The place where I quite want to be. If it wasn’t for the mosquitoes.
With just a short stop at home to repack my gear in the early hours of Saturday morning, I sped off to spend a week in Finland with my father and aunt visiting my uncle Taff who moved up there last year to start an organic farm far out in the Finnish lakeland.
The quiet woods of Finland was probably the sharpest contrast to the loud, drunken festival muddiness I could find. We stayed in Taff’s summer cottage off the Saima lake, 20 kilometres from the nearest town, without running water or electricity. But with plenty of firewood and a lake-side sauna. If it hadn’t been for the extremely active and ferocious mosquitoes, it would have been great (but, I am told mosquito season only lasts 6 weeks in July and August, so it seems that there are plenty of reasons to go back).
It is a wonder how small you feel among these huge trees and lakes in a place where the sun really doesn’t seem to set. Standing by the lake and taking in the quiet is a very fulfilling experience. Most of all because it is not actually quiet. There is an ambient background of distant birdsong, insects buzzing across the water, fish touching the surface from beneath to cause ripples. It is peaceful.
My father took a boatload of pictures, of which I’ve picked a few to sum up the week. He didn’t like having too many landscape photos without people in them, but I like them as they remind me of that magic tranquility.
This is the summer cottage, as seen from the lake shore:
And Taff and Nikki’s farm, as seen from the forest around it:
Oh, and I should mention that Taff is quite keen on letting the cottage to people interested in experiencing the Finnish tranquility for a week or two. The cottage doesn’t have a website yet, but you can comment here, and I’ll get you in touch with him. The cottage is located 40 km from Savonlinna in eastern Finland – about 3-4 hours drive from both Helsinki and Tampere airports.