Thursday, August 15, 2013

Summer Cottage Life

For many Finns, spending summers at a summer cottage is a way of life.  It's a way to get back to nature, a simpler life, and a way to take advantage of the beautiful weather and loads of sunlight.  Cottage can range from very primitive (no electricity, no running water, etc.) to very accommodating (3 levels with all the comforts of home).  Many cottages have a main cabin, tupa, and several smaller supporting cabins nearby.  These smaller cabins may contain storage, guest rooms, the sauna, outdoor bathrooms, etc.  The set up has the appearance of a small village.

This past weekend, I was able to experience summer cottage life in Finland for the first time.

I went to a proper sauna the Finnish way (naked!) and then took a dip in the lake to "cool off" (also naked!).  It was very liberating!  Of course, rounds of sauna are broken up by sitting and enjoying a relaxing beer.  The sauna is also where you bathe using a bucket of water.  Naturally, I didn´t take a picture of that.

I picked berries.  Normally, people pick berries in the wild.  However, these little bushes were planted at the cottage where I stayed.  There were four different types, including red and black currant plus two I can´t remember the names of.  There were also edible berries growing on trees.  It was a very new concept for me to go out to the garden to gather food needed for the next meal.

I had some fun on the water.  The cottage was located on a lake, so the water was very calm and decently shallow near the edges.  It was good for rowing, swimming and for catching small fish with traps.  The water from the lake, unfortunately is not drinkable, so the cottage goers fill up jugs when they go to town.  It's free.

I played a new game pétanque, which originated in France.  It´s like a life-sized game of marbles.  It´s pretty fun and easy to learn with only a few rules.

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