Sauna Time in Finland

Midlife Sentence | Finnish Lake, Sauna Time

In Finnish there are, apparently, a number of different words for “mosquito,” and one that in certain dialects, also means “cow.” I don’t know what that says about Finns, the complexity of their language, the mosquitos around here, or cows for that matter. I haven’t seen any cows, but the mosquitos are prolific.

For the most part, they’re also thankfully disinterested in our party. I think if one of those words is for “polite mosquito,” that’s the kind we appear to be dealing with this week.

We arrived in Pori yesterday via Onnibus, a low cost transit service that features double decker buses, with free wifi and chargers. For about 30 Euros per round-trip ticket, plus a small charge for seat reservations, I was able to secure the front row on the top deck for our party. It’s about the most fun and lowest cost way to travel the three and a half hours from Helsinki to Pori I could imagine. The scenery was fantastic, and the chance to sit and watch the landscape go by gave us a nice respite from the crowds and cobblestones of Helsinki (although that is one of our favorite cities).

We arrived in Pori at 6 to meet up with Joona and Saara. Saara was our first exchange student, and two years ago she brought Joona to see Boise. The two of them will be getting married this weekend. Joona’s parents, Matti and Pirkko, are hosting us in their lake house, and welcomed us with a lovely dinner.

Midlife Sentence | Lakehouse in Finland
The table setting for our welcome dinner

I’m going to have to post something longer later about my favorite things about Finland, but at the top of the list will be lake houses. And saunas. And lake houses with saunas. Because, truly people, I think I am in heaven.

Red summer cottages with white trim dot the Finnish landscape, and every one of the bajillion or so Finnish lakes is surrounded by them. It’s probably why the Finns are so happy. I know right now that’s why I am. This lake house has been in Joona’s family for generations, and we’re truly blessed to be enjoying this iconic staple of Finnish culture for a week.

Another staple of the Finnish culture is sauna. Joona’s father, Matti, has a photo of his grandfather building the first building they installed on this property: the sauna. Since our first visit to Finland, Mike and I have talked about installing a Finnish-style sauna, and I swear that’s the next improvement we’re going to make. Even before repairing the sagging ceiling in our bathroom that was a result of last year’s winter-from-hell.

After an evening or two with my family (free from arguments between the boys), I’m thinking that, if there was a reason the Finns had all kinds of time to come up with multiple names for mosquitoes, it has to do with sauna time.

Midlife Sentence | Sunset in Finland
The sunset over Valkäjaret Lake at around 11 pm

I don’t know, I think we may need further research.

Here’s a cute video Mike did of our Onnibus trip from Helsinki to Pori and into the lake. Enjoy!

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