Love at First Sight - My First Blog About Finland

Notes on my first post about Finland

I visited Finland for the first time in 2014, and wrote this post for my first Wordpress blog. I like to think I'm a better writer these days, so some edits have been made to the grammar and the writing style. The content remains the same. 

I read this post now with a smile. I couldn't have imagined when writing the blog that my friend Katri would become the closest woman in my life. I also had no idea I would end up calling Finland my home.

It’s funny how life works out sometimes. Reading between the lines of this post, I think the 2014 me knew he wanted this life. The 2019 me is incredibly grateful I have it

Why Everyone Should Visit Finland.

Before my visit, I thought Finland would be full of snowy streets, beautiful blonde women, and Moomins.  Last weekend, I found that my image of Finland was accurate, although I happened to visit in a freak heat wave. It was also the 100th birthday of the creator of The Moomins, Tove Jansson, so there were Moomins aplenty.

I went to Finland to visit Katri, a friend I had met once at a party in London two years ago. We've stayed good friends by talking on Facebook and Whatsapp, and when she asked me to visit her, I took her up on her generous offer.

Isn't it amazing that I have more in common with someone who was born and raised 1,645 miles away than I do with my next-door neighbour? There could be some poetry in this: I could say that true friendship and love knows no time zones, cultural differences or the cost of an airline ticket. Or I can say that Katri is fun to be around and my next door neighbour is an arsehole! He is though! He and his girlfriend are always at it when I'm just trying to have a cup of tea. I'm thinking of posting the untouched bag of condoms I keep in my bedside draw through his letterbox. At least then they won't breed more annoying neighbours!

If you live in London, chances are you say this a lot. "I love London, but it would be nice to get away!" Or, "Jesus, I think that guy has a knife on him!"

But all these thoughts melted away when I visited Tampere, Finland's second most populated city. Ryanair provides direct flights from London Stansted to Tampere at a low price, so discovering this hidden gem is easy. By the way, I have not been paid by Ryanair to write this blog; I am just giving you the facts. I will prove I don't work for them by saying something bad about them.

There's no leg room, and landing feels like the plane has run over something on the runway like a small horse or a hefty man with nothing to live for.

Finnish people are calm and friendly and love a drink and dance. They were taking advantage of the aforementioned beautiful heatwave, so the nightlife was terrific.

The lakes (and there are many lakes) are breathtaking. Often these lakes are surrounded by tall trees, and if you have a good imagination, you could get lost in the view for hours. It's no wonder that such beautiful myths and legends are born in Finland when the forests seem to be a magical world of their own. These forests contain charming wooden houses coated with bright red, yellow and blue paint, giving rural Finland a fairy tale like appearance.

On Sunday I was taken to a sauna that was in the bathroom of a flat. Can you believe that? The Finnish have saunas in their bathrooms! Seriously, Google it! Traditionally, the Finnish go into saunas naked, but this time they didn't as they knew I have the standard British guilt towards the naked body. Also, I have a thing for Finnish girls, so it was for the best. We wouldn't want an event to happen down south (He says while going red)

The Sauna was wonderful. I was a bit nervous about going, but it was relaxing, and I'm sure my skin is actually a lot brighter today because of it. Apparently, I lasted a long time in the Sauna, despite being an unexperienced Brit. Maybe I could fit into Finnish culture.

Before the Sauna, Katri and her friend made traditional Finnish meatballs and mashed potatoes. It was amazing! Let me make this clear. Meatballs and mashed potatoes is NOT a Swedish dish. This meal is served in IKEA, which has caused people to call them Swedish meatballs. They are FINNISH meatballs, so please tell your friends. The Finnish are understandably upset about Sweden stealing their invention.  It would be like the French stealing British Sunday lunch and the world calling it a French Dinner!

To conclude, Finland will do you the world of good. It's both relaxing and exciting! A weekend was not long enough for me, and I'm planning to go back in the winter. The people, the buildings, the food and the way of life is worth seeing!


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