Thursday, May 10, 2012

10 Things I Miss From Finland

Blue and white
I find myself missing my family, friends and my country a lot lately. It's been a while since I was last there (well ok 5 months..but still). I make sure to go to Finland every summer because I just love how the nature is so wonderful and the weather is at its best. Last summer I spent almost the entire summer there with the baby and this year we're going to be there many weeks as well. I cannot wait to go to our summer house by the sea! Now that my daughter is almost walking she will surely enjoy the wonders Finnish nature has to offer and playing with her cousins on the beach.

There are some things that I absolutely LOVE about Finland in the summer and here are my top 10:

1. Sauna. What can I say? I simply cannot wait to get in a hot sauna and totally relax! Especially the one at our summer house which was built over a hundred years ago and has very traditional style with views out to the sea from the windows and the best "loyly" you will find! Afterwards eating some delicious sausages we grilled in foil on top of the sauna stove, teamed with HOT Finnish mustard and a nice cold drink..bliss..For pics from this old sauna plus how my husband came to experience it for the first time go here:

2. Forest. The forest has always been very important to Finns. We connect with the forest and live beside it as friends. That's maybe where our environmental awareness ultimately comes from. Finland is basically covered with forest, I mean you can walk into a forest anywhere. Best thing is some government dudes (or royals lol) didn't hoard and close it all up from the public. On the contrary, everyone is allowed. There is even a law of "freedom to roam" which gives everybody the right to enter forests, pick wild berries and mushrooms, camp and make fire as long as they don't disturb anyone with noise, litter or destroying nature.

3. Midnight Sun.
midnight sun
There is something magical about the long midsummer nights in Finland!

4. Sea
soft sea
I love going out to the sea for sailing, fishing, swimming or even water skiing! The Baltic sea is not that salty so swimming in it feels very nice and refreshing!
5. Food. Ahh, another thing I can't wait for! First thing I want to eat are rye bread with cottage cheese (NOTHING beats the Finnish cottage cheese folks), fresh strawberries (same thing goes for these sweeties and my husband's favorite) mom's blueberry pie, baby potatoes with butter and dad's smoked whitefish :) My mouth just started to water! Oh and not to forget all those ice cream flavors! It's crazy how people from such a cold climate love ice cream this much.

6. Festivals. The Finns really go all out and enjoy the very short summer we have and you can see this best from the ridiculous amount of festivals we have going on all summer around the country. For every weekend there are literally hundreds of festivals, events and exhibitions going on. There is something for everyone from small kids to seniors to choose from. Apart from some seriously awesome concerts with some big names performing each year, there are some pretty peculiar events such as the "Eukonkanto" (Wife Carrying World Cup),  "Ilmakitara MM" (Air Guitar Word Championships), or "Suo Jalkapallon MM"(Swamp Soccer WC) and believe it or not one of the most popular events of the summer is the Tango Festival Finns love to Tango!

Tern Angel

7. Peace. Finland is a country with only five million inhabitants but a large area so we have plenty of space for everyone. People in general don't like to cause lots of noise and will respect others privacy. It's easy to find your own quiet spot out there and just enjoy the sounds of the nature.

8. Bonfires. Especially during Midsummer Festival lots of people will be putting up huge bonfires by the sea and lakes. I haven't been able to enjoy this tradition for a long time so am looking forward to it this summer.

Midnight Sun

9. Sunsets. I've been around the world but still I attest to the fact that some of the most beautiful sunsets can be seen during the summer in Finland!
petajas sunset
10. Flowers. I love how I can just go to my backyard at the summer house or any forest and pick up a beautiful colorful bouquet of flowers. These flowers look funny and they are called "Ukonhattu" which means something like old man's hat!
Ukonhattu flowers


Ildi said...

Ooo I adore your writings! You made me upgraded-courious (again) to put Finland into my travel destinations in 3 years! :) KIITOS :*

Hanna Jensen said...

Ah - now you've gone and made me miss Finland too! Wonderful pictures. It's funny how almost all expat-Finns miss very similar things from back home. My Top10 would have to include Finnish candy (even my non-Finn husband admits it's the best in the world, and he's usually begging to go to Makuuni as soon as we land for our visits). ;) Oh, and karjalanpiirakka!

Noor said...

Its so pretty your home really sounds like where I am from in the South so much. I love reading about it. I have a friend who is a Finnish Sister as well online and I just adore her mothers Summer house while its not by the sea its in the country and just so serene and like something from a novel. Love it and I hope you all have a great time I imagine your ready to GO PLEASE TAKE ME LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

Maryon1 said...

As an English person my knowledge of Finland was a bit limited to Tove Jansson and the Moomins, (which my daughters and I love) but your post, and photos are inspiring :-)

I've only recently started following your blog and wanted to say how much I enjoy it. Thank you from London!

Tiffany Wacaser said...

I have never been to Finland, though I lived in Sweden for many years. Many of the things you miss are things I miss about Sweden. Hope you have a wonderful summer! It sounds wonderful!

Lavender © said...

I must go on a vacation to Finland WITH you one of these years enshallah! <3

Jean said...

I'm sure the midnight sun summer time makes it special in Finland. I'm still trying to get used to the sunlight streaming into home at 9:30 pm here in southern Alberta.

Therefore yes, your sunsets should be terrific because you are further north. Maybe you see alot of stars on a clear night?

I'm actually more homesick for Vancouver, more lush vegetation, bigger and brighter flowers, etc. The ocean, etc.

Farooq said...

Lovely pictures Laylah, finland does look like a lovely place. my wife studied for a while in sweden and she cant stop praising it as well.

Katja said...


Ihania kuvia Suomesta! Sinä saat mainostettua hyvin ja totuudenmukaisesti Suomea muulle maailmalle. Hyvä Suomi!

Layla said...

Thanks everyone!! Om Lujain and Noor welcome to Finland and our summer house anytime :)

Susie of Arabia said...

Take me with you - PLEASE!!! It looks and sounds wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Hieno blogi. Voisit kertoa perheestäsi eemmän...

Anonymous said...

Fabulous post Layla.

ava said...

Lovely!! This post made me miss Sweden...and the food!! I spent bits of my summer there at a lakehouse too. No sauna, but I did manage to "swim" in the lake. Man it was freezing! Will you go dancing round the maypole on midsummer day? Have a blast! :)

Danielletrini said...

I love Finland as well. That's why I am a naturalized Finn. Finnish summers are the best. My dream is for my Family to some how be able to live in Finland during the summer months and live in Trinidad and Tobago in the winter.

Aiketa said...

Last Summer I spent a month in Finland, in Oulu. I loved your country and I agree that you do make the most of the Summer. I also loved the long Summer days... Your post made me miss Finland, in just month month, it won my heart.
I know I will be going back to Finland someday.

Anonymous said...

Ihanaa kun tuutte!! Ikävä on teitäkin jo kovasti!
T.Oulun poppoo

Layla said...

Sure why don't all the Saudi wife bloggers have a meeting up there, you Noor and Om Lujain, who else wants to join :)

Layla said...

ava-wow you swam in there without a sauna back-up! I wouldn't even do that :)
We don't have the maypoles in Finland, it's more of a swedish tradition :)

Layla said...

Hi Danielle! Your dream sounds like a fantastic idea!

Layla said...

Aiketa-I have family living in Oulu so it has special place in my heart too!
Hope you get to go back soon!

Layla said...

Oulun poppoota on myos meilla ikava :)

ava said...

Hardcore then :) But it was in the shallower part of the lake that opens up to a beach, so it wasn't as cold and as hardcore as say plunging from a plank and into the deep. Anyhoo, looking forward to your midsummer post :)

Anisah said...

I'm curious as to whether you wear niqab or hijab when you go back to Finland. How is your husband treated when he goes there? Are there many Muslims in Finland?

You might have a post about that, if so just point me to it.