend too much time with mosquitoes and people they do not like, and that has scarred them, some for life. Though I bet having a mökki of your own will be the next cool thing amongst those hipsters who have already picked up knitting.

Wednesday, June 17

june days on an island III

Small things make me happy.

I brought the domino set from London (Habitat) for my nephew. He almost learned how to play the game - although the idea of having set rules, a winner and a loser seems to be hard for him to grasp. Oh the innocence of a three year old! (He was more interested in trying to decipher what we had built with the tiles: "I think it's an animal." And, needless to say, we didn't correct him.)
I made a drawstring bag for the tiles in about 20 minutes I had to spare before leaving for the island; I had this Marimekko fabric in my stash, I think it's great.

Monday, June 15

june days on an island II

Summer comes a bit later to the island, so the lilacs were only beginning to bloom. There are lilac bushes on every yard on the island, and when they are in full bloom, their scent literally fills the air.

Overgrown can be very pretty, at least when it's summer!

And then there are the apple trees. Oh, the apple trees!

Planted by my great-grandmother, they're old but this time they were full of blossoms.

Sunday, June 14

june days on an island I

Last week I came back to Helsinki later than expected; left to Tampere for two days the next morning; and spent most of Friday out with a friend; most of Saturday in bed; and most of Sunday in another town making my first appearance with the Boy at a family gathering (his family). I haven't had time to really look at my London photos yet, but here are some from the extended weekend right after I came back to Finland.

It was quite windy and not that warm, but we - sister, brother-in-law, nephew and I - still managed to have a good time. I've always been close to them, and I noticed how much I've missed spending time with them; it's just not same now I live in a different city.

Arriving on a rainy Friday evening. We always seem to bring a lot of things with us... (but mainly because we have to bring all the food with us; no grocery store on the island, or any other store, for that matter)

Luckily the sun shone for most of the weekend. There was time to do some exploring... pick flowers... work in the overgrown garden of my grandpa's cousin's house (which we are allowed to use)...

...and to play too... prepare most meals on a barbecue, and even eat outdoors one day...

...and then wash the dishes, trying to use as little water as possible, because water has to be gotten from a well and then heated on the stove... good time was had by all.

Friday, June 5

Quick hello...

...before I leave for our summer place for the weekend (photos from last August). London was sunny and warm, Helsinki is rainy and cold and has no peanut butter flavoured Kitkat Chunky. Sigh.

I'll be back after the weekend by the sea.