Some family friends have connections to Finland and were visiting over the holiday season. They were kind enough to invite me on their adventure to the very cold, very snowy Finland. Because no one knows anything about Finland, let me enlighten you...
The Finnish language is crazy.
Danish never sounded so familiar or flowy until I heard Finnish. My friend Lauren and I decided a Finnish conversation sounds like the Robot text tone on an iPhone. It's true. To learn a little bit of Finnish, check out this video: LEARN FINNISH! If you can take your eyes off her bangs, I'll be impressed.
Finland is cold.
There is a lot of snow. It doesn't melt, and the streets and sidewalks are pretty much snow packed.
|Snow in Helsinki.|
Finnish feasting wasn't finished until I flew home.
We ate so much. But all the food was delicious. I tried some new things, which I am always open to. I think they use less butter than Americans, but they probably don't watch Paula Deen. Or maybe they do and are repulsed.
|Christmas dinner: starting with the brown bowl of chantarelles, going clockwise, ham, bread, caviar, salmon, another fish, rutabaga, carrots, and potatoes. So delicious.|
|Not to be forgotten, reindeer meat. Pretty tasty.|
|Riisipuuro with cinnamon and sugar. Like risalamande in Denmark.|
|Cloudberry Ice Cream|
|Cowberry Whip with sugar and milk. A tasty breakfast on Christmas Day!|
Finnish saunas are an experience.
Just consult the sign, which they kindly did not translate completely. Everyone in Denmark told me about Finns whipping each other with switches in the saunas, then they go roll around in the snow. The first time I heard this, I thought they were kidding, but then I heard it again. and again. and again. The funny thing about this sign is that they neglect to translate the part about whipping each other. It is only depicted. And for the record, I rolled around in the snow. It felt pretty good.
|When in Finland, do as the Finns translate for you.|
Ice fishing really happens.
Waking up at the crack of dawn, you'll find people already out ice fishing. Dawn cracks at 9:30, but that is beside the point.
|View from our hotel of the ice fisher people in Helsinki. It's a Nordic country, I'm sure there are women out there.|
In Finland at noon on Christmas Eve, there is an official declaration that the Christmas Peace has begun. Anything you do to disturb someone else's peace for the days including Christmas and a few days after will be punishable by twice the normal sentence. It's a beautiful thing.
|There's nothing quite as quality as a picture of a television screen. I think Gammie would be proud. This is the official start of the Christmas Peace.|
And now a tour of the sights...
Our first stop takes us under the tree. Where there is a pig. A Christmas Pig. I have no clue why there are so many pigs everywhere, all the time.
Those paying respect to their deceased loved ones bring lanterns to put by the gravestones. Looks beautiful in the snow. A very neat tradition.
|Cemetery at the church we attended on Christmas Eve, Hollolan seurakunta.|
Next stop, Helsinki.
|Helsinki Cathedral at night, from Senate Square (Senaatintori)|
I really wanted a picture of the cute little puppy in the dog hoodie, but you can't see the hood!
|The Royal Palace of Stockholm|
|No picture could capture the beauty of Storkyrkan, the Stockholm Cathedral.|
|Norrström, the river running through the middle of Stockholm.|
If you'll notice, directly below the 7-Eleven sign is a big white blob. Police block off parts of busy streets to workers can shovel snow off the roofs of the buildings.
|Watch for falling snow in Gamla stan, the old town in Stockholm.|
|Gamla stan, Stockholm|
Another post soon about life back in Denmark! maybe tomorrow...