Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The tour of Finland, part I The Countryside - completed

We are safely back in civilization, namely internet access, in Helsinki. Here is a very rambling account of the first couple of days, I'll try to summarise in the end so if you are not much of a detail person you can skip straight to the end. So we survived the flight, we were a bit concerned at the beginning, this little kid was sitting behind David, kicking the back of the his chair and shouting monkey, monkey for five minutes or so but thankfully she fell a sleep quickly!

We saw my old school friend in Vaasa for a day which was lovely and we saw some local sites of interest like the biggest bridge in Finland and some old ruins. My parents met while they were studying in there some 30 years ago so I had to try to remember some of the place names I saw as I thought I'd be quizzed. It was good to catch up with Marja and talk about life and God and all interesting things.

From there we took a bus across Finland to my parents in Pielavesi. My mum's family has been living around the same lake for the last 600 years so there is an assorted set of relatives to see there. We manage to get of at the right place regardless the 'reduced busservice' that meant that the bus stopped only at the main road and didn't D-tour through all the villages. My sisters (2/9) were waiting at the bus stop to stop the bus just in case we were going to miss the stop.

My dad had cooked us a lovely meal and my mum had baked this amazing rasberry cheesecake pie thing (I've got the recipe if anyone wants it). It was weird only having four of my sisters living home - the place felt a bit empty, if it ever can with 4 girls in their teens or getting close to it.

On Monday morning we got woken up by kids getting ready to school. I platted Emppu, Roosa and Ninni's hair, made a cup of tea and both of us fell a sleep after that for couple of hours. In the afternoon after sitting and chatting by the lake you can see from my parents kitchen window, for a while we went for a cycle with my dad & to pick some rasberries. After getting suitably scratched we had picked enough rasberries and eaten a lot and headed back home. My youngest little sister, Emppu 6, cycled with us all the way there and back (maybe 9km) - very impressive.

In the evening we went to a salmon fishing place to catch some fish for dinner, they were closed but they had some already smoked we could buy so we came home armed with nearly 2.5 kg of warm smoked salmon. On the way home we stopped at the tallest waterfall in Finland, unfortunately it hasn't really rained this summer so there was hardly any water there but it was still impressive to see the canyon. My mum found some wild chantarells we had for dinner with the yammee salmon. I had also made annother rasberry pie we had after the dinner.

On Tuesday morning we had very lazy morning, again, regardless of being woken up by my sisters getting ready for school, again. My mum and dad went to pick up some blackcurrants while we just pottered around the house. After lunch we went to see my auntie and uncle, one of my second cousins (she is the one who painted a coffee set for us when we got married) came over as well with her kids. It was lovely to see them and she is an amazing baker so we had some lovely cakes and biscuits (in Finland people usually apologise if they have to offer shop bought cakes etc for people or if they only have two kinds of home made bakings on offer).

After that it was time to get to the railway station and head to Helsinki. We had a little cat with us to take to Hellu, one of my sisters again, for her birthday present. She was/is adorable, very fluffy and social. It also meant we got to travel in the pet carriage where you get bigger seats :) She was very well behaved and didn't miaow more than couple of times unlike another cat that was in the carriage.

David thinks the countylife in Finland is stuck 50 back in time. All people do there is fish, hunt, pick berries, bake, knit, weave, see each other for coffee and cake, bake bread in woodburning ovens and know everyone else (and also which way your family is related to their family, usually going back at least 4 generations)

Here is the promised summary:

So while we were in the country side we saw:
- 1 old school friend and her daughter
- parental unit & four youngest sisters
- 1 auntie, 1 uncle, 3 second cousins & 8 second cousins children

We also
- picked some rasberries
- ate rasberry pie
- ate smoked salmon
- walked 190 steps down & up to see non-existent waterfall
- ate home grown potatoes and carrots
- cycled with ancient bicycles
- slept

But we are back in the capital now using someones wireless for free and going for coffee in lovely continental coffee shops...country life is good but it does have it's limits

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